Can I handle my car crash case on my own?
Sometimes, yes. But most of the time people need a lawyer to level the playing field. Why?
- Your health insurance company, Medicare, Medicaid, the hospital, doctor's, and ambulances all can have an interest in your resolution, either by the terms of your contract or by law.
A lot of people who don't hire a lawyer learn after they get the settlement check that they now need to repay a significant amount of money back to their health insurance carrier. Lawyers can help in important ways. Lawyers make sure that any of those interests are known and accounted for. Lawyers help keep those interests in line with state and federal laws. Most importantly, lawyers make sure that you're getting enough to satisfy the interest holders and make sure that you have enough left over at the end.
- The insurance carrier does this work all day, every day. So do the lawyers at Driscoll Rose. When you level the playing field, usually the results are a lot better.
You don't need to go about this alone. When you work with good lawyers, you get a better result, and you know your case was handled the right way.
Six Signs that You Need a Lawyer After an Accident
1) You’ve Already Spent Too Much Time at the Doctor
Why: If you’re at the doctor’s office that much, you’re hurt, and medical bills are coming. Your health insurance carrier also probably received a billing code that tells them you were hurt in an accident – you’ll probably be hearing from them soon, and they’ll probably be asking you to repay any health insurance benefits that you might recover from someone else. Good lawyers help to coordinate all of your insurance benefits. We work to prevent unexpected bills for reimbursement later on, and we can even lower or sometimes eliminate health insurance reimbursement all together.
2) An Insurance Company is Already Offering You Money
Why: Insurance carriers usually like to resolve cases quickly, often long before people and their doctors are aware of the full extent of their injuries. Settlement offers made not long after an accident usually are based on incomplete medical treatment. Settling a claim early is almost always settling a claim low. Call a lawyer to help you get what’s fair, not what's fast.
3) When Your Boss Asked When You’ll be Back at Work, You Said “I Don’t Know”
Why: Good lawyers help work with your employer and your H.R. benefits coordinator to help you keep your job and sometimes even get additional, short-term insurance benefits to help while you’re still getting treatment. Our experience doing this every day can make a huge difference.
4) Your Health Insurance Company Stopped Paying Your Medical Bills and Wants You to Start Filling Out Forms
Why: A lot of people are shocked when their own health insurance company sends them a bill after an accident. Almost all health insurance policies say that you need to reimburse the health insurance carrier for medical bills caused by someone else. Good lawyers can help in a lot of ways. We make sure the health insurance company is only getting what they’re supposed to get, only when they're supposed to get it, and only after you got enough insurance benefits to cover your costs. We also negotiate with the health insurance company to reduce the amount of reimbursement, and sometimes even get the health insurance company to waive the reimbursement entirely.
5) Someone is Asking for a Recorded Statement
Why: Insurance companies almost always want to take everyone’s recorded statement after an accident. Colorado law has strict requirements on how long insurance carriers need to wait to take a recorded statement, and insurance carriers often use recorded statements against you later to reduce the amount they pay. Some insurance carriers you need to talk to – like your own; other insurance carriers are just asking for something to which they’re not entitled. Good attorneys make sure that, if the insurance carrier is entitled to a recorded statement, the statement is complete, accurate, and fair.
6) The Insurance Carrier Tells You that You Don’t Need a Lawyer
Why: Insurance carriers love to tell people after an accident that they don’t need to hire a lawyer and that if they do hire a lawyer they’ll just end up paying the lawyer a large chunk of whatever the insurance carrier pays. Bogus. It’s far easier for an insurance carrier to under-pay a claim when you don’t have a lawyer. Insurance carriers negotiate claims every day. Most people negotiate claims once in a lifetime, if ever. Lawyers level the playing field.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LAWYERS & LEGAL FEES
CHOOSING THE RIGHT LAWYER
A lawyer with great expertise in one area of the law may have little knowledge or experience in a different area. It is important that the lawyer have training, experience and a demonstrable track record relating to the specific legal matter at hand. The prospective client should feel personally comfortable with the attorney and be confident that there will be an adequate and accurate line of communication.
THREE TYPES OF ATTORNEY FEES
The three basic types of attorney fees are fixed, hourly and contingent. It is best to make sure that any fee agreement is clearly and plainly set forth in writing.
A fixed fee for a particular legal task may be agreed upon between the attorney and client. Fixed fees are most common in the defense of criminal cases where the amount and type of work is predictable by the attorney and the client is more comfortable with knowing that the fees will not, under ordinary circumstances, exceed the fixed amount.
Hourly fees are commonly available in almost any type of legal matter. Hourly rates vary depending on the factors mentioned above. The client is ordinarily asked to pay a certain amount into the the attorney's trust account, from which the attorney may make withdrawals for time and case costs. The attorney should provide periodic itemized bills to the client. The client may be called upon to deposit additional amounts should the trust balance become depleted. On the other hand, any unearned balance at the end of the case, subject to deductions for case costs, will be refunded to the client.
A contingent fee is one where the lawyer gets paid only if he or she collects money for the client. If the lawyer is successful, a percentage of the settlement will go to the lawyer as a fee. Contingent fee agreements are most common in injury cases. A contingent fee may be a welcome option to a person who would have difficulty paying in advance for legal representation. Contingent fees allow access to legal representation and to the courts for those who have been wronged and have a right to a legal remedy but do not have the necessary and often significant funds to protect and assert their rights.