Delaware Auto Accident Lawyers: Can Hiring An Attorney Really Help?
Can hiring an attorney after you've been involved in a car accident really help? Absolutely. According to James Folsom, a Delaware attorney with over 30 years experience whose practice focuses on personal injury claims, there are two very important reasons to contact an attorney after you've been involved in a car accident.
- Making sure you're ok - from a legal standpoint. You should talk with an attorney is to make sure you're ok - and that should be an attorney's first concern. Not so much from a medical standpoint, but from a legal standpoint. In other words, is this the entire damage that you've suffered? I don't want to go ahead and settle today and then have the client realize that they've got additional injuries down the road because then it's too late. You could have treble damages in some cases, but settling too early may mean getting only half of what you're entitled to.
- Getting the recovery you deserve. Attorneys don't charge a fee for auto accident cases. They do it on a percentage of recovery, so we get our money by getting you money. Attorneys get a fee for their representation - basically one third of the recovery. So if you go to an attorney and there's nothing really there, the attorney will can tell you that the settlement the insurance company is offering is fair - and there's no charge.
Why does an attorney's experience matter in a Delaware car accident case?
According to Folsom, an experienced attorney will be able to better determine the types of damages that may be involved in addition to compensatory damages such as pain and suffering and punitive damages if reckless behavior was involved. However, he says that more importantly, an experienced attorney will know how to get those damages. He told us, "Although there are materials that lawyers and insurance companies subscribe to that look at all the jury verdicts that have come down in a particular state on particular injuries, knowing how to get those damages can be complicated. I don't know if anybody fresh out of law school would even understand how to use that information."
Understanding how insurance companies operate
Having practiced law for 30 years, Folsom told us that an experienced attorney will also have a better understanding of how particular insurance agents operate, know who's hard to deal with, who's easy to deal with, which insurance company will fight you tooth and nail and which insurance company will just try and settle. He explained:
Insurance companies often tend to throw in a lowball offer and hope that the injured party simply goes away if they're represented by an attorney who has experience. You're always looking at a case as if you have to go to court. So, if you get somebody just out of law school, the insurance company may believe that the inexperienced lawyer will do anything to settle because he or she may not fully understand trial practices like subpoenas and evidence and will just thrown the party a lowball offer.
You've got to know who you're dealing with. It's all about money, because that's the only standard that we can come up with to try and make people whole again - to put them back in the situation they were before they had the accident. You'd like to give them back their arm or their leg or whatever else they lost, but you can't do that; so the only thing we can do is try and get money to compensate for them for their injuries.
If you've been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Delaware auto accident attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.