Maybe you were recently involved in a motor vehicle collision, slipped on some ice in a mall parking lot, fell down the stairs at the library, were bitten by someone’s dog in the public park, or severely burned with a hair styling tool or kitchen gadget. Whatever the circumstances of your injury, you now wonder if you need a personal injury lawyer. After any personal injury, you should always discuss the situation and your injury with a well-versed personal injury attorney.
Why You Should Discuss Your Injury with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer?
Even if you think you don’t have a claim or nothing can be done about what happened, it’s always in your best interest to present your case to a knowledgeable lawyer.
Free Initial Consultations
Since most personal injury attorneys provide free initial consultations, you have nothing to lose. But, on the other hand, by not reviewing your potential case with an attorney, you stand to lose compensation that the at-fault party or their insurance company might owe you.
In addition to no-obligation initial case reviews, most personal injury attorneys work on contingency fees. With such an arrangement, you pay nothing upfront to the attorney. When they obtain compensation on your behalf either through a negotiated settlement or court award, they take their fees from that. You owe them nothing if they don’t secure a financial recovery for you.
If a personal injury lawyer working on contingency fees believes you have a case that deserves compensation, they are likely correct. They won't volunteer to work on your case without payment if they don't think they can win. If you suffer an injury in an accident or through negligence or wrongdoing, you may have a valid claim that you should pursue with help from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney.
When you meet with an attorney, they will be considering if they can prove negligence in your case, which includes establishing these four elements:
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care
- Breach of duty: They violated that duty
- Injuries: As a direct result of their violation, you sustained injuries
- Damages: Your injuries resulted in damages for which you can be monetarily compensated, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and income, or pain and suffering
The Statute of Limitations
Every state has a statute of limitations that applies to personal injury cases. This statute is a specific deadline to file a civil personal injury case in court. In most states, it is between one and four years after the date of the initial injury. If you don’t file a case within this timeframe, the court will most likely dismiss your case due to the expired deadline.
You don’t want to decide not to meet with a personal injury attorney now and then change your mind in a year or two. By then, it can be too late to file a case or not give an attorney enough time to work on your case to file on time. You don’t want to regret not learning more about your legal rights and options when the time was right.
It’s also essential to note that claims against government entities often have different filing deadlines. For example, some require that you provide notice of your intent to file a lawsuit within six months of sustaining an injury. Your attorney will investigate your claim, and if it is against a government entity, they will ensure that you take all the proper steps.
Other factors can also change the statute of limitations. For instance, if the injured party is a minor child or the at-fault party leaves the state. Your attorney can help clear up any confusion and tell you the deadline to file a personal injury claim against the person or party who injured you.
Reasons You Might Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
An effective personal injury attorney seeks compensation on your behalf for your injuries. They also protect your best interests against aggressive insurance carriers and large corporations who want more than anything to avoid providing you with fair compensation for your damages.
No two personal injury cases are the same. However, some circumstances indicate you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer more than others. Here are several circumstances that indicate you must speak with a seasoned personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible.
You Sustained a Traumatic Injury or Permanent Disability
Layers and courts don’t handle personal injury claims involving traumatic or catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities like lesser types of claims. Suppose you sustain a disabling injury because of a defective product requiring ongoing medical care, and you cannot work for the rest of your life. In that case, your disability or impairment will cause you to incur future or ongoing damages.
Your future damages can amount to millions of dollars over your lifetime, depending on how old you are at the time of your injury, the type of disability you sustain, and other factors. An experienced personal injury attorney can hire medical, financial, and economic experts to help assign a value to your future damages, ensuring you receive the maximum amount available for your traumatic or disabling injury claim.
Traumatic injury claims frequently mean high-dollar settlements. As such, insurance companies aggressively fight to decrease the value of these cases to avoid monetary losses for their company. A skilled personal injury attorney who understands how to document your economic damages and maximize the value of pain and suffering damages increases the chances of recovering the compensation you are entitled to receive after such an injury.
The Other Party or Their Insurance Company Disputes Liability
In any personal injury claim, the injured party must prove that the other party’s negligence, errors, or wrongdoing caused their injuries. For instance, if you can’t prove that the driver caused your pedestrian accident, you won’t recover monetary compensation for your damages and injuries. If the other party or their attorney disputes their liability, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately if you haven’t already.
Your attorney will perform a thorough investigation to determine how your injuries happened and who is legally responsible. They will also collect evidence and craft a legal strategy for proving the other party’s liability.
