The Car Accident Wasn’t My Fault. Do I Still Need an Attorney?

the lawyer is there for you the lawyer owes an ethical duty to represent you and only you and your best interest the insurance company has no such
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 The lawyer is there for you the lawyer owes an ethical duty to represent you and only you and your best interest


 the insurance company has no such duty if you've been in an auto crash and it's not your fault do you need a personal injury attorney well that's what we're going to find out todayt


  when we ask the lawyer hi again everybody i'm rob rosenthal with askthelawyers.com and my guest today is arizona attorney tim tonkin with the phillips law group tim good to see you thank you for making some time to answer our questions good to see you rob thanks for having met


  so let's say someone's in an auto accident and they're 100 sure it's not their fault do they need a personal injury attorney though can't they just contact the insurance company and count on the insurance company to take care of everything i think it's always a good idea to call an attorney a good attorney is going to tell the injured persont


  yeah this is something that we think we can help you with or this may be something that you can do on your own many people get in auto accidents many people deal with insurance companies many people resolve these cases smaller cases on their own where the injuries may be minimal or not require more than a couple of visits to the positiont


  however sometimes things get a little more complicated if someone has a more serious injury or someone has a an injury that's going to be left going undiagnosed they need to call a lawyer better to call a lawyer have the good honest lawyer tell them this is something we can help you with or this may be something you can do on your own listen to that advice make a fair evaluation uh for the individual person and uh then they can choose whether or not they want to have a lawyer for these smaller injury claims sometimes i tell people who call me hey this is a lot like painting your house like i could go out and paint my house i could do it i may not want to go to home depot 15 times i may not want to get and do all the prep i may not want to uh deal with the aftermath and and if i hire somebodyt


  they're going to do it better faster cleaner although i'm going to pay somebody to do it the finished product is going to be better than something that i could do on my own and it saved me the hassle of having to run after the insurance company to talk to insurance adjusters to wonder whether or not i'm getting a good deal or not a good deal and so it's always safer to call a lawyer in all cases but there may be some where wet


  tell good folks honestly this may be something that you want to handle on your own because we're not going to add this value to you but if it's something you want to have us do for your ease and your comfort then we'll be happy to take it on it brings to mind a couple of questions first of all is there a cost for that initial call to find out if it's a case that you guys could handle no personal injury lawyers like myself they work on a contingency fee meaning that they only get paid


  if they collect money on your behalf we consult with people all the time every day for free so that initial call to us at least and and and some other good lawyers is going to be free we'll give you what advice we can and you can take it from there make the best decision uh that these potential clients can uh for themselves and for their families the other question is is it possible then sometimes somebodyt


  may think they're not seriously injured but it could turn into something so maybe at the time they don't realize how badly they're injured or maybe it's energy that doesn't show up right away absolutely and great question rob so if you call the insurance company first thet


  insurance company is going to minimize what may be happening to someone's body the lawyer if you call the lawyer first if you call us first we're going to worry about the injured body first and worry about the claim second and so we want to make sure because if somebody has injuries that don't show upt


  right away or take a couple of days to manifest themselves they need to have proper medical documentation in order to eventually get a settlement or a verdict that is commensurate or equal to what their injuries were if you call an insurance company first the insurance company's going to say okay i'll give you 500 and we'll pay for one doctor visit and that's going to be it they're going to have you sign a piece of paper most likely they're going to have you sign away your claim uh well if injuries come back there's going to be nothing that that person can do or if injuries show up later there's going to be nothing that that person who signed the release can necessarily do so it's better to call a lawyer make sure the lawyer can talk to the injured person about all of their injuries encourage that person to go to seek the right physicians or medical specialists in order to document all of the injuries initially after a crash you want to make sure thatt


  you're documenting everything because the littlest pain that you have may be your knee because you're worried about how bad your back hurts well two months down the line it really is your knee problem you turn your meniscus in the motor vehicle collision well when your head hurts and and your you got back pain you go to the hospital you may not be thinking too much about your knee but that's the one that's leftt


