You’ve been in a car accident.
Although the accident was almost a year ago, you still have a nagging pain in your shoulder and mild recurring headaches. The insurance company offers you a settlement – it’s not as much as you’d hoped for, but it’s something.
Do you take it?
“Insurance companies often tell people that if they press for more it will cost them a bundle in legal fees – they’re better off taking the offer.” And sometimes, he said, that’s true. But if you’re not fully recovered from your injuries, legal advice and further medical investigation may help you get a much better settlement.
Your chances are better with a lawyer – and if you don’t get paid, neither does he
His advice is to talk to a lawyer and find out where you stand. And if you’re worried about the cost, you needn’t be. Lawyers like Farquhar work on a percentage basis – if you don’t get paid, they don’t get paid.
“In my experience clients receive more compensation with a lawyer involved, even with legal costs factored in,” he said. “The only exception is if someone is fully recovered within a month or so of an accident. I advise those people to settle with the insurer directly – they don’t need a lawyer.”
In 20 years of practice Farquhar has seen most cases settled out of court. He says the client and the lawyer work as a team to reach an appropriate settlement.
But he has run his share of trials over the years, and this experience serves his clients well if their case goes before a judge.
Your lawyer can book a medical specialist
It’s important to have solid, accurate medical information. “I can refer clients to specialists who do medical-legal assessments,” Farquhar said. “Sometimes a family doctor isn’t proactive in referring patients to specialists, and sometimes patients don’t know how to ask for a referral. I can book specialist appointments directly.”
Farquhar advises his clients not to settle their injury claims until they are 100 per cent recovered, or have been diagnosed with a chronic condition. He will work with clients for months or even years to obtain fair compensation for them.
And then, rather than presenting his clients a bill, he hands them a cheque.
“I love that,” he said. “After working to help clients recover from their injuries, the opportunity to hand them a settlement cheque is one of the joys of personal injury practice.”