If you’ve been hurt in a personal injury accident and have decided to file a claim against an individual or company, you may be wondering if you can handle the process without hiring a lawyer.
While some people may choose to try and handle a case on their own, here’s how to know when you need a personal injury lawyer.
Your Claim Starts to Get Too Complicated
Even if you handled all the initial paperwork and filed the lawsuit on your own, it’s okay to seek help from an attorney at any point in the process.
Typically, if there are too many technicalities or legal complexities, you may have a difficult time working through the paperwork and next steps on your own.
In another instance, if your injuries are severe or you have suffered a permanent disability, your case is more valuable and there is a good chance you can recover a greater amount of money than you think. Having a personal injury lawyer to handle your case in this instance may allow you to maximize your compensation (even after fees) compared to the amount you would recover on your own.
When your case starts to get complicated or stressful, it’s time to consider hiring an attorney.
The Insurance Company Will Not Make a Fair Settlement Offer
If you’ve successfully handled all the paperwork and gotten to the point of negotiating with the insurance company, you may still need a lawyer if they refuse to make a fair settlement offer. Insurance companies may first try to deny that their insured was at fault in any way, hoping you will accept the response and drop your claim.
If you continue to insist you were injured due to the negligence of their client, they may come around and offer you a settlement amount, but if they refuse to budge from their position, you may need help from a lawyer to show you are not going to accept anything less than fair compensation.
Insurance companies may also insist that the circumstances of your accident are not covered by the insurance policy. You should request a copy of the policy and read through it carefully to see if they are right. Even if there is wording that supports their statements, most insurance policy provisions can be interpreted in different ways.
Hiring an attorney at this point may be a wise decision as there may still be a way to force the insurance company to cover the accident due to technicalities in wording.
When You Need Advice on a Specific Rule
In certain cases, your right to collect compensation from the insurance company may depend on whether an employee was acting within his or her job duties during the time of the accident. Or, if you tripped over a cracked sidewalk, the question of who bear the responsibility might involve rules about water damage, tree roots, etc.
If you are unsure who is to blame for your injuries, consult a lawyer to clear up your questions.
When Government Immunity Applies
The right to sue any government entity, like a town, city, county, or state – for an accident caused is controlled by a specific set of laws in each state. Known as “sovereign immunity”, the rules are different than the standard laws relating to when you can sue the government because of an accident and require special procedures.
Due to the complexities of these rules, you will probably have a higher chance of success with an attorney by your side.