How to Know When It’s Time to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
What to do when the unexpected happens
A slip and fall at the grocery store, a car accident, a motorcycle or bicycle accident, or even a wrongful death claim can happen when we least expect it. After an accident, how do you know when it’s appropriate to seek out a personal injury attorney? Making an informed decision is the answer. After you’ve taken the time to contemplate a few thought-provoking questions, you’ll have clarity on whether or not you should seek out a qualified personal injury attorney.
How serious is your injury?
Not all accidents may seem serious enough to involve a personal injury attorney. It’s important to understand that even if an accident seems minor at the time, pain related to that injury can occur much later, sometimes even years later. It is best to be seen and examined by a doctor after an accident. If the following has occurred or is scheduled to occur, you should have your case evaluated by a professional injury attorney:
• Physical therapy
• Cosmetic surgery
The value of your claim can increase significantly when you have professional legal representation for any injury you have suffered.
Who had the fault?
It is very important to consult an attorney quickly after an accident, especially if you believe your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party. The details and accuracy of a case can best be remembered and recorded soon after the event. Proving legal fault involves applying certain standards to proof that will be held in higher regard if the facts are collected sooner rather than later. In order to have a strong case, contacting a personal injury lawyer in a timely manner is key to a positive outcome.
Have you been contacted by an insurance company?
If a claims adjuster from an insurance company contacts you and starts asking for details about your injury, be careful what you say. If they ask about recorded statements, medical records, your account of the accident, releases, and other personal information, you should stop them by telling them you are contacting legal counsel. Insurance adjusters try to get you to make statements that are detrimental to your claim in order to reduce your losses. One of the tactics they sometimes use to minimize the amount they pay is to claim that your injury was pre-existing. Be sure to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney before speaking with a claims adjuster and they can offer guidance on how to handle your conversation.
Does the insurance company refuse to pay you?
Plain and simple, insurance companies sometimes use deceptive tactics to try to avoid paying claims. Some of the ways they try to rig a case may include unreasonably delaying the claim process, refusing to pay even if liability is not in dispute, or making offers that are unreasonably low despite the level of the injury. A personal injury lawyer can hold insurance companies that use bad faith tactics legally accountable for doing so. An experienced attorney will interact with the insurer on their behalf and can usually resolve claims quickly and without going to court.
The difficulties of handling your own claim.
If you decide to handle your own case, you will need to do your legal homework and have a solid understanding of injury claims, as well as the settlement process. Negotiating with insurance companies and claims adjusters may involve knowledge of both the law and case law. Some injury cases are very complicated and you may need the help of an expert to discover the evidence required to optimize your claim. You may need to prove an accident through some form of reconstruction, eyewitness investigation and recording, deciphering medical records, understanding physics, negotiating non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, and more.
If you are not comfortable doing these things, it is advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney can negotiate a much larger recovery for both your non-economic and more tangible losses.