Several Parties Contributed
If multiple parties are involved in a personal injury case, you will benefit from having a personal injury attorney on your side. Perhaps there are multiple potentially liable parties and multiple injured parties. Either way, you need strong representation to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Claims that generally involve numerous parties include:
- Medical malpractice
- Construction accidents
- Multi-vehicle accidents
- Product liability claims
Personal injury attorneys have the experience to handle the issues in cases involving multiple parties. If multiple parties argue about who caused your injuries, your lawyer will develop a case that protects you and ensures you get the maximum compensation from all available sources. Multiple parties can mean more compensation for your damages, but it can also mean a lengthy and complex legal process for which you need an experienced attorney.
There may be limited insurance coverage to pay for everyone’s injuries if there are multiple injured parties. In such a situation, your attorney can ensure that you are represented and receive what is fairly yours.
The Claim Involves a Government Entity
Pursuing a personal injury claim against the government or one of its entities is much more complex than a typical injury claim. Unfortunately, several laws protect governments from liability in many cases. However, there are exceptions that most laypeople aren’t aware of, but experienced attorneys know about and aren’t afraid to rely on.
As you may recall, the time to file a personal injury claim against the government is shorter than the deadline for filing claims against other parties outside the government. Whenever an injury claim involves a government entity, it’s best to have a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer representing the claim.
An Insurance Company Acts in Bad Faith
Unfortunately, the insurance carrier for the party who caused your injuries isn’t interested in compensating you for your injuries and damages or compensating you for them fairly. Whenever possible, the insurer will much prefer to get out of paying you anything for your claim. To do this, some insurance companies act in bad faith when dealing with their claimants.
One way an insurance company might act in bad faith is to attempt to delay your claim so that the statute of limitations runs out, causing you to lose your right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Other ways that insurers can act in bad faith include:
- Failing to investigate a claim
- Rejecting a valid claim
- Intentionally misleading a victim about their legal rights
- Requesting needless and burdensome paperwork to process a claim
- Misrepresenting the terms of their insurance policy with the insured
These are only a few examples, as there are many ways that an insurance carrier can act in bad faith. Seasoned personal injury attorneys are well-versed in these various insurance tactics and fully understand the laws related to personal injury claims. You should know that insurance companies are less likely to act in bad faith when there is a personal injury attorney representing an accident victim.
Suppose an insurer refuses to negotiate and offer a full and fair settlement for your injury claim. In that case, your lawyer can proceed with a personal injury lawsuit if you want them to. Sometimes, the mere threat of a lawsuit is enough to encourage the insurance carrier and other parties to agree to a fair and reasonable injury settlement.
You Want to Maximize Your Compensation
Undoubtedly, you deserve financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages after a personal injury. With the help of an attorney, you can be sure you maximize that compensation. Some studies show that personal injury victims receive two to three times as much compensation when represented by an attorney compared to those who manage their claim independently.
Your lawyer knows what your claim is worth and isn’t afraid to negotiate with the insurance companies involved to get you what you deserve. Insurance companies don’t like it when claimants hire attorneys because they know it means they are well informed and will likely receive more compensation than if they didn’t have legal representation.
With a lawyer on your side, you won’t make the mistake of settling for less than your claim is worth. Your attorney will also prepare you for the chance your claim needs to go to court to obtain appropriate compensation.
You Want to Focus on Healing from Your Injuries
You cannot manage your personal injury claim alone if you are healing from physical and emotional injuries after an accident. Hiring an attorney gives you the time and space necessary to focus on your treatment and healing.
During this time, you can let your attorney be the one to focus on:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Gathering evidence
- Investigating how your injury occurred
- Obtaining medical records
- Handling the insurance companies
- Negotiating a settlement
- Filing legal paperwork
- Ensuring any applicable deadlines are met
- Hiring expert medical and financial witnesses
- Preparing for trial (if one becomes necessary)
Discuss Your Injury Claim with a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer Today
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burdened after sustaining a personal injury. You likely don’t feel well physically, and now you have the fallout from the accident. The good news is that with a skilled personal injury attorney on your side, you don’t need to worry. Your attorney can manage your claim from start to finish, ensuring that you receive the maximum award possible for your injuries.
Contact us today to learn more about how an injury law firm helps personal injury victims like yourself. You have nothing to lose by hiring an experienced attorney for your injury claim, so never wait to begin the legal process.