Do I Really Need an Attorney For Every Claim?
The short answer is “No”. If you are involved in an automobile accident and it involves property damage only with little if no personal injury, you may do well to handle the case yourself or with your own insurance company. If you have collision coverage your own insurance company will be responsible for paying for your property damage, minus the deductible. Once your insurance company has paid your claim, it (your insurance company) has the right to seek reimbursement or subrogation from the insurance company or person responsible for the accident.
Your insurance company will not pursue a claim for any personal injury suffered by you or your passengers. That type claim will have to be pursued by you. It may be done individually or through a personal injury attorney. If your physical injury is minimal i.e. bumps and bruises and resolves in a few days or a week it may not be worth hiring an attorney to pursue the claim. For that reason, it is always a good idea to see a doctor and have a medical records documenting your injury.
If your physical injury involves anything more than bumps and bruises that resolve quickly it is probably a good idea to seek the advice of a good and reputable personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney will know how to properly evaluate your claim and collect the full measure of your damages.
When You Need An Attorney
For example, even if you use sick time to take off from work the law may allow you to collect that money from the responsible party under what is called the collateral source rule. Likewise, even if your medical were paid by insurance, an experienced attorney may be able to have the defendant pay those expenses as well, even though they have already been paid by your own personal insurance.
An experienced attorney will know what rules apply to your particular circumstances and use those rules to your benefit. Dealing with the insurance company on your own may result in recovering less than your claim is worth. An insurance company adjuster job is to save the insurance company money. They have no duty to insure that you recover what your claim is worth. In fact, their job performance rating is based on how much they save the insurance company.
Finally, if your claim is minimal you may not need a lawyer to represent you. The problem is that you may not know the value of your potential claim until you seek professional advice. At the very least, talk to a reputable personal injury lawyer before dealing with the insurance company yourself. It is the only way you can be sure you get paid the value of your claim.