Do I Need a Lawyer to File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident?
The short answer to that question is "no." Anyone can file an insurance claim after being involved in a car accident in Arkansas. And sometimes doing so yourself is the best option. If your injuries are truly minor, if the amount of property damage is low, and if all of your expenses are easily accountable, filing an insurance claim yourself is warranted. However, understand that any time you are dealing with an insurance company regarding compensation, they are working on behalf of the insurance company and not necessarily working to ensure you are fully compensated.
When it comes to moderate to serious injuries, hiring an attorney is beneficial in many ways. As previously mentioned, after a collision, it is imperative that certain evidence be collected as soon as possible to ensure you receive the compensation you justly deserve. Evidence equals compensation. When you are recovering from injuries, the last thing you are thinking about is what evidence you may need to prove your case. Proper evidence and expertise in the field will maximize any compensation you may receive.
First of all, let us be clear: You are not required to hire a car accident lawyer. Doing so is completely optional, regardless of how serious your car accident was. However, in many instances, doing so makes sense (both financially and personally).
Indeed, many people choose to handle the aftermath of relatively minor car accidents themselves in order to save money and just get the process over and done with he or she can resume life as normal. That's fine if:
- Your injuries do not require medical treatment, emergency transportation, or hospitalization
- The amount of property damage is $3,000 or below (which is what the majority of Americans have for emergency savings).
- You're choosing to file a claim against your insurance policy (rather than another person's policy)
In these cases, after contacting the insurance company, an adjuster may give you instructions to walk you through the entire recovery process outlining what the policy will and will not pay. They may send an adjuster to look at the physical damage and may ask to see medical bills. Once an amount is agreed upon, the company will often cut you a check and you're on your way.
And while this option sounds quick and easy, many people regret not hiring a personal injury attorney after the fact because of expenses or unforeseen consequences that they had not accounted for, and didn’t know to. Indeed, insurance companies often rely on a victim's willingness to rush the recovery process along in order to save money, thus shortchanging the victim.
As a personal injury attorney in Arkansas who has years of experience helping victims get adequate compensation after car accidents in Little Rock and the surrounding area, I always urge people to at least consult with a lawyer to discuss the options available to them before accepting an offer from—or even speaking at length with—an insurance company. Doing so can shine a light on the complicated financial recovery process and highlight money you may be leaving on the table.