When Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Over 700,000 personal injury claims are filed in the United States each year. They include accidents caused by motor vehicles, medical mistakes, and unsafe work environments. Injuries from tripping and falling are also among these claims.
Some of the people involved in these lawsuits hire legal counsel. Others choose to represent themselves. This is true even though car-accident settlements are over three times larger for individuals with legal help.
It seems obvious, then, that you should hire a lawyer in these cases. But in fact, if you have a minor injury, or the case is clear-cut, you may not need one.
What are the situations in which you should hire a personal injury attorney? What are the factors leading to that decision? Read on to find out!
Hire A Personal Injury Attorney When Your Injury Was Someone Else's Fault
The first reason for hiring a personal injury attorney is pretty basic but also important. If you were injured and you believe your injury resulted from someone else's negligence, then you should speak with an attorney.
To win a personal injury lawsuit, you need to prove legal fault. In other words, you can't receive compensation simply because you were injured.
Someone else has to be legally liable for your injury, and you have to have enough quality evidence to prove that they are. The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the better.
They will know what evidence you need to win your case, and they will help you collect and maintain it as soon as possible. This is especially important if there is a statute of limitations involved.
Your Injury is Severe
If your injuries are minor and not affecting the way you live, it is unlikely you will pursue a lawsuit. But the following injuries are completely different:
- they cause you pain
- they affect your day-to-day life for more than a few days
- they require extended medical care
In those situations, you would want to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
This is especially true if you sustained permanent disabilities or need long-term care. Cases like those require expert legal skills as well as thorough knowledge of the medical system.
If you have a debilitating injury resulting from negligence, then you would want your attorney to seek compensation for:
- your medical bills
- lost wages
- pain and suffering
- other negative impacts on your life resulting from the accident
It isn't easy to calculate how much your injuries are worth. It's even harder to try to figure out how they will impact your wages or earnings over time. To get the largest compensation possible, you will need an expert personal injury attorney. They can calculate these numbers and go to battle for you.
Your Insurance Company is Calling You
Let's say you were in an accident, you got hurt, and you filed a claim with your insurance company. Everything seems okay until they start calling you.
Representatives begin asking you to make recorded statements and to verify your story. They want to access your medical records and have you sign releases.
What's going on here?
In all likelihood, the insurance company believes you have a valid claim. But they are trying to get you either to make statements or provide documents that will undermine your claim. In this way, they can provide you with less compensation or deny it altogether.
If you have filed a claim with your insurance company, and they begin calling you, then you need to contact an attorney. It is important not to provide the insurance company with any information until you have spoken with your attorney.
Better yet, let your personal injury attorney negotiate with the insurance company. They are trained to do so and will act as your advocate.
They're Not Offering You Fair Compensation
As seen above, insurance companies try to find information about you to reject your claim. They play other dirty tricks too, all in an effort to pay out as little money as possible.
Some other tactics that insurance companies use are:
- delaying the claims process unreasonably
- refusing to pay (even when liability has been proven)
- making ridiculously low compensation offers
The average person finds these tactics maddening and disheartening. And rightly so. But a personal injury attorney is familiar with them already. They know how to push through all this red tape so you get the compensation you deserve.
What If It's Partly Your Fault?
Sometimes there are accidents involving many parties. These cases can be quite complicated. They often require expert help.
In some of these cases, there are different groups of individuals involved. No one, however, is sure who is at-fault. Liability is not clear, and claims are going back and forth trying to ascertain who is responsible. If you are involved in a case like this, you want your attorney to make sure you are not held negligible.
There are other kinds of cases with many different claimants. They were all injured in the accident, and compensation will have to be divided up among them. In this instance, your attorney will need to make sure you get your fair share of the settlement.
Finally, it's possible that you are partly, but not completely, responsible for the accident. But since you were also injured, you don't want your settlement offer decreased or taken away completely. Your attorney will have to advocate for you.
Cases like these all require an experienced personal injury attorney. They have to know which arguments to make to ensure you receive your fair compensation. You will also want them to prove the accident was not entirely your fault.
Your Personal Injury Attorney: Conclusion
All the examples above show complex personal injury cases that require an attorney. The average person could not represent themselves in any of these instances. This is especially true if they want to receive the full compensation they deserve.
If you were involved in an accident while at work or because of someone else's negligence, feel free to contact us to discuss a possible case. We don't ask for any fees until you collect your settlement. We would love to speak with you.
This site is intended to provide general information about our firm. You should never assume the specific or general information applies to your case without first consulting with an experienced attorney. Sending an e-mail or requesting an initial consultation does not create an attorney-client relationship. Visitors to this site are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly for specific advice.
If your claim(s) are not timely filed you may be prevented from pursuing your claim. If you have already filed your claim, and you do not actively pursue your claim(s) it may be dismissed.