If you’ve suffered severe or long-term injuries while on public or work property or you believe your injury was the fault of someone else, it could be a good idea to hire a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury cases are complicated and trying to handle a claim yourself could wind up getting you an extremely low pay-out as a nuisance claim paid by an insurance company just to make you go away.
Only 4-5% of personal injury claims go to trial. The rest are settled out of court. Of the cases that do go to court, 90% lose. A good personal injury lawyer can help you avoid going to trial and get you maximum compensation for your claim.
Keep reading for times it’s necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer and find out why it is advised over trying to represent yourself.
1. If an Injury Has Affected Your Ability to Work
If you’ve suffered a long-term injury that has caused you to miss work, and you believe someone else is at fault, the expertise of a personal injury lawyer will help to calculate the total amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Unless you have a law background yourself, you won’t be equipped to fully understand the implications of the injury and how it affects your income long-term.
You might end up missing out on available compensation without professional legal representation.
2. If You Believe Your Injury Was Someone Else’s Fault
The most common types of personal injury cases are motor vehicle accidents, work-related injuries, medical malpractice, and negligence.
If you believe you have been injured under any of these circumstances, and you have proof, it’s very likely you are entitled to compensation.
However, no personal injury case is as simple as it seems. Most insurance companies will do whatever they can do to deny a claim. This is where the expertise of a lawyer comes in.
3. If You May Have Been Partially At Fault
Especially in messy motor vehicle accidents where there is more than one injured party, you could be partially at fault for your own injuries, as well as the injuries of other involved parties.
In these cases, it is especially helpful to hire a personal injury lawyer, as they have the experience and expertise to protect you against counter-claims. They also understand how to preserve and present evidence.
4. If You’re Worried About Money
Trying to represent yourself could end up costing you more. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only collect fees if they win your case. There is usually no fee required up front.
If you try to handle your own case, not only is there a higher chance of losing, it can also end up costing you more time and money than it’s worth. Especially if there are counter-claims involved.
5. If Your Injuries Are Severe
Insurance companies assess injury cases based on the type of injury sustained, the amount paid in medical bills and total recovery time. In some cases, severe injuries can exceed the limits of the at-fault person’s insurance policy.
A personal injury lawyer knows how to navigate through the red tape of insurance policies and will work on your behalf to ensure you receive the total amount of compensation for costs incurred, even if it exceeds the policy.
6. If You Are Not Comfortable with The Legal Process
Most people have very little understanding of how the law actually works. While it might be tempting to try to avoid the costs of a lawyer when dealing with a personal injury claim, your lack of expertise could end up costing you much more.
A personal injury lawyer will bring years of experience to the table and will know how to negotiate and handle complex situations that almost definitely will arise during the claim process.
7. If an Insurance Company Has Agreed to Pay You a Low Amount
Often times when unrepresented people file a claim, the at-fault party’s insurance company will view the claim as unworthy of their time.
This is because they are assuming (often correctly) that a person without legal representation has little or no understanding of the law and won’t have the knowledge or resources to fight back.
These small claim payments are referred to as nuisance payments. It’s when an insurance company offers a ridiculously low amount as a pay-off to make the claim ‘go away’.
Hiring a lawyer will eliminate this risk altogether. Insurance companies respond a lot better to professional lawyers as they know a lawyer has the means to win.
8. If You’re Being Wrongfully Sued
If someone has filed a claim against you and you want to dispute it, a personal injury lawyer can save you a huge amount of time, headache and possibly money.
Disputing a case yourself, especially against someone who is represented by legal counsel will not end well.
Even if you know you are not at fault, disputing a claim is a long and arduous process and is best handled by a professional.
9. If an Insurance Company Refuses to Pay
If you’ve tried to handle a case yourself and the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to pay, this is the time to hire a personal injury lawyer.
Insurance companies will refuse to pay for any reason they can. If they are denying their client’s liability, you will have to enter into a complex appeal process that could end up in court.
A lawyer will know what evidence to provide and how to present it in a way that can protect you.
Other Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
They have experience that you do not. They know how to negotiate, investigate and present information in a way that will maximize the chances of winning your case.
You have nothing to lose by hiring a lawyer. Since most personal injury lawyers don’t take payment until the settlement is won, you won’t have to pay a penny if your case doesn’t win.
Do your research and choose a lawyer with experience in the specific area of your personal injury claim. Choose one who you can be open and honest with, and who has a track record of success.
If you don’t know where to start, visit these lawyers who have a proven high success rate for personal injury cases and work on a contingency basis.
20 to 50 Americans per year get severely injured in motor vehicle accidents alone. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be the difference between getting properly compensated and being left to deal with the aftermath of an injury yourself.
We hope this article cleared up any confusion around hiring a lawyer versus trying to handle a personal injury claim yourself. Visit our business blog for more information on how to find a good lawyer.
If you have been injured in an accident you may be considering a personal injury claim for damages to help pay for the costs related to medical care, lost wages, or repairs to material possessions. There are thousands of personal injury attorneys out there – how do you choose the one who is best suited to handle your claim? We’ve compiled a list of 6 things to keep in mind when choosing a personal injury attorney to represent you.
It may seem like an odd thing to consider when choosing a personal injury attorney to represent you in your quest for compensation. However, it is important to choose an attorney with whom you can be 100% open and honest. Failure to communicate openly with your attorney can lead to disaster. Most of the time, we tend to be open with people we are comfortable with.
