What’s important about this question is not just ‘what can an attorney do for me?’ but, more importantly, ‘what can an attorney do for me that I can’t do for myself?’ An attorney can do a number of things that you can’t possibly do for yourself.
The first thing that an attorney can do is to insulate you from direct contact with the insurance company or the defense attorney. That’s important because it gives you time to think and prepare your answers before you simply start giving away information. It avoids fast answers that may be given in a careless way that can cause damage to your case.
Even with respect to gathering information, something that you may think you can do yourself, an attorney will do a better job. For example, you may feel you can take your own photographs, and maybe you can. However, an attorney who understands motorcycle accidents and who understands the needs of the insurance company is much better equipped to supervise the taking of photographs so that critical information is displayed in a way that will be useful in your case. An attorney should know how to talk to your doctor so that the medical reports are written in a way that’s helpful to you. As another example, just getting the medical reports is done much more easily by an attorney than by someone who is injured and tries asking their doctor to start writing reports.
An attorney knows how to collect the information and present it in a way that will be recognized by the insurance company. A good attorney will work with the carrier’s computer and other systems so that information won’t simply be put in a letter to the insurance carrier that never goes anywhere. Properly done, it will be arranged and prepared in such a way that it goes easily and seamlessly into the computer system, thereby giving you a much better chance of getting a reasonable settlement offer.
If the information is not provided in the correct way and in a form that easily goes into the insurance company’s computer system, it is likely that only some portion of your information will be included in the evaluation of your claim. This communication error will result in a settlement offer that’s only a percentage of what the insurance company would otherwise offer. It could mean that your case can’t be settled.
Can You Provide a Step by Step Breakdown of The Process?
Nothing happens until you contact an attorney and authorize them to get started on your case. This is by far the most important thing that you can do, because the longer that you delay getting the attorney involved in the case, the longer it will take for your case to get resolved. Worse, there are pieces of evidence that will start to disappear and will be gone if you delay calling an attorney. Opportunities for documenting your injuries and the liability for the accident and other things are opportunities that can also be lost by delay.
There’s no advantage in delaying and so it’s very, very important that you take the first step, which is to call an attorney. Simply calling an attorney doesn’t obligate you to anything, but at least it give you the opportunity to discuss face to face or over the phone what steps need to be taken and to explore whether or not the attorney is a good fit for you and your case.
An attorney with experience in your kind of case will have developed office procedures to get your case moving toward settlement or trial, and to keep it moving. Each step of the way there will procedures in place to properly moving without parts of your case falling into the cracks.
From the first step, gathering basic information, to the last, preparing for trial, there are many, many steps in between. Your case should proceed smoothly towards settlement or trial, and you should feel comfortable knowing that your attorney is taking care of each step for you.
Done properly, there are way too many steps for a short list.
How Does an Attorney Actually Gather Information?
An attorney will know what information is necessary for the presentation of your case at any stage. Initially, an attorney will try to obtain photographs of the vehicles, and the accident scene if it is still possible to do so, and to get statements from any witnesses if it’s still possible to get witness statements. The difference between having an attorney do this and doing this yourself is an attorney knows what they are looking for and often witnesses are more comfortable speaking to an investigator than they are with someone who is on one side or the other in an accident case.
Once the attorney has the police report, photographs of the vehicles, witness statements and whatever photographs and information can be gathered at the scene, they have the basics that they need to begin preparing your case. From that point forward, the case will center more on putting together a presentation of your medical situation and your injuries and in obtaining any needed expert opinions that will help prove various aspects of your case.
If appropriate, your attorney will hire expert witnesses, have your medical records reviewed by other doctors, arrange for medical consultations, and arrange for an investigator to obtain witness statements and other evidence that may be available.
How Long Does the Whole Process Actually Take?
How long a case takes differs from case to case, because the cases are different.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle and many steps that have to be completed before your case can be settled. It is necessary for your medical condition to get to the level that’s described as “maximum medical improvement” and your situation needs to be “permanent and stationary” so that it is possible to evaluate your case for the purpose of settlement.
It is best to have your case progressing in the legal sense while your medical care is also going forward, so by the time that it is possible to make a proper evaluation of your injuries, the legal case has also progressed to the point where the case can be settled without the need for finding additional information. This whole process often takes a year and if you have an attorney who doesn’t get on top of the case and move it promptly, it occasionally will take two, three, four years or even longer. It’s very important to select an attorney who keeps your case moving to avoid unnecessary delay.
For more information on What An Attorney Can Do, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (800) 928-1511 today.