When do you need an attorney?
There are a huge variety of accidents related to Motor Vehicles. Often, small accidents without injuries and clear-cut liability can be resolved quickly through your own insurance company without the assistance of an attorney. But what happens if the circumstances surrounding the accident are not so clear, or the accident involved an injury? What happens if the other driver’s insurance company refuses to engage with you or if your own insurance company denies your claim or refuses to assist you? These are all circumstances where you should consider retaining legal representation.
What if liability is unclear?
If you are partially at fault for the accident or it’s not clear who was at fault, it may be wise to hire your own attorney to work with your insurance company. Where it will make more of a difference to you is if you were injured in the accident. If you were partially at fault, you will only collect a percentage of your damages, including your pain and suffering damages. If it’s not clear who was responsible, it may have to be decided in court or by an arbitrator. If you were injured, and liability is not clear, even if the insurance companies decide on a percentage with regard to the property damage, you should hire a personal injury lawyer who will advocate for your position and get you a larger percentage of your damages for your injury.
What if your vehicle is a total loss?
If your car was a total loss it means that the total cost to repair the vehicle is more than the value of the vehicle and you will most likely be making a property damage claim for it with the other driver’s insurance. Don’t be surprised if you wind up having to negotiate with them regarding the value of your vehicle. In this case, you should consider retaining the services of Fellerman & Ciarimboli to ensure you are getting the most for your vehicle.
What if you also have an injury?
If you are injured, be very careful about talking to the other insurance company about property damage. The adjuster may try to get you to state that you are not injured in order to minimize any future medical claim. This is a situation where you absolutely need to talk to a personal injury lawyer so you don’t say the wrong thing or sign the wrong thing and hurt your chances of getting full compensation.
Protecting your home and personal property needs to start before a disaster strikes. Often, having an attorney on retainer to review your insurance policies and personal needs is a great first step. But there are many things to consider ensuring that you have fully managed your risk related to your personal property, and more things to consider should a disaster strike.
Get the right insurance policy
A good insurance broker should take the time when you select your insurance policy to clearly explain your coverage’s and to make sure that you have coverage in excess of what you currently own. Many of our clients are surprised by how quickly replacement costs accumulate. You do not want to find yourself underinsured and if you are grossly underinsured you will not be able to return to the life that you had before the disaster.
All insurance policies are not created equal
From company to company and policy to policy, coverage often varies. Many times certain items are not covered in one type of policy that is covered in another. Often additional riders or addendums need to be purchased in addition to the basic homeowner policy to cover specific valuable items. Periodic policy evaluations and if necessary, limit increases are recommended. Also, know what the policy deduction is and make sure that it is a realistic amount of money that you can pay if needed. Flood and earthquake insurance is typically not included in most basic homeowner policies. You need to inquire about these and other riders when deciding upon your policy and often times a legal opinion on a specific policy for your unique needs may be required. In addition, there are additional liability coverage’s within many liability policies that many of our clients forget that you may want to review with a legal advisor.
Understand your policy
An important step after a disaster is to retrieve your insurance policy and verify your policy limits and exclusions to coverage. Have a copy of your policy stored in a fire safe or safety deposit box. It is also a good idea to keep purchase receipts from valuables, antiques, electronics, etc. in this same location. If you are facing a catastrophic or total loss, it may be a good idea to consult an attorney at this time just so the insurance company knows that you have someone available to help if necessary.
If you are not getting a fair settlement call us!
Remember that it is the insurance companies business to ensure your property. In other words, it is their obligation to pay for your damaged property but it is a business hence they are in it to make money. They will pay minimums unless challenged. This is when you may need legal assistance. If you find yourself in settlement negotiation that is not going the way you think it should contact an attorney that has experience in claims negotiation most likely bad faith claims.