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Marquis' Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America and Who's Who in American Law
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American Society of Legal Advocates - Top 100 - 2013
Should You Hire An Accident Attorney?
by: David G. Hallstrom
The following article was written by David Hallstrom, a private investigator. He is not now nor has he ever been an attorney. It is written in response to the question: "David, if you have been in a serious accident, car accident, brain injury, construction accident, fall, etc.- should you see or speak with an attorney?"
As far as I am concerned, the answer is always yes. You should seek the advise of an accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Do not wait. You could be giving up certain rights involuntarily and losing valuable information (that's where my work comes in). You should definitely speak with an attorney before speaking with the other side's insurance agent, adjuster or attorney.
You say that you can not afford an attorney. Most accident attorneys will consult with you for free and, if they take your case, will handle it on a contingency basis, not taking any fee untill the case is settled. Most settlements are increased more than enough to cover the cost of the attorney and therefore normally the attorney costs you nothing. Many attorneys will also advance all court costs for you if they are forced to file suit- which is often impossible for a seriously injured person to do on their own behalf.
You say that you were injured, however, the insurance company has offered to pay your medical bills and you do not feel it is right to take advantage of them by asking for additional money for your pain, suffering, lost work, etc.. Don't you feel that you as a person are worth something? Do you think so little of yourself that you feel that your pain, suffering, inconvenience, etc. is worthless? You did not cause this accident. What you are going through was caused by someone else. You deserve to be compensated. The insurance company, as a matter of good business, has already built these types of costs into the premiums that they charge their customers. If the money does not go to you it will probably go to their shareholders or to increased salaries or ?. Why shouldn't you be properly compensated? Remember most good attorneys are ethical and although they will attempt to obtain as much money for you as is due, they will not take your case unless they feel that it is proper.
You say someone else admitted liability and said that their insurance will pay all your damages. That's great, but what if the person changes his or her story later on and says that you were at fault? Or what if the other side's insurance company refuses to pay what you think is proper anyway? In fact, how do you know what is proper? Remember, an insurance company may pay claims, but it is in business to make money- lots of it.
An insurer normally will not offer one dollar more than it has to and if you are not represented by an attorney the insurance company adjuster or attorney will probably feel that he or she can "get away" with paying much less than the claim may be worth. Additionally, what people state at the time of an accident is not always what they state after having spoken with a friend, insurance agent or attorney. It is amazing how the facts change. Finally, an insurance adjuster or insurance attorney works for the insurance company, not for you.
How do you know that what an insurance company representative is telling you is correct or true? Remember, in most instances, they are there to try and save the company money. You need an attorney on your side to tell you what your rights and obligations are.
You say you have accident insurance, why not let them handle everthing for you? Your insurance company is there to defend any claims against you, but not to represent you in any claims against other parties. Additionally, they also are in business to make money. How do you know if they are trying to settle a case to help you or to save themselves money?
The foregoing article was written by the author based on experiences he has had as a private investigator assisting both accident attorneys and insurance companies. This article is not stated as a legal opinion or as fact but instead is stated as opinion of the author.
Permission is given to reprint this article providing credit is given to the author, David G. Hallstrom, Resources for attorneys,
the owner of this article. Anyone or any company reprinting this article without giving proper credit and the correct link, is doing so without permission and will be subject to legal action.
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An important victory in the fight for individual rights (as opposed to insurer rights) is the case of Yukumoto and HMSA v. Tawahara. In that case on May 26, 2017, the Hawaii Supreme Court rejected the efforts of a health insurer who tried to convert its insurance coverage into a 'loan agreement' and recover its medical expense payments from Mr. Yukumoto when he had a 3rd party claim - in spite of the fact that he was not being fully compensated for his losses. This insidious insurance practice has been damaging the citizens and members of the Hawaii community for many years. For more info, see the decision here: Yukumoto and HMSA v. Tawahara, Hawaii Sup. Ct. No. SCAP-15-0000460 (May 26, 2017).