Why would you need to hire an attorney when you have auto insurance to cover the damages?
The logic for most people is that the insured pay the insurance company for the coverage, so the insurance company should automatically pay what is reasonably owed. If the process worked this way then in a lot of instances an attorney may not be necessary for a simple claim. Unfortunately, anyone who has had to deal with an insurance claim or adjuster knows this is not the way it works. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to save as much money as possible for the insurance company. This all too often means that the standard process is to deny your claim, or offer you less than what your coverage allows or what you are entitled to. This is why you need an attorney.
Most people when shopping for auto insurance are looking for the cheapest monthly premium and do not really think of the full scope of what type of coverage they actually would need if an accident actually happened. When the agent is on the phone setting up the policy, they are generally offering multiple add on features from towing and rental car reimbursement to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UMC). In the buyers haste and attempt to keep the monthly premium low many will reject this coverage, even though it is a very small increase in price. Louisiana does not require drivers to carry UMC, they do however require insurance companies to include UMC in their packages unless explicitly rejected in writing by the buyer. This is where having an attorney on your side could be the difference of your claim being paid or not.
Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverage is coverage you purchase to protect yourself from damage caused by others. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is designed to cover the costs when other drivers cannot pay, including your out of pocket medical expenses, up to your policy limits. The standard UMC coverage is $25,000-$50,000 in personal injury per person and $50,000-$100.000 for more than one person, per single accident. The cost of this extra coverage is usually very minimal, but the benefits are tremendous.
In Louisiana 13% of drivers are uninsured or underinsured. That means that 1 in 8 people driving on the same roads with you do not have the insurance to pay for your damages if they cause an accident. What do you do if this happens? Do you sue them for damages? You could, but if they are not paying for auto insurance the chances of them having an abundance of money is pretty unlikely. This is where an attorney’s knowledge and expertise are invaluable. An attorney knows how to get the most out of your own policies to help cover your losses.
Liability coverage is coverage you purchase to protect other drivers from damage you cause. In Louisiana the minimum liability coverage is 15/30/25 which basically means they cover up to $15,000 for personal injury per person, $30,000 for more than one person per single accident, and $25,000 in damages to a person’s vehicle or personal property. This is not very much coverage if it is a serious accident. One ambulance trip to the ER could easily consume that coverage alone, and leave you in a very vulnerable situation. This is where you need an attorney who is experienced in personal injury claims to read through and understand your policy.
Why should you hire an attorney:
• To make sure you are getting all that you are owed;
• To make sure you are not leaving anything on the table;
• To make sure you are not paying medical bills for years down the road that could have been covered;
• To make sure you get the medical attention that you need.
An attorney will know how to request damages beyond medical bills and vehicle repair costs. They are well versed in knowing how to include damages for pain and suffering or loss of income that go beyond what a basic policy might cover. This is an attorney’s job, their job is to ask the questions and make the demands that you don’t know to ask or demand.
At Thornhill Law Firm we have over 40 years of experience with small and large personal injury cases and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. In Louisiana you only have one year to file a personal injury claim. If you have been in an accident and have questions, please contact our office at 985-641-5010.