Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2019

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Deciding whether or not to retain the services of an attorney when you have been in a car accident or otherwise need to file an auto insurance claim can be a tricky business.

Most people are not very well acquainted with how much auto repairs, damages, and medical compensation should be, and if there is a serious amount of money or compensation involved one should certainly retain the services of a lawyer.

However, if the amount of your claim is relatively small the fee or retainer for seeing an attorney can easily excede the extra costs associated with your compensation or repair bill.

Basically, if you feel that your auto insurance company is dealing fairly with you there is no need to hire an attorney when dealing with an auto insurance adjuster.

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Are auto insurance adjusters always fair?

While you may feel your judgment accurate regarding whether or not an auto insurance adjuster is being fair to you, remember that the position of auto insurance companies is designed to make sure that they pay out the minimum possible on your claim.

Now if your repairs are $500 and they pay you 4475, this isn’t really a big deal. The cost of hiring an attorney for that extra $25 would not make any sense. If you are in a serious accident and require a replacement of your vehicle or you have received serious medical injuries it may be in your best bet to retain an attorney if only to help streamline the process.

If you think that hiring an attorney will net you a fairer amount in the long run, above the cost of the attorney, you should certainly as least consult with an attorney or two to learn the numbers involved with taking the insurance agency to court.

Why hire a lawyer for my auto insurance claim?

One of the main reasons for hiring a qualified attorney is that many of the contracts and policies you sign when joining an insurance company are written by lawyers and some can be very hard to understand. It is best to have an independent third party read your contract and make sure that you are exploring all available options for your compensation.

An independent attorney has an incentive as your client to get you the best deal possible, an insurance adjuster has the exact opposite incentive- they want to make sure you get what they believe they owe and not a penny more.

For example, if you are in an accident that requires you to receive medical care your insurance company may not let you know the full spectrum of available benefits that they are supposed to offer you, including rides to and from the hospital, full coverage of medical bills without co pays, a car rental, compensation for time off work, and so on.

An attorney will fight to get you these things and more while a claims adjuster will at the very least expect you to know your own policy, which can be daunting at times.

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Attorneys Can Make Life Easier

Aside from the financial benefits and making sure that you receive adequate compensation retaining an attorney for processing your auto insurance compensation claim can make your life much easier. Often times insurance adjusters need to meet a number of times, especially with larger claims involving vehicle replacements or medical care.

When going to these meetings you will be asked questions regarding your policy and also asked to sign forms and do all kinds of paperwork.

If you have an attorney present you will be able to dodge a lot of this paperwork which can be filled with legalese, and have your attorney process and fill it out to make sure it is done thoroughly and correctly- in the insurance claims process paperwork is very important.

Your attorney will also be able to field routine calls from your insurance adjuster and take care of many of the small hassles involved with receiving compensation for an auto accident.

Attorneys may also be able to speed up the process of replacing your vehicle or getting paid for hospital or other medical bills. Often times, when one does not retain the services of an attorney for an auto insurance claim adjusters, can be slow to respond to your case and may delay compensation.

An attorney will be on top of the process and do their best to make sure that you receive your compensation as quickly as possible.

Having to spend your own money on hospital bills and not having a regular vehicle can be a big problem in life, at the very least a serious annoyance and an attorney can make your life easier by getting your compensation to you in a much more timely manner.

Anytime you enter in a complex transaction like receiving compensation for an auto accident or auto injury it is always best to take a minute and weigh your options.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself before dealing with an auto adjuster might be: Is hiring an attorney worth the cost? Is my auto adjuster being fair with me? How much do I feel entitled to and how much is the insurance company willing to pay out?

If you feel you are being treated fairly and the insurance company is making up all the losses you have suffered you have then there is no need to call an attorney- but if there are large numbers involved, or you are having trouble understanding the auto insurance claim it is probably best to retain the services of a professional.

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Related posts:

  1. How to File a Car Insurance Claim
  2. When can a car insurance company deny a claim?
  3. What should I do if a Car Insurance Company will not pay a claim?
  4. Do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company?