We are often asked “am I required to hire a lawyer to represent me in obtaining compensation for injuries I sustained in a car accident”. The simple answer is “no”, but the question is more complex than a simple answer provides. While the car accident victim is not required to hire a lawyer, she or he is at a significant disadvantage by representing herself or himself. The insurance company will have experienced adjusters and lawyers representing the insurance company’s interests. Adjusters handle thousands of accident claims and received extensive training on how to evaluate and negotiate car accident settlements. The adjusters also have the ability to consult with lawyers who work for the insurance company and to provide them with much needed legal advice. This gives the insurance company is a significant advantage over the self-represented car accident victim during all phases of the case from investigating the claim through the settlement negotiations. The case described below demonstrates the advantage a car accident victim receives by hiring a lawyer to represent his/her against the insurance company.
Earlier this year, Hamblett & Kerrigan negotiated a high six-figure settlement for an injury victim as a result of an automobile accident in Massachusetts. The injury victim was traveling on 93-North in Somerville, Massachusetts on an early spring day, when an improperly secured ladder fell out of a pickup truck and onto the highway. In order to avoid striking the ladder, an unidentified vehicle swerved into the victim’s lane. In an effort to avoid the swerving car, the victim swerved to the left and struck the jersey barrier in the median strip. As a result of the accident, the injury victim sustained serious injuries, including a herniated disc. Despite the injury victim’s significant injuries, the insurance company for the pickup truck made a low six-figure settlement offer prior to filing a lawsuit. After rejecting the offer, Hamblett & Kerrigan filed a lawsuit on the injury victim’s behalf in the Superior Court to collect for the injuries he sustained as a result of the automobile accident. Hamblett & Kerrigan proceeded with aggressively obtaining discovery from the defendant driver and his employer, and used the information obtained from the discovery to get the insurance company to offer a high six-figure settlement offer and resolving the case at mediation.
It is critically important for the injury victim’s attorney to be willing to file suit when settlement negotiations do not result in fair compensation for his or her injuries. Even though the defendant’s insurance company offered a low six-figure settlement prior to filing suit, the offer was still significantly lower than the injury victim’s damages. We were able to educate the car accident victim on the value the claim to assist in making the decision to reject the insurance company’s settlement offer made prior to the filing of the lawsuit. We then used our knowledge and trial experience to obtain the necessary discovery to get the insurance company to reconsider their settlement posture and to offer the car accident victim a fair settlement.
If you have any questions regarding a car, automobile, motorcycle, pedestrian or truck accident, whether in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, please contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss. Let Hamblett & Kerrigan use their experience in representing injury victims to your advantage.
Kevin P. Rauseo is a former director at Hamblett & Kerrigan P.A. and has since been appointed as a Justice for the New Hampshire Circuit Court. Please feel free to contact another attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan to discuss your legal issues.