If you are fearful of your attorney or don’t trust them, what are the chances of establishing transparency and good communication? The more comfortable you are with your personal injury attorney, the more successful your case will be.
A personal injury attorney’s record and experience are great indicators of whether they’ll be well-suited to handle your claim. While experience should by no means be the only factor you consider, it is helpful to gauge whether or not they are equipped to handle your claim. Attorneys with experience understand what to look for, which details can make or break a case, and how to best apply the facts of your specific case to general legal concepts.
New attorneys with little to no experience may have a general idea of how to approach a case, but may not have had the opportunity to really fine-tune their approach. Many times, however, new attorneys will practice under the supervision of older, more experienced attorneys, so it is important to take this into consideration.
Specialization Within Personal Injury
“Personal injury attorney” is a broad title that really captures a great number of areas of specialization. While many personal injury attorneys will be open to handling just about any “personal injury” case, others have specific areas of focus. For example, some attorneys may specialize in slip and fall/premises liability/negligence cases, others focus on medical malpractice claims, while others specialize in claims stemming from car/motorcycle/truck accidents.
While each of these attorneys may advertise him or herself as a personal injury attorney, his or her area of specialization is more specific. Finding an attorney whose specialty aligns with your accident can help to maximize recovery. Attorneys will be familiar with nuances of the specific area of law in which they generally focus.
They’ll Stake Their Reputation on It
Personal injury attorneys develop reputations with clients, adversaries, courts, experts, and just about everyone else they encounter on a daily basis. An attorney with a better reputation will be more likely to be successful in negotiating a better settlement for an injured client. To find the right personal injury attorney for your case, try getting recommendations from friends or family.
Technology and the internet have really expanded our ability to research and learn about personal injury attorneys in our local area(s). Try checking websites such as Avvo, Martindale, Super Lawyers, and Nolo to see what others have to say about your potential personal injury attorney.
Busy law offices can indicate a successful legal practice. However, if you have a seemingly minor personal injury claim that won’t generate much of a fee for the attorney you choose, your claim may not receive the attention it deserves if an attorney is overextended. Just because an attorney has a heavy client load does not necessarily mean that they will neglect your case. In many law offices, attorneys are able to assign legal tasks to paralegals or other attorneys in the office so that the caseload can be handled efficiently and effectively.
When deciding if an attorney is right for you, it is simply important to ask questions that will determine whether they have the requisite time to properly tend to your case. Fortunately, research about an attorney’s experience, reputation, and personality may help to shed some light on this ability.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they do not charge an up-front fee, but collect a percentage of your settlement or award at the end of your case. This allows injured clients to obtain necessary legal counsel without worrying about paying for unanticipated medical expenses, fixing a car or motorcycle, or dealing with lost wages due to missing work in addition to expensive legal fees. It is important, though, to ask personal injury attorneys for the exact percentage that they will take and whether this percentage covers court costs and fees.
Alternatively, some attorneys may request a small amount of money up-front to pay for filing fees, court costs, expert witnesses, and other expenses associated with a personal injury claim.
On April 9th of this year, shocking videos emerged of passenger Doctor David Dao, being dragged from his seat on board a United Airlines plane. In the video, passengers watch with horror as police grapple with Dao, before dragging him from his seat. In the background, other passengers plead the officers to stop. At one point, the statement ‘Look at what you’ve done to him’ can be heard in the background. The video went viral in no time at all, sparking outrage across the nation. It also prompted apologies from United CEO Oscar Munoz. Munoz claimed to be ‘disturbed’ by what had happened and offered a ‘deep’ apology to Dao and his family. The officers involved were less sympathetic. They gave statements under duress and claimed Dao caused his injuries. But, with Dao coming out of the experience with a concussion, broken nose and lost teeth, nobody’s sure what to believe. There’s no denying that Dao offers resistance in the video, but the force used still seems excessive. And, the pleas of other passengers doesn’t help their case. Is it any wonder that the world was up in arms about the situation?
Dao didn’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer to fight his case for him. But, though undisclosed, the payout he received may not have been as much as he was expecting. When you break the case down, Dao’s injuries aren’t long lasting, which makes a huge difference in a case of this sort. The best claim he could make were for his broken teeth. Again, though, the injury is only painful before dental treatment. In court, it isn’t considered a long-lasting problem.
Those in outrage after watching the video may find it hard to believe, but this is the reality of personal injury claims. If Dao did want to see any real payout, he might have had to wait until long-lasting effects of his concussion become apparent. In reality, the waiting game is often why injury cases take so long to resolve. It may explain why 95-96% of claimants settle out of court. This may, in part, be a patience issue. But, the risk with waiting to see any long-lasting damage is that you won’t get anything if nothing emerges. This is certainly what Dao realized. In fact, the public outrage was the only real reason United offered any payout at all. And, that amount would decrease with each day the story moved out of the public eye. In many ways, he made the right choice to settle when he did. And, the chances are he still received a significant amount. But, for those of us who watched events unfold with horror, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. Pictures later released showed blood flowing from the 69-year-old doctor’s mouth. And, his injuries indeed sound bad enough to warrant compensation. If nothing else, this is proof of how challenging the world of personal injury can be. Anyone who thinks these are easy cases to win can think again.