You don’t always need an attorney. For smaller issues, such as a car accident in which nobody was hurt, a lawyer may be unnecessary. But where serious personal injury or death results from a car accident or other mishap, failing to hire a lawyer can be a costly error.

Whether to hire a lawyer is your decision. There is no rule or law requiring someone who has suffered personal injuries to hire a lawyer, and (despite what some insurance companies suggest) there is never a rule against hiring a lawyer. When you decide whether to hire a lawyer, consider the seriousness of the case and how important the outcome of the case is to you.

If you’re deciding whether to hire a lawyer for your car accident or personal injury case, we hope you find this video helpful. In this two-part series, we talk about the top ten tricks that insurance companies and adjusters use to keep their payouts low. Part One discusses insurance company tricks 1-5, and Part Two discusses insurance tricks 6-10. The tricks we discuss are relevant to all personal injury and wrongful death cases, although in these videos we talk mostly about car accidents because the are so common. Because our offices are in the Atlanta, Georgia area, we focus on Georgia law.

The bottom line is that if you handle a claim yourself, you’re negotiating against a professional. The insurance adjuster on the other end of the phone has been trained in negotiations, has a lot of practice, knows this area of the law, and handles claims like yours all day, every day. If your case involves a serious personal injury or death, then the insurance adjuster you’re talking to is probably a higher-up who has been promoted because he or she regularly saved the insurance company money — by consistently settling cases for less than they were worth. The bigger the case, the better the adjuster. So if your day-to-day job involves something OTHER than negotiating personal injury claims, you may be at a disadvantage.

The very first truck of most insurance adjusters — the one at the very front of their training manuals — is to make you think they’re your friend. Every insurance adjuster wants you to believe they’re not like the other insurance adjusters that you may have heard about. They may say they’re trying to help you, even though they get paid to save the insurance company money by keeping that money away from you. They even may act like they want to pay you money, but just need one or two more documents to get approval from a supervisor. The truth is that insurance adjusters are trained, encouraged, and paid to keep their payouts LOW — because high payouts cost their companies money. If you take nothing else away from this video, please don’t fall for that trick.

Whether to hire a lawyer is your call. If your case involves only damage to a car or if personal injuries that are minor, it may not be worth hiring a lawyer. But if your case involves serious injury or death, hiring a lawyer is probably in your best interest. After all, that’s why the insurance company is trying to talk you out of it.

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