Absolutely, yes! Through no fault of your own, you have no idea what your rights are as a victim of someone else’s negligence, nor do you know what the insurance company’s responsibilities are after their insured causes the collision. Insurance companies, however, love it when injured victims do not have a lawyer. They often train their adjusters to act like your long, lost best friend, and attempt to convince you that you do not even need a lawyer.
The insurance company’s only goal, however, is to pay as little as possible on your claim. According to the U.S. Insurance Council, injured victims (on average) recovered 350% more money when they were represented by an attorney. Simply put, retaining a personal injury attorney could be the difference between a $3,000 settlement and a $10,500 settlement. Don’t ever try to take on an insurance company’s team of adjusters and attorneys alone. You never want to accept less than you’re entitled! Let us handle your legal claim with precision while you focus on getting better. Ultimately, your recovered health (when possible) is worth more than any financial recovery. Calling The Law Office of Leonard T. Mathis will never cost you anything, but not calling an attorney at all could cost you and your family a great deal of money.
At The Law Office of Leonard T. Mathis, we pride ourselves on our ability to practice the law with precision. We understand that the injury you suffered is serious enough for you to seek our representation, and we don’t take that lightly. This is a customer-oriented field, and we know our firm will always treat you like a person, never like a number or a case file. Considering all the firms in Atlanta, these are five (5) ways we distinguish ourselves:
1. We specialize. Specialization is essential to quality legal representation. You want your attorney to be a master of his or her field. Because of the complex and changing nature of the law, the attorney that practices in three or four unrelated fields is rarely an expert in any field at all. When you are injured due to another person’s negligence, the last attorney you want is the one that dabbles in personal injury law, as well as criminal law, family law, and tax law. At The Law Office of Leonard T. Mathis, to better ensure precision in what we do, we dedicate our practice to personal injury law only.
2. We are experienced. At The Law Office of Leonard T. Mathis, we pride ourselves on having the experience necessary to guide you through this process while ultimately producing the best results for your particular case. After several years of effectively working personal injury cases through the litigation process, we are confident in our ability to maximize your recovery.
3. We are willing to litigate. It is important that potential clients realize that, often times, simply filing a law suit could drastically increase the value of your case. Though this is common knowledge in the personal injury community, many of the larger firms you see on TV only have an interest in settling your claim pre-suit, greatly diminishing the value of your claim. Because some law firms do not want to spend the required time or money necessary to maximize your recovery, they never file suit to initiate a law suit. Often times, their business strategy is to attract a large number of cases through TV or radio advertisements, only to settle a substantial number of those cases for a fraction of their actual value. At The Law Office of Leonard T. Mathis, we are committed to using our time and our financial resources to maximize your recovery. We understand that to do this, often times, a lawsuit must be initiated and litigation must commence.
4. We travel to you. We understand that in this practice area, our potential clients are often badly injured or have cars that were destroyed in collisions. Requesting you to travel all the way to our office is often medically risky, inconsiderate, and bad customer service. At The Law Office of Leonard T. Mathis, we assure you that an investigator or an attorney will travel to you after your initial consultation.
5. We are Georgians, this is our home too. Know that to us, you are more of a neighbor as we share the same community. We could easily have kids at the same school, be members of the same church, or actively volunteer with the same non-profit organizations. Even more, we share the same roads. Our interests in advocating for safer business practices are intertwined with your legal interests. That’s how you know we will always be motivated to give each case our all.
Immediately after the incident, it is almost impossible to determine the value of your particular case. Because so many factors affect the value of your case, there is no way any attorney can give you a full, fair, and honest assessment of your claim immediately after the collision or upon an initial consultation.
We appreciate that your case is unique. In fact, as far as we are concerned, no two collisions are identical. The particular facts of a situation color every decision we make. For every potential personal injury case however, we always consider these following THREE FACTORS:
1. Liability – what person or business is responsible for a catastrophic incident? Who is at fault? Would a jury at least see the other party as 51% at fault?
2. Damages – what real harm was caused by this catastrophic incident? Do you have medical bills? Did you miss time at work? Did you suffer pain or emotional anguish?
