If you’ve been in a car accident, we’re here to make things easier. Most of us use cars to travel, and we expect they’ll always get us to our destinations. It’s unnerving to have yours suddenly crash to a halt. It can feel like your world has slammed to a stop.
When you’re recovering from a car accident, the last thing you need is for unscrupulous legal professionals to take advantage of your situation. That’s why we’re writing this guide to help you get answers to the question, “Should I get an attorney after a car accident?”
We can tell you that hiring a good attorney really can help! Just remember that the choice of which medical providers to go to should be yours alone, not your attorney’s. You’ll find out why below.
The Benefits of Hiring an Accident Attorney
A great accident attorney can protect you and guide you through the processes involved after an accident. You might need one if you run into especially difficult issues, which can include the following:
- The accident resulted in a major injury or fatality
- It’s difficult to tell who was at fault
- You’re having trouble with insurance
- The accident included pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists
- The police report is inaccurate
However, even a seemingly minor fender bender can have rippling fallout. Attorneys can help you manage that fallout in these ways:
1. Protect Your Rights
It’s normal to feel so confused after a car accident that you’re inclined to agree with whatever people tell you to do –such as insurance providers. An attorney can prevent you from being pushed into anything you shouldn’t have to do, from taking a quick settlement to having to follow up repeatedly with unresponsive adjusters.
2. Maximize Your Benefits
It’s also very natural to focus on the most immediately disruptive implications of a car accident, such as minimizing your pain and getting your car fixed. Attorneys can help you think through both the short-term and long-term implications of your accident, such as the potential of long-term disability and time out of work. They can ensure you get access to all the benefits of the coverage that you’ve been paying into for a long time.
3. Let You Focus on Your Recovery
Your attorney can be the point of contact with other parties involved. That means he or she can actually take care of tasks for you, such as:
- Collecting police reports or medical records
- Finalizing settlement for long-term disability
- Negotiating with an at-fault party’s insurance provider
They can also clear away any roadblocks that might be causing “will-I-be-covered” stress. All
this can help you focus on physical therapy and other steps back to optimal health.
The Right Way to Choose An Attorney
Unfortunately, not all attorneys do a god job of considering both the financial and health interests of their clients. This often leads to unnecessary and expensive medical procedures that increase the possible settlement amount.
But settlements don’t always turn out the way attorneys hope. Some victims end up going through a medical procedure—even a surgery—that is not covered by the settlement and that they really didn’t need. That’s why it’s important to do the following before hiring an attorney:
1. See A Physician First
Your health should take priority, and accident injuries can be lasting if not evaluated immediately and with expertise. Accident victims who seek counsel first (often those with no visible injuries) may be so anxious about their situation that they’ll just go to the first physician the attorney recommends — as opposed to choosing a doctor based on past history, patient reviews, advanced training, and so on. While your attorney might be comfortable working with these doctors, that doesn’t mean they are going to be the best ones for you.
What’s more, in the state of Florida you must see a physician regarding any injuries or symptoms related to your accident within 14 days of the accident, otherwise you lose 75% of your benefits. By law, only a physician can determine whether your injuries meet the level of an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) — a diagnosis required by insurance companies before approving and processing a claim.
2. Begin Conservative Treatment
Most primary care physicians will recommend treatment after evaluating a victim’s injuries, often beginning with the most conservative, non-invasive approach. As a result, physical therapy is typically recommended as a first step. A safe and effective way to get immediate relief, initiating physical therapy can help to minimize your pain so that you can be less anxious and more deliberate when selecting an attorney.
However, the most common auto injuries, such as whiplash and back pain, can be complex in nature. It is important to make sure that your treatment will be one-on-one with the same physical therapist at each visit.
3. Ask Your Medical Team For Recommendations
Your medical team may be able to recommend great attorneys who will treat you with genuine respect. Your physicians and physical therapists have likely treated other patients suffering from similar injuries resulting from car accidents. That means they and their office staff have worked directly with local attorneys in order to:
- Organize notes for a claim
- Collect balances from insurance companies
- Relay plans of care
This exposure to their operations, along with the feedback from their patients, gives them a good sense of the values and culture that drive an attorney’s practice. If you have scheduled your visit with your primary care physician or initiated treatment with a physical therapist, plan to ask them. It is likely they may know several attorneys who have helped other patients through it.
If you’re wondering, “Should I get an attorney after a car accident?”, we can tell you that a great attorney can guide you through the fog of this difficult time like a lighthouse. We simply recommend that you choose your medical providers for yourself, based on what is best for both your physical and fiscal needs.
Contact Us Today
If you’ve been in a car accident and need caring and effective physical therapy, come to Clear Choice Physical Therapy in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We’ll collaborate with you to create a treatment plan that you’re excited about. Call us today for a consultation!