A recent report by the Insurance Research Council indicates a marked increase in the number of people seeking legal assistance in filing an auto injury claim.
Our Cape Coral car accident attorneys understand the percentage of personal injury protection claimants in auto accidents represented by a lawyer increased to 36 percent in 2012, a five percent increase from the number represented by attorneys in 2007. It’s also more than double the rate of those represented by lawyers in 1977.
Meanwhile, the number of bodily injury claimants represented by attorneys increased to roughly 50 percent in 2012.
While the insurance industry paints this with growing concern, it’s actually an encouraging development. It means that those suffering from injuries stemming from a crash are increasingly aware of the fact that insurance companies are not “on their side.” They are not “family” and they don’t have the injured party’s best interests at heart.
All too often, those who fail to secure an attorney prior to pursuing an auto injury claim are bullied into accepting a settlement offer that is far lower than what they deserve. What’s worse, it usually doesn’t even cover the full cost of medical expenses related to the crash. Additionally, without legal assistance, claimants may not realize they are entitled to underinsured or uninsured motorist benefits through their own insurer. Many miss out on this important aspect of coverage, simply because their insurance company didn’t inform them that it was an option.
The authors of “Attorney Involvement in Auto Injury Claims” noted the rate of attorney involvement varied significantly from state-to-state. Those that had the highest rates were in no-fault states, and among those, Florida ranked No.1. Here, more than half of all personal injury protection plaintiffs were represented by a lawyer.
Insurance industry pundits were quoted as saying this kind of trend “undercuts the envisioned benefits of a no-fault auto injury system,” effectively hindering timely payments and less adversarial settlement processes. They further note those who hired lawyers were more likely to undergo magnetic resonance imaging for similar injuries and waited longer for the payout of claims. What’s overlooked, however, is evidence gleaned from medical testing, such as MRIs, can help bolster a plaintiff’s case, and an experienced injury lawyer will encourage a client to obtain as much information in the aftermath of the crash as possible. Additionally, industry lobbyists fail to note that the amount of those final settlements and/or judgments in cases where the plaintiff hired a lawyer is often much higher.
Any delay in paying claims is the fault of the insurance companies, which can make a reasonable settlement offer to plaintiff attorneys at anytime.
Further, contrary to the calculated narrative pushed by the insurance companies, your decision to hire a lawyer does not drive up the costs of everyone else’s insurance. Bear in mind, this is coverage to which you are entitled in a serious crash. These payments are intended to make you whole (to the greatest degree possible). That means ensuring your medical bills are paid, your property damage is covered and you are compensated for things like lost wages when you are forced to take time off work due to someone else’s negligence.
Despite what the insurance companies might assert, your decision to hire a lawyer after a serious crash is the wisest course of action.
Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.
Study Finds More Auto Injury Claimants Are Hiring Attorneys, July 8, 2014, Insurance Research Council
More Blog Entries:
Otero v. Gomez – Florida Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Remanded, Aug. 12, 2014, Cape Coral Car Accident Lawyer Blog