  if you don't document that properly then the insurance company is going to later on question well we don't think that happened in the crash we think that that may have been caused by something else or something that was already there something that you did after the traumatic event or crash and that's what we don't want to allow to happen to our clients which is insurance companies to take advantage of them and that kind of brings me to my next question and then maybe a little bit back to the original uh uh scenario someone says you know i'm sure this i was not at fault it's the other person'st


 t


  fault the other insurance company is there something wrong with them going i've seen the commercials the insurance company cares about me so when i talk to their insurance company they're going to do whatever they're going to treat me fairly and and and give me the most uh biggest settlement they're going to take care of me is there something wrong in that philosophy tim sometimes that may be right um honestly but a majority of the time it's not and so in any transaction that you're going to go into in life we want someone who knows the ropes who knows the landscape to help us through it and that's any professional that you you may call and same thing when you're injured the lawyer is your advocate the lawyer is there for you the lawyer owes an ethical duty to represent you and only you and your best interest the insurance company has no such duty it has no obligation especially if it's the insurance company of the person whot


  injured you or who hit you in the automobile crash they owe you nothing their obligation is to their shareholders their obligation is to their bottom line and that means minimizing and paying the least amount of money possible for people who make claims good people who make claims for injuries if somebody is contacted by the other person's insurance company early on in the process and they make them an offer hey we'll write you a check right now for this amount is it in your experience at a that's usually a pretty low ball offer and is it uh generally again in your experience that having an attorney do that negotiating for you is going to uh more than cover what may be attorneys fees that would be involved absolutely so the insurance company's obligationt


  is to themselves and they're going to make a low ball offer to get the claim resolved they want to open a file close the file pay as little money as possible to do that calling a lawyer is going to say hey slow down let's make sure you're medically evaluated let's make sure we wait a little bit and understand what all of your injuries are and then and only then if we understand the full extent uh the nature and the duration of your injuries can we evaluate what your claim may be worth and the insurance companiest


  quick offer of little money is just that it's a quick offer of little money that's in the insurance company's best interest lawyers eventually after um all of that process may take place initially add value to claim so your question was is a lawyer going to pay for themselves essentially am i going to get more money with a lawyer than i would without because i'm paying a lawyer based on a contingency fee to go out and collect money for me and generally the answer is yes but a good lawyer is also going to tell you when you make that call and say hey theyt


  offered me x amount now if if someone tells me that and i say well were you injured and they say no not really are you sure no i'm not really sure we'll go to a doctor they say yeah i'm sure i'm not really injured and and they're offering me 500 to basically sign this release and i'm never going to get any medical treatment for it then i would tell that person okay i would i would encourage you to wait get medical treatment and see how these things uh how your body plays out um but after that time if you want to make a settlement with the insurance company then then go for it i'm not going to add value for you at that point and good lawyers are going to tell people that i will add value for you or i won't and that gets back to our original question should i call a lawyer the answer is yes if you call a good lawyer who's interested in you and protecting you and helping you then they're going to tell you good advice and that good advice may be i'm not going to add any value for you so why pay me to do it this is something you can handle on yourt


  own now i caution everybody who may be out there watching we're talking about small injury claims if you've gotten a hospital if you've gone to the hospital or if you need follow-up care i would say definitely call a lawyer in that instance because those injuries can manifest themselves later they can go on for a longer period of time that's something where a lawyer definitely adds value to you and you need protection in those cases the small cases where you you may go to an urgent care and be fine that may be something you can handle on your own but a good lawyer is going to tell you that and help you through that process for free usuallyt


  if they don't end up representing you so make the call it's not going to cost you anything get some good advice and make the best decision for you and your family super helpful info tim thank you so much for making some time to answer our questions today i do appreciate it thanks rob anytime that's going to do itt


  for this episode of ask the lawyer my guest has been arizona attorney tim tonkin with the phillips law group remember if you want the best information or you want to be able to make sure you can choose a lawyer i'm rob rosenthal with ask the lawyers you t


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