If you or a loved one suffered an injury in an automobile accident, you may wonder why you should hire a personal injury lawyer. If you slipped and fell in a grocery store with apparently minor injuries, for example, why would you pay a lawyer if you do not want to file a lawsuit?
While the reason for your accident may seem obvious, and you feel you have no responsibility for the incident, you could nonetheless find yourself up against some pretty tricky defense lawyers and insurance claim adjusters.
This is where a personal injury advocate is an invaluable ally.
How much will a personal injury attorney cost?
First off, realize that when you contact a personal injury lawyer, they should offer you a free initial consultation. This gives them a chance to review your accident and assess whether they feel you have a valid claim. That is important, and not only to you.
Personal injury attorneys usually work on contingency fees. In other words, they don’t get paid until you do. Their fee is a percentage of your compensation, agreed upon before you sign a contract. If they do not win your case by securing your compensation, they earn nothing.
When an attorney accepts your case, you should feel confident in them.
Is hiring a personal injury attorney worth the expense?
If no one suffered injuries in, say, a car accident, and it is only a matter of property damage, you may be able to let your insurance company handle it. This is especially true if there is a police report indicating someone else was at fault.
In this case, you may not want to enlist the help of a lawyer, and they may not take your case anyway if the damages at stake are very small. Here you are looking to receive compensation for the damages to your car.
But if you suffered a significant injury accident, an experienced personal injury attorney is well worth the expense. You likely have medical bills piling up, you may be out of work, could have suffered lifelong injuries, and you hurt, physically and emotionally. If this is the case, no matter the type of accident causing your injuries, you need to hire a knowledgeable local personal injury lawyer.
Other reasons you should seek the advice of an attorney
Even if you weren’t seriously hurt, you may want to call upon a personal injury lawyer if:
- There were multiple parties involved
- You are not sure who was at fault
- Your insurance claim has been delayed or denied
When should you contact an attorney?
Once you have received medical attention for your injuries, you should contact a personal injury lawyer with experience in the type of accident you experienced. If you were in a car accident, you should also notify your insurance company.
Personal injury law involves several types of different cases. From vehicle accidents to nursing home abuse, medical malpractice to wrongful death, personal injury attorneys are focused on incidents and accidents that harmed you.
While car accidents are by far the most common type of personal injury lawsuits filed, most lawyers in this form of practice have seen a wide variety of different forms of accidents, neglect, and abuse cases.
When you call to set your initial consultation be sure to ask for an attorney who has dealt with similar cases. If you are still mending in the hospital or at home, do not let that hold you back from making the call. Most local personal injury lawyers will meet with you in your home or the hospital.
What an experienced personal injury lawyer can do for you
After your free consultation, and when the attorney agrees to take your case, your chances of securing compensation have significantly increased by entrusting your claim to an experienced advocate. So have the chances of receiving a higher payout. Why?
When hiring a lawyer with experience in similar cases, you are hiring a professional who has litigated and negotiated the same type of claim countless times, and likely shares a deep understanding of the courts and the insurance system. That experience is invaluable for not only winning your case but increasing the value of the outcome.
What your lawyer will need
When you first meet with your personal injury lawyer, it can be helpful to provide, if possible:
- The date, time, and surroundings of the accident
- Your recollection of the accident
- Copies of medical reports following the accident
- Copies of your medical bills
- Copies of estimates or bills for property damage repair
- A copy of the police report, if applicable
- Names and numbers of anyone else involved
- Witness contact information
Providing this information will give your attorney better insight into your accident. He or she will then be ready to investigate your accident independently to gather further evidence and determine proper damages to pursue.
How do I find the best personal injury lawyer for me?
Just like all cases are different, so are attorneys and their experiences.
Some things you will want from a lawyer for your case may include:
- Looking for a personal injury lawyer who only deals with cases on the plaintiff’s behalf. You may not need or desire a lawyer who feels he or she can handle every type of case for a plaintiff or a defendant.
- You want someone in your community with knowledge of state and local laws involving your case.
- Do the attorney and firm have good testimonials and reviews from their clients? Also, ask about awards they have received for their clients in similar cases.
- Does the lawyer have trial experience? Most personal injury cases do settle before they reach the courtroom, however, you need an attorney who has the experience to litigate and is not afraid to challenge the defense in court should you not receive a proper settlement offer.
Is there a time limit in which to file a personal injury lawsuit?
Yes. Each state has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, ranging between one and five years. In Virginia, for example, you have up to two years from the date of an accident to file a claim.
When should you call a lawyer?
If you are reading this following a personal injury, the best time is now. An attorney can offer you a no-obligation consultation concerning your accident, and help you understand the best way to move forward.