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When should you contact a personal injury attorney?

Warning: do not take on an insurance company alone. Our last post shared the cautionary tale of relying on legal information from the Internet instead of advice given directly by a personal injury attorney. You may know it is best to consult with an attorney, but when should you give someone a call?

There is another warning that holds true in answering that question. Personal injury attorneys often repeat the warning that “insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying it out.” Translation: insurance adjusters will use tactics that are legal but designed to help them underpay or deny your claim – even if it is valid.

Adjusters may try to get you to make guesses or estimates about the facts of the accident or the extent of your injuries, ask ambiguous or leading questions or get you to admit some level of fault. In short, they are trained investigators, which is why you should never take for granted your right to have an attorney present during any questioning.

Yes, you do have the right to have an attorney present in any communication with an insurance adjuster. In this instance, we use the word “right” somewhat liberally. The Constitution does not protect this “right” as it does your parental rights, freedom or free speech.

Although it is not an enumerated right, an insurance company cannot deny or delay your claim because you say that you want to talk to an attorney before accepting an offer, have an attorney present in any communication or letting an attorney speak on your behalf.

Do this. Talk to an attorney. While not all insurance settlement offers are bad, you do sign away certain rights that can prevent you from obtaining the full and fair compensation you deserve. You do not want to run the risk of “losing out” on money you are entitled to receive.

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