Why You May Need a Personal Injury Lawyer After An Accident
If you’ve been in an accident, there are a number of steps that you’ll need to take to preserve your rights and promote your wellbeing.
First, it’s absolutely critical that you seek medical attention in a timely manner. With the aid of a medical professional, you’ll be able to identify and treat your injuries.
Secondly, you’ll want to hire a personal injury lawyer. This lawyer will assist you throughout the litigation process, from initial settlement negotiations to trial complications. Personal injury lawyers advocate on your behalf, and are always looking to maximize your compensation. After all, they work on a contingency basis. The more money they can secure for you, the more they get paid, too.
Unfortunately, many plaintiffs don’t understand the value of a personal injury lawyer and their role in the litigation process. Let’s take a moment to explore some basic issues and concerns.
What Exactly Is A Personal Injury Lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer is an attorney who specializes in helping clients who have been physically harmed in an accident. They handle a wide range of cases, from car, truck, and pedestrian collisions to slip-and-fall scenarios.
Personal injury lawyers, same as other attorneys, work on behalf of their client, furthering their interests. In the personal injury context, this means maximizing their damage recovery (i.e., the compensation they can secure). Compensation may involve claims made on the basis of medical expenses, wage loss, property loss, pain and suffering, and more.
What Should I Do If I Haven’t Been Injured?
Do keep in mind that, after an accident, you may have suffered injuries that are not “obvious.” For example, if you get into a car accident, then you may have suffered from whiplash injuries. The harm caused by these injuries is not always noticeable (until many days later).
Given the range of injuries that you can suffer in an accident, it’s important to see a doctor after you’ve been involved in an accident. This ensures that all possible injuries are identified and medically documented, improving the likelihood that you’ll win an eventual lawsuit.
I Already Have Insurance — Why Do I Need A Personal Injury Lawyer?
It’s important to understand that insurance companies are not actually in the business of helping you after an accident. They are there to protect their own interests. Simply put: where the insurance company makes money is in you being unable to assert a claim (and thereby secure compensation). If you have a legitimate claim, and you accept a reduced payment, or if you simply become frustrated and choose not to pursue a claim, then the insurance company has “won.” They’ve maximized their profits at your expense.
As such, hiring a personal injury lawyer is the right move. Your lawyer will advocate on your behalf, pushing the insurance company to payout fairly (and in accordance with your policy). Without a personal injury lawyer, the insurance company will make various attempts to undermine your claim and payout as little as possible.
Can’t I Handle My Claim On My Own?
While there’s nothing stopping you, legally, from handling a claim on your own, the lack of legal training could be problematic. First, you may not be able to identify all the strategic possibilities, and the lack of familiarity with legal processes may sap more of your time and energy, preventing you from effectively litigating the details of the case. By comparison, an experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to identify potential avenues for recovery and understands what is necessary to maximize the damages. In other words, a lawyer knows how to “work” the case to increase the compensation.
It’s worth noting that most people have never been through a serious accident and have no idea how to settle or resolve a claim. Studies have shown that someone who hired a personal injury lawyer will gain on average three times the amount of money that they would have received if they handled the case on their own.
When Should I Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve suffered an accident-related injury, it’s important that you hire an attorney as soon as possible after the incident.
Your attorney will act on your behalf in a number of different ways. These include:
- Gathering and preserving evidence
- Identifying eyewitnesses
- Speaking with insurers and opposing counsel
- Coordinating with investigators
- Negotiating a potential settlement
- Taking a case through the litigation process
- And more
Do bear in mind that every state has a “statute of limitations” applicable to your personal injury claims.
The statute of limitations acts as a deadline. After the deadline passes, you can no longer pursue compensation under the law. A skilled PI attorney keep your case moving forward in a timely manner so that the statute of limitations doesn’t run out before filing your claims.
It’s in your best interest to hire a personal injury lawyer if your case is complicated by any factors: if you’ve suffered long-term or permanently disabling injuries, if multiple parties were involved in the accident, or if your insurance company is hostile and therefore unwilling to pay. Before you speak with your insurance company, it’s a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer first. This guarantees that you are not admitting or agreeing to something that legally binds you from seeking the maximum amount of damages.
Why Should I Act Quickly?
Immediately after an accident occurs, plaintiffs are at their most vulnerable. They need guidance. Failure to seek adequate medical care, for example, could undermine their injury claims. Alternatively, if they disclose certain information to police, or to insurance companies, or to the defendant, then that could undermine their claims too.
You also need to have an advocate who can collect the critical physical evidence shortly after an accident occurs – accurate documentation of the accident and the vehicles involved, eyewitness information, photographs and video footage, etc. For example, if your accident took place on a company’s property, there may be surveillance video that captured the accident and could further your case.
Getting in touch with a qualified attorney as soon as possible is helpful in myriad ways.
What Can A Personal Injury Lawyer Do With A Team Of Experts?
Personal injury attorneys usually work with a team of experts to determine liability and damages.
Experts help lawyers look at what caused the accident at-issue, examine prior and subsequent injuries, and examine wage-related concerns (among other factors). They then use this information to calculate the damages. With this damages amount in hand, the lawyer can put together a case for which a settlement demand can be made.
How Do I Know If I’m Hiring A Good Personal Injury Lawyer?
It can be difficult to determine whether you’re hiring an effective personal injury lawyer. After all, there are a lot of lawyers out there — and a lot of advertisements. Every firm is on the street corner, shouting about their accolades.
Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, our network includes attorneys from many different firms, but they’re all experienced attorneys who know how to fight for their clients. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you obtain the best possible results.
What If I Don’t Have The Money To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney?
Most personal injury representation should cost no money upfront. A good personal injury lawyer will sit down with you, take a look at the facts of the case, and explain your rights and potential damages at no cost. You’re also under no obligation to become a client.
This is known as a “free consultation.”
Even if you choose to move forward with a personal injury lawyer, you pay nothing upfront. Personal injury attorneys are hired on a “contingency” fee basis, meaning that they get paid nothing until and unless you collect a settlement or receive damages in a case verdict — once you win your case, the lawyer takes a percentage of the total amount earned. Your lawyer will foot all the out-of-pocket costs of litigation, from your medical expenses to hiring experts to investigate the facts.
Because your lawyer only gets paid if you win, and because their earnings are based on how much you’re able to secure, they are incentivized to work efficiently and to maximize your total recovery to the degree possible.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you should look to hire a personal injury lawyer. It’s the best way of maximizing your chances of securing compensation so that you can continue to live a quality life.