If you have been injured in an accident and the injuries you sustained have resulted in hefty medical bills, caused you to lose income or hindered your ability to earn money in the future, you may consider contacting a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can help you to seek compensation from the person or people that caused you harm.
What to Consider Before Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
According to The National Law Review, there are several questions you should consider before taking the first step to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit.
How serious is your injury?
If an injury is minor and can be covered by an insurance claim, and you can handle the claim on your own, there may not be a need to hire a lawyer. On the other hand if you injury is more serious and causes you to require medical care past a few days, then you might consider the services of a personal injury lawyer. When your claims involve substantial medical expenses, or involve lost wages, this is where a personal injury lawyer can be valuable.
Do you believe that your injury was caused by someone else?
If your injury was caused by someone else through their negligence or by a malicious act, it is very important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Is an insurance company representative contacting you?
Insurance company adjusters and claims representatives contact you in order to reduce company losses. If you are contacted by an insurance company, you should tell them that you are contacting an attorney. Insurance adjusters ask questions designed to be harmful to your claim. You should not provide a recorded statement or sign releases without an attorney review. You should understand that adjusters contact you to minimize, or even avoid paying your claim. Remember, this is true even when you are dealing with your own insurance company.
Is the company refusing to pay or offering an unreasonably low amount?
Owen, Patterson & Owen, a Santa Clarita personal injury attorney, notes that insurance companies sometimes use tactics that include unreasonable delays in processing your claim, paying a lowball amount or even refusing to pay anything to you even though fault is not disputed. Your personal injury lawyer will work to seek the recovery that you should receive.
Are you comfortable with the law and the settlement process?
Personal injury law is complex. In order to receive an adequate settlement, your claim may require special knowledge or keen negotiation skills. This is especially true if you were harmed by a defective product, or through medical negligence. If you are not comfortable with the complexities of insurance, negotiations and the legal environment, hire an expert to help you navigate this complex environment appropriately fight for your claim.
Your personal injury attorney will be experienced with these cases, and is well-equipped to handle your claim. A personal injury lawyer can estimate the value of your case, as they understand the worth of all your economic and non-economic losses. Insurance companies do not include losses for things such as pain and suffering and loss of work. Your personal injury attorney will negotiate the recovery for both your tangible as well as your intangible losses.
Is the insurance company disputing the liability of its insured?
Even if your accident is clearly the fault of the other party, an insurance company may try to dispute who is at fault. If fault is being disputed in your accident, seek consultation with a personal injury attorney immediately. Your personal injury lawyer can help gather evidence to prove liability.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?
If you are still on the fence about hiring a personal injury attorney, here are some convincing reasons for you to take the next step.
Personal Injury Attorneys Help You Maintain Objectivity
When you get injured, it’s hard to remain calm and objective. Your emotions can make it difficult to make good decisions. A personal injury attorney provides you with another perspective and can help you view the situation in a new light.
Personal Injury Attorneys Have Experience
Personal injury lawyers have knowledge of the law, understand insurance companies and have experience cases like yours. This knowledge and experience is invaluable to ensure you receive the right outcome.
Personal Injury Attorneys Give You Time Savings
Your case may involve many hours of work. A personal injury attorney can get the information needed for your case and take care of all the bureaucracy. They can save you time by:
- Obtaining copies of documentation
- Reviewing case records
- Communicating back and forth with insurance companies
- Knowing who to contact
Personal Injury Attorneys Offer Alternative Solutions
If you are not offered a fair settlement, a personal injury attorney can help find alternative solutions. If you are faced with a lowball offer, you need a personal injury lawyer to seek further arbitration, mediation or even go to trial for you.
Personal Injury Attorneys Help You Obtain Higher Settlements
If you hire a personal injury attorney, it is statistically shown you will receive a higher settlement.
Personal Injury Attorneys Will Represent You in Trial
If your case goes to trial you will need a good, experienced personal injury attorney representing you.
No Fees Unless You Win
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis so no upfront payment is required from you. You won’t owe fees if your case does not win a settlement.
How Do I Take the First Step?
The first step in hiring a personal injury attorney is to choose the right firm and the right attorney to represent you. These are some tips for choosing the right attorney.
Prioritize Trial History
According to Richard, only 4% to 5% of personal injury cases in the U.S. go to trial, and the rest are settled out of court. Even though this is a relatively small number, be prepared. You should choose an attorney that is experienced in trial law and taking cases to court.
Examine Available Resources
What resources will your personal injury attorney have to navigate your case? Be sure your attorney has control of all the cases they’re handling and has staff to assist you when necessary. If they have staff and resources to help you, it is a better sign of experience and competency.
If you have questions about whether your injury is significant enough to seek counsel, call a personal injury attorney to request an initial consultation. The consultation should be free, and will offer you enough information to choose the right path, or the right personal injury attorney for your case.