You may want a personal injury lawyer if you suffered harm because of another party’s negligence, and you want to recover compensation. An attorney can hold the at-fault party financially responsible and get justice. They can help by filing your claim, gathering evidence, and otherwise managing everything the legal process entails.
Working with a lawyer does more than pass off your case’s obligations to a professional; it also helps you avoid any pitfalls that could jeopardize your right to fair compensation. With a personal injury lawyer, you don’t have to focus on anything other than healing and getting better.
You Can Avoid the Challenges That Come With Pro Se Representation
Some injured claimants choose to act as their own lawyers. When this happens, they encounter many challenges that represented people don’t face. These obstacles may include:
Not Knowing What Constitutes a Fair Settlement Offer
Lawyers rely on their years of experience to determine injured claimants’ losses. Without this experience, you might not know whether an insurance settlement fully accounts for your losses. If you accept any money from the insurer, your case effectively ends even if you still have out-of-pocket expenses.
Dealing With Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Most states have laws outlawing bad-faith insurance practices. This is when insurance companies attempt to take advantage of injured claimants by unjustly denying or undervaluing their claims. With a lawyer, you have a layer of protection between yourself and any unscrupulous claims adjusters. Without legal help, you have no one to recognize and combat these strategies for you. Here, you could face undue pressure, stress, and anxieties surrounding your case’s outcome.
Managing Complex Legal Paperwork
Insurance companies bank on injured claimants not understanding industry terms and complicated legal jargon. That way, they can get away with offering less than claimants are owed and save money. An attorney’s years of training allow them to interpret complicated terms and advise clients on their legal options. This allows them to make informed decisions about whether to accept a settlement from the liable insurer.
Missing Key Deadlines
The insurance company may hope to get away with paying you as little money as possible. This way, it can protect its bottom line and keep turning a profit. So, the insurer may fail to disclose certain deadlines, making them your responsibility. You could have anywhere from a few days to a few months to notify the insurer of your losses.
Even if you accidentally miss this deadline, the claims adjuster may refute your right to damages. This could leave you in dire financial straits, especially if you can no longer work due to your condition.
Jeopardizing Your Own Case
The other party may look for any reason to discredit your case, and you might be surprised that the lengths they’ll go. For instance, the claims adjuster may browse your social media pages, hoping to find information that contradicts what you shared. The insurer may even hire a private investigator to follow you around and find information to devalue your losses.
With a lawyer, you don’t have to worry about your case’s hidden challenges. Instead, you can focus on rebuilding your life and moving forward.
The Benefits of Partnering With a Personal Injury Lawyer
You don’t want to manage a legal claim by yourself especially if you’re dealing with serious injuries. Here are some reasons why you might want to partner with an attorney:
Personal Injury Attorneys Know How to Handle Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury lawyers understand the different types of accidents and state tort laws that is, the laws that allow a victim to hold the at-fault party legally responsible for their damages. They know how to build a strong case, identify your recoverable damages, and weigh your options for pursuing compensation.
Generally, a personal injury attorney can seek compensation for a client in two ways:
- Filing an insurance claim based on the at-fault party’s liability policy
- Suing the at-fault party in civil court and taking the case to trial
After reviewing your case, a lawyer can explain what route could secure a financial recovery for your hardships.
A Lawyer Can Push for an Out-of-Court Settlement
Most cases settle without going to trial. While the reasons for out-of-court settlements vary, the main reason is that both parties agree on an amount that compensates the injured person for their losses. Still, getting an insurance settlement isn’t always easy.
A successful claim requires a lawyer to:
- Have supporting evidence
- Understand the involved parties’ roles
- Present the cost of your damages
- Evaluate the liable insurance policy
- Negotiate for the best possible outcome
- Protect claimants from bad faith insurance practices
Navigating the claims process on your own could prove difficult, especially if you’re requesting a significant settlement. By entrusting your case to a legal advocate, you save yourself the headaches that come with dealing with insurance companies and the people they represent.
Many Injury Lawyers Work on Contingency
Most personal injury law firms are contingency-fee firms. They do not charge upfront fees to start advocating for injured people. Instead, their contract stipulates they receive a portion of the money they recover. So, imagine an agreement where a lawyer takes 20 percent of an injured person’s settlement as payment for their losses. If the injured person recovers $1 million, the lawyer would get 20 percent (or $200,000) of that figure.
Victims hurt in personal injury incidents never have to worry about paying attorney’s fees out of their pockets. This makes it possible for victims to hire personal injury lawyers, even when their injuries greatly affect their family’s financial stability.
