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Do you need a personal injury lawyer? Oftentimes, people handle simple claims themselves. This saves them the trouble of legal fees. However, serious injury claims tend to benefit from the experience and expertise of a practiced lawyer.
Hire An Attorney Or Handle Your Own Claim?
“Personal injury” is an umbrella that covers a broad spectrum of situations and accidents. People sustain injuries in car accidents, falling on someone else’s property, or in an attack by a neighbor’s dog. Luckily, when there’s negligence involved, it’s possible to hold someone liable for your injuries.
Generally speaking, the level of your injury plays the biggest role in how you process your claim. In some instances, people handle small claims on their own. They have two options to do so.
- Small claims court
- Insurance claims
In more severe cases, there’s a benefit to seeking out the advice of a qualified attorney who specializes in your type of claim. Again, it’s important to consider the severity of the accident. You may also want to explore the legal elements of similar claims.
When To Manage Your Own Claim
Occasionally, victims attempt to manage their own personal injury claims only to complicate the process later when they hire an attorney. That’s why it’s crucial to understand your capacity and what’s at stake in the event you mishandle an aspect of your claim.
When you don’t feel confident about the process or how to handle your claim, it’s a good idea to schedule a free case evaluation with a local attorney. This helps you understand what it takes for your particular case.
Still, there are some occasions when claims are relatively simple and straightforward. Here are a few examples where you may feel better about handling the claim yourself.
- You were in a car accident with minor or no injuries.
- You live in a no-fault state.
- You already received an offer at the maximum of your settlement.
- You feel confident and understand the negotiation process.
- You feel comfortable with legal research.
When To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
When you want to file a claim, whether it’s against someone else’s insurance provider or yours, it’s important to remember that they have a team of attorneys fighting for them. These lawyers spend years studying the particulars of laws and the legal process. This allows them to gather the knowledge necessary to represent their clients.
When the insurance company has a legal team, it’s a good idea to find your own. Here are a few instances when legal representation is especially helpful.
- Your injuries aren’t as minor as you thought.
- The insurance companies lowball the settlement offers.
- You don’t know the full spectrum of damages available.
- You don’t understand the legal process or the laws involved.
- You feel overwhelmed by your injuries, recovery, and expenses.
Can I Afford A Lawyer?
One of the main reasons that prevent people from hiring a lawyer is the fear of legal fees. However, it’s important to understand that many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. What does that mean?
It means that your attorney earns nothing unless they win your case or reach a settlement on your behalf. With a contingency agreement, the lawyer collects compensation directly from the settlement or court award.
Oftentimes, this agreement is structured based on a percentage of the amount of compensation you gain. For instance, your lawyer may ask for 30% if you settle out of court or ⅓ of the award after they file a lawsuit but settle in discovery.
Representation Often Results In A Higher Settlement
According to a study by the Insurance Research Council, people with legal representation tend to receive a settlement roughly 3 times larger than those without. When it comes to personal injury claims, that makes a major difference.
Additionally, the details of the law and cases both often complicate the legal process.
- What do you do when an uninsured driver causes an accident?
- What if their insurance company refuses to pay?
- What if a dog bite gets infected and costs you thousands of dollars?
- What if the other person refuses to accept responsibility?
If you aren’t sure how to answer these questions, you can see how quickly a personal injury claim becomes complex. When you sustain an injury and have to deal with either an insurance company or another party, you have legal rights.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you have an advocate on your side to protect your rights and your future.