I Was Just in a Car Accident—When Should I “Lawyer Up”?

I Was Just in a Car Accident—When Should I “Lawyer Up”?

Increasingly, Americans and Coloradoans live in their cars. Personal vehicles transport us between the office, part-time jobs, school functions, the mountains, and extra-curricular activities. We rely on their continuing function to answer the questions in our daily realities. A minor mechanical issue can mean the end of our access to the majority of things we enjoy outside of our homes. So what happens when a vehicle fails us through no fault of our own in an automobile accident?
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there were over 28,600 car crashes in Denver County alone in the year 2000. That means upwards of 28,000 victims of unforeseen circumstances that change their lives forever. Even the minor inconvenience of being without a vehicle can mean massive consequences for families all over Colorado. So why are victims of car accidents so unlikely to hire a lawyer to defend their interests?
Many people have bought into the popular opinion that we, as Americans, are sue-happy. Everyone remembers the famous McDonalds coffee case that birthed the sometimes-argued obvious warning labels on various products. Our hot coffee now seems intent on stating the obvious—that we should exercise caution because the contents are hot. Former President George W. Bush strongly opined that doctors should focus on healing, not lawsuits. The entire country seems intent on believing the popular fiction that people will sue at the drop of a hat for unjust reasons. Part of the rationale is that if doctors (or big chain grocery stores) are worried about their own negligence, they will somehow spend less time practicing their professions and more time resolving frivolous lawsuits.
The logic is easy enough to disassemble—if those same doctors and grocery stores, for example, are detached from the consequences of their negligent actions, like simultaneously supervising two complicated surgeries in different sides of the hospital or wiping up spilled milk, they certainly do have more time to practice their professions. However, those practices should not occur the way they do. Despite this simple request for fairness, however, there is a massive social pressure in Colorado and American society as a whole to chin up and bear the damages of our injuries because we don’t believe the harms we suffer should be redressed through legal attention.
This is one of the biggest inconsistencies of our cultural perception of lawyering up when we are injured. Simply put, the other side has no shame or stigma attached to doing their best to settle cases with as little financial output as possible. When an auto accident happens in Denver, for example, the parties in the cars are not the only ones interested in the outcome of injuries and property damage. As soon as a collision happens, insurance companies on both sides should be notified of the potential for a claim. Insurance adjusters, while not bad people, work for large, often multi-state and sometimes-international corporations whose first priority is their bottom line. Insurance adjusters have an immediate and pressing motivation to settle cases for as little money as possible. Injured victims of car accidents who buy into the fiction that lawyering up contributes to the overall weakening of our society’s independence seem to implicitly give away the rights to a fair recovery. In addition to suffering often-catastrophic injuries and the daily inconvenience of loss of use of their vehicles, these injured victims are asked to deal with insurance adjusters who have seen hundreds if not thousands of these cases and have found all the possible pathways to reduce victim recovery to as small a number as possible. The Adjusters are just doing their jobs but too often victims let the social pressure to chin up and bear the harm interfere with the recoveries they are rightfully entitled to.
There is no shame in standing up for yourself when you are injured. It is, in fact, the most prudent course of action. The very best way to protect your interests in such a situation is to hire a competent attorney to fiercely represent your interests against insurance companies when you are injured in an accident. Larson & Larimer have decades of experience fighting for the rights of individuals and their loved ones who were injured by the negligence of others. If you or someone you know has experienced these sorts of catastrophic injuries, please contact Larson & Larimer at (303)221-0039 to schedule your free consultation.

Sources: https://www.codot.gov/library/traffic/safety-crash-data/crash-data/crashes-by-county-2000-2015/view; http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bush-pushes-for-tort-reform/;