When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You might not need a personal injury lawyer to handle your injury case. However, you need to consult with an accident attorney before deciding how to proceed with your case.
A personal injury lawyer reviews your claim and explains your legal rights.
He answers your questions and provides information that you can use to decide how to proceed.
Depending on what you learn during your initial consultation, you might proceed without an attorney, or you might find that hiring a personal injury lawyer is in your best interest.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?
Having a personal injury lawyer on your side can benefit you in numerous ways. Ways that your accident attorney can help you include:
- Explain your legal rights and options for recovering money for your injury claim
- Protect you from bad faith insurance tactics
- Help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your claim
- Investigate your accident case and gather evidence to prove fault and liability
- Identify the parties responsible for your injuries
- File insurance claims and handle all communication with the insurance provider
- Retain experts to assist with the case
- Help you document your damages
- Calculate the maximum value for your personal injury claim
- Negotiate a fair settlement for your injury claim
- Negotiate with medical providers and health insurance providers to lower medical liens and subrogation claims
- File a personal injury lawsuit, if necessary
If you are still unsure whether you need to hire an Atlanta personal injury lawyer to handle your case, talk with a lawyer. Make sure you have all the facts before making any decisions.
Five Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
In addition to the reasons for hiring an accident lawyer listed above, five situations strongly indicate you need to retain legal counsel before proceeding with your personal injury claim.
1. You Sustained Severe Injuries
Cases involving severe injuries are more complicated for a variety of reasons.
When a victim sustains a severe injury, the financial damages are higher.
Carefully documenting these damages helps ensure that you receive reimbursement for your lost income, medical bills, and other financial losses from a car accident, construction accident, or medical malpractice claim.
An attorney fights for compensation for permanent impairments and disabilities, including future damages caused by these conditions. Expert witnesses might be necessary to prove that the accident caused permanent impairment and to calculate the value of future damages.
2. The Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith
An insurance company for the at-fault party should act in good faith to resolve a personal injury claim. However, some insurance companies engage in bad faith insurance practices to avoid liability for a claim.
Examples of bad faith insurance practices include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to investigate a claim
- Causing unnecessary delays
- Providing misleading information
- Requiring unnecessary and cumbersome documentation
- Denying to pay a valid claim
- Changing the terms of the policy
- Using overly aggressive methods to pressure victims to accept an unfair settlement offer
If the insurance company acts in bad faith, you could have an additional claim against the insurance company separate from the personal injury claim. It is usually in your best interest to talk with a lawyer before discussing the accident or your injury with an insurance company.
3. The Insurance Company or Other Party Alleges That You Contributed to the Cause of the Accident
Another common tactic used by insurance companies and defense lawyers is to blame the victim for the cause of the injury. For example, the insurance company might claim that the fact you were texting while walking contributed to the cause of your pedestrian accident.
The fact that you were not paying attention puts some of the blame on you for the cause of your injuries.
If you contributed to the cause of your injury, your compensation could be reduced under Georgia’s comparative fault laws.
Suppose a jury finds that your percentage of fault for the pedestrian accident was 30 percent. The insurance company only needs to pay 70 percent of that award.
Whenever an insurance provider or other party claims that your actions contributed to the reason you were injured, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. Do not discuss the claim with anyone until you talk with a lawyer. Your statements and comments could be used during a trial to convince the jury you were partially at fault.
4. You Do Not Know the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim
When you are injured because of another party’s wrongdoing or negligence, you could receive compensation for damages. Damages include your financial losses, pain, and suffering. However, calculating a value for your personal injury claim could be challenging if you are not familiar with personal injury laws.
Economic damages include the financial losses caused by the accident and your injury. Examples of financial losses include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses
- Help with household chores
- Personal care
- In-home health care
The value of economic damages is the total of all bills and financial losses. However, the insurance company could argue that some of the expenses were not reasonable or necessary. It may deny some expenses as not being related to the accident.
Valuing pain and suffering is much more difficult. How do you place a price on someone’s physical, emotional, and mental suffering? How can you value the loss of quality of life or the impact of sustaining a permanent impairment?
Several factors impact the value of pain and suffering damages. There are also several ways of calculating the value of pain and suffering damages. A personal injury lawyer understands how to use the facts of the case to maximize the value of pain and suffering damages.
5. The Case Involves Complicated Areas of Law
Some personal injury cases involve complex areas of law. They might also involve multiple parties or government entities.
These types of injury cases benefit from the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
For example, a product liability claim requires expert testimony to prove that the product was defective, who is responsible for the defect, and the defect caused your injury. The case might involve numerous parties and complicated liability laws.
Another example is a case involving a government entity. These cases have different rules and laws. Suing the government is a huge undertaking that requires assistance from an accident lawyer who understands the problems related to suing the government.
Cases involving multiple parties, such as a commercial vehicle accident, also have challenging aspects. Proving how each party is liable for your injuries and damages might require multiple experts and investigators, as well as months of investigation.
Act Now to Avoid Losing Your Legal Rights
Do not wait too long to contact a personal injury lawyer about your case. The statutes of limitations set deadlines for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Missing the deadline means you lose your right to a judicial remedy for your dispute.
Talk with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so it doesn’t hurt to talk with a lawyer. In most cases, talking with a lawyer is very beneficial.