“Many times responsibility for the cause of an automobile accident is reasonably clear, leaving only the question of damages caused by the accident to be resolved. For instance, consider the clear liability rear end collision.  Typically, after a preliminary investigation to verify the facts, the responsible party’s representative, usually an insurance company, accepts liability and initiates a process to resolve the claim. How such claims are handled varies from company to company but generally falls into two very different approaches. One scenario finds the insurance company difficult to reach, and generally dismissive of the problem created by their insured’s conduct. Frustration sets in and the victim of their insured’s negligence is faced with the choice of fighting that system, or seeking legal help to get fair treatment.

The second approach taken by some insurance companies is initially more helpful, and gets the clear cut issues resolved relatively quickly. Property damage, usually a fairly cut and dry issue,  is resolved quickly. The insurance company seems to be cooperative and reasonable, often lulling the victim into believing that all aspects of the case will be treated fairly. In fact, one well known insurance company has directed such an approach by its claims adjusters with the stated goal of keeping the victim from seeking legal help with the claim, noting that it is well established that the insurance company will wind up paying much more on the claim if an attorney becomes involved.    
This leads us to the area of contention in our rear end collision example: Personal Injury. Damages associated with personal injury fall into two distinct categories: Economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are all those damages that can be established by a paper trail, like medical bills, pay stubs reflecting time lost from work, and in serious injury cases things like impairment of future earnings.
Non-economic damages are so-called general damages associated with the injury, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and a reduced quality of life. Often they are subjective and require the help of an experienced advocate to be properly presented so that they can be fairly compensated.

Regardless of the approach initially taken by the responsible party’s representative, it is in the injured party’s best interest to seek counsel regarding their claim as soon as possible, learn about their rights and the benefits of having legal help with their claim.

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