As a South Florida car accident attorney I know that many people do not think of hiring a lawyer right after their accident. In fact, I know that many people in Miami would not even think of it. Many people distrust attorneys (accident or personal injury lawyers especially). After all, terms like ambulance chaser are not very endearing. Also, referral companies are saturating the airwaves and billboards with tasteless and deceiving advertisements. Indeed, man y of these advertisements are revolting to myself and I can see how they create a negative light on attorneys practicing personal injury law.
If you are going to use a referral service to find an attorney it is best to look to the Miami-Dade Bar Association, the Broward Bar Association, or any other genuine bar association. The referral services that are saturating the airwaves are mostly focused on the PIP part of the claim. That is, they are after the $10,000 of your no fault medical benefits. The referral service will quickly assign you to a treatment or chiropractic in order to bill your insurance company for these benefits. Sending you to an attorney is almost a secondary function. Genuine referral services like the Miami-Dade Bar Association will focus on finding the best attorney for your situation. Your attorney will help you find a place to treat your injuries if you have not done so.
A reason to be careful with these referral services is that they may send you to clinics that do not genuinely care about your treatment. They may just focus on billing out your PIP and not bother to send you out to get a MRI to quantify and analyze your injuries. The result then is that you end up with a subjective final report from a chiropractor or an M.D. with no objective data to back it up. As Miami-Dade car accident attorneys we understand that the value is greatly reduced if there is no objective data to back it up
I explained where it is wise to find an attorney, but I have not explained why you should find one right after an accident. In short, if you do not hire an attorney the insurance companies will most like take advantage of the situation. For example, I have seen people sign waivers for $500 for bodily injury not knowing what it was or meant. Their injuries were serious and could have commanded policy limits. Why did this happen? Because these individuals did not hire an attorney right after the accident.
In some cases insurance companies want to settle the claim right away. This usually happens when there are many victims and a limited policy. In these cases the insurance company usually requests a mediation. A mediation is a process in which all parties try to settle the matter. If you do not have an attorney present at the mediation the most likely result is that you will receive a minimal amount when compared to the parties that brought an attorney . I have seen this happen many times to individuals who did not hire an attorney or failed to show up to a mediation.
Another reason you should hire an attorney right after an accident is that they will stop the insurance company from contacting you directly. This is beneficial because you do not want to say things that are detrimental to your case.
To summarize, it is imperative to contact an attorney after the claim. This is beneficial because an attorney will make sure to contact the insurance company and relay that there is an attorney on the case. The attorney will make sure the insurance company does not contact you directly and also protect your interests and rights. Your attorney will also make sure that you get the right treatment and documentation to support you claim for damages. If you are going to use a referral service to find an attorney then use one that is related to Florida Bar or any Bar Association. The rule of thumb is that if the referral service has jingle, then most likely this is not your best bet to find an attorney to help with your claim.
As Florida car accident attorneys we understand the hardships of dealing with injuries a result of a collision. Attorneys at Goldstraj & Associates are here 24/7 to assist you. We can be reached 305.764.9907 or 1.888.41.8353.