An Attorney Can Manage the Claims Process from Start to Finish
Victims of negligence have the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. Yet, as noted, recovering compensation through an insurance settlement is harder than it seems. When you partner with an attorney, they can manage what your case entails.
A lawyer can also work with the insurance company to reach an agreement. This takes evidence collection, communications, and other matters off your shoulders.
An insurer may try to downplay your injury case by:
- Immediately offering compensation that doesn’t account for your losses
- Giving a lowball offer (and refusing to offer more money)
- Downplaying the severity of your accident or injuries
- Blaming you for the accident or your injuries
- Dissuading you from seeking legal help
Attorneys know these and other tactics that could hurt a personal injury case. A lawyer can help you avoid these pitfalls and secure fair compensation based on your situation.
Attorneys Identify and Value Each Client’s Recoverable Damages
A fair settlement or court award should cover each of your injury-related expenses. Yet, to secure what you need, your lawyer must understand the extent of your injuries and, by extension, the cost of your damages.
A Lawyer First Identifies What Constitutes a Fair Settlement
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for how much a personal injury claim or suit is worth. Even cases that seem very similar can vary dramatically in value if one victim suffers more serious injuries, misses more time at work, or has a lasting impairment when others do not.
Some factors that play a role in the value of these cases include:
- The injuries you suffered
- The treatment you required
- Your usual income and your time missed from work
- Whether you now have a long-term disability
- The value of your financial losses
Other factors of your situation may dictate your case’s overall value. For example, if you lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, your damages could reflect that hardship.
Your Lawyer Supports Your Case’s Value With Documentation
You can’t expect to file a claim, request compensation, and get paid without supporting evidence. You need as much information as possible to bolster your claim’s value.
Your lawyer can find and during negotiations use:
- Medical bills and related paperwork
- Estimates for damage repairs, such as repairs after a crash
- Documentation of previous income and time away from work
- Testimony from medical experts about your prognosis and future medical needs
- Relevant medical records
- Receipts for related expenses
Your lawyer may also consult with third-party field experts, such as economists and healthcare providers, to learn more about what you can seek.
An Attorney Can Seek Recovery for Your Past, Present, and Future Losses
While every case is different and has unique damages, some compensable losses in your case may constitute:
- Medical treatment and related treatment expenses
- Income lost because of your time away from work
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage costs
- Miscellaneous injury-related costs, such as transportation expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Other non-economic damages, including scarring and disfigurement
Recovering fair compensation is your personal injury lawyer’s primary goal. When you partner with an injury lawyer, they can seek recovery for each of your expenses, including those you haven’t incurred yet.
Hiring a Lawyer Lets You Focus on Your Physical Recovery
Hiring an attorney lets you focus your time and energy on healing, rather than juggling complex legal matters. When an injured person tries to navigate the claims process alone, they could easily get overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated.
As a part of managing your personal injury case, you can count on your attorney to:
- Provide a free consultation to discuss your situation
- Explain their payment arrangement in terms you can understand
- Answer your questions as they arise
- Ensure you have a way to contact representatives any time you need them
- Provide legal advice and guidance throughout the claims process
- Investigate your case and build strong support
- Document your damages
- Establish a fair settlement range for your case
- Handle all communications with the insurance company and other involved parties
- File your claim or lawsuit
- Prepare all necessary legal documents
- Represent you to the insurer or in court
- Fight for your best interests
Your lawyer encourages you to participate only as much as your health allows and when you want to. They can provide regular case updates, and it is always your decision when to accept a settlement offer or file a lawsuit. This means, while you can get a lawyer to manage the legal process, your case’s decisions are in your hands.
When to Consider Calling a Personal Injury Attorney About Your Case
Personal injury law firms generally provide free consultations, so there is no harm in reaching out to one. Most personal injury lawyers offer an opportunity to speak with a team member at no cost to you or your family. You can discuss your case and learn about your rights during this conversation. Here, you can get the answers to some of your most pressing questions, including whether your situation calls for a personal injury lawyer.
Consulting an attorney as soon as possible after your accident can protect your rights and let the attorney begin investigating your case immediately. Sometimes, evidence disappears over time. This is especially true of surveillance videos, which are essential in some investigations.
Time Is of the Essence
There is also a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. While this deadline does not apply to all insurance claims, it effectively eliminates the possibility of a fair settlement if you wait too long. Facing a lawsuit and civil trial often provides leverage, convincing the insurance company to settle rather than going to court.
Each state sets its own deadlines. For example, under Georgia law, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date the injuries occurred. Other states have laws varying from one to four years in most cases. Your time to initiate legal action is ticking, so consider your legal options as soon as possible.