3. Insurance Coverage – how would a plaintiff financially recover from a successful claim? Does the potential defendant have any applicable insurance coverage? Do they have any other assets, like a house or bank accounts with considerable funds?
Generally speaking, each factor is essential. Similar to three legs on a stool, if any of these factors are missing, the case will fail. However, you should never assume that you’re able to predict the outcome of your own particular situation. Rely on the education and experience of The Law Office of Leonard T. Mathis. There is no downside to calling and having a free consultation, but not calling an attorney could cost you or your family more than you know.
Whenever you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, and you are not at fault, five (5) actions you can take to maximize your recovery are to:
1. Call the Police – It is essential that you document essential information surrounding the collision, such as the conditions on the road way, the presence of witnesses, or insurance information. In addition to the police report, you may want to independently obtain the contact information of any witnesses, so that they are available later to describe the negligent driver’s misconduct.
2. Take LOTS of Pictures – The more pictures you take, the more evidence you have to show a jury several months later. If possible, pull out your camera phone and try to at least capture (a) the at-fault driver’s license plate, (b) the position of the vehicles, and (c) any visible damage to the vehicles caused by the collision impact. We understand that immediately after a motor vehicle collision, your first instinct is never to take three dozen pictures, but capturing the scene of the collision through photographs or videos often drastically improves the value of your case.
3. Immediately Seek Medical Treatment – If you believe you are injured in any way, it is imperative that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Pain in your head, down your spine, or in your abdomen could be symptoms of serious medical injuries, so it is best to go to an emergency room or urgent care facility immediately. Let a doctor examine you first in order to eliminate the possibility of later complications. Additionally, understand that when you seek medical treatment, you are establishing records and documents that support your bodily injuries. Often times, an insurance company will argue that you did not suffer any injury or pain at all if you failed to go see a doctor.
4. Use Your Health Insurance – You pay for it, so why not use it? It is a complex issue, but generally speaking, it’s better to use your health insurance or medical payment coverage.
5. Report the Claim to Your Insurance – Reporting the collision keeps you in compliance with your insurance contract, and often offers a second layer of protection in regards to insurance coverage. Don’t worry, if you are not at fault, your rates will not increase.
To avoid weakening your claim and undercutting your recovery, when you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, five (5) things you must NEVER do are:
1. Don’t Talk to the Other Insurance Company – The at-fault driver’s insurance company will normally begin calling you immediately after the collision. Their adjusters are trained to seem friendly, and often try to make you feel as though retaining an attorney is a waste of money. Their job is to protect the company’s profits, so they make sure their company only pays you a small percent of the money they are actually responsible for. Politely decline their calls until you speak with an attorney.
2. Don’t Give a Recorded Statement – Recorded statements are used as evidence, and the other insurance company will use them to weaken your claim. Often times, your statements are twisted or taken out of context, all to decrease the value of your claim. When they ask, politely decline their request to give a recorded statement.
3. Don’t Sign Anything – Once you sign their release, your case is over; there is no way to recover future expenses from that same injury. Often times, insurance companies are eager to settle a claim immediately, because they know they can offer you a small fraction of what your claim might be worth. It takes most patients six to ten weeks to fully recover from soft tissue injuries sustained in a collision. Fractured or broken bones take much longer. In some instances, patients even need expensive surgeries or therapy to fully recover months after the collision. You never want to settle until all of your injuries and medical expenses are known.
4. Don’t Delay When You Seek Medical Treatment – The insurance company uses that delay to decrease the value of your case. They argue that, because you waited so long to see a doctor, your injuries must not be real, or that the pain and suffering you endured was caused by the delay, so it was your own fault.
5. Do not Try to Take on the Other Insurance Company Alone – The other insurance company goes through great lengths to attempt to convince you that you don’t need a lawyer. Ironically, the adjusters usually have a team of attorneys available to advise them on the best way to proceed in protecting the insurance company’s interest. Don’t try to take on the insurance company, their adjusters, and their team of attorneys all alone. It’s not your fault, but you just don’t know your rights and your opinions until your speak with a lawyer. Consult with an attorney, and add value to your case.
Yes, of course. If we are not able to help you on a matter, we will always refer you to an experienced and reasonably priced attorney. Remember, you will always benefit from an attorney that is specialized to handle your particular legal needs.