Each year, up to half a million personal injury cases arise in the United States.
Most commonly, personal injuries are sustained in motor vehicle accidents, followed by medical malpractices, workplace accidents, accidents due to the premises liability or dangerous and defective products and so on.
But did you know that only about 5% of those cases go to trial?
In fact, the majority of personal injury cases end up settled outside of the court and an injured party receives a lowball compensation.
Well, for starters, injured parties usually wait too long to file a claim. Moreover, they are unfamiliar with the documentary evidence that needs to be gathered. Ultimately, many people need the money fast, but since they’re unable to assess the damages they’re entitled to, insurance companies can make lowball offers.
If you’re wondering whether you should hire a personal injury attorney for your case, you should consider a couple of things:
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Who are you filing a claim against?
Picture this: you’ve visited a doctor because you’ve been feeling unwell. They’ve diagnosed you and prescribed you medication as treatment for your condition. However, the treatment only made your condition worse, and it resulted in a personal injury.
Was the diagnosis or the treatment wrong? Should you sue the doctor, the hospital or both for the malpractice?
What if the treatment was right, but the medication caused you an injury? Did the medication manufacturer warn your doctor about its possible side effects? Should you sue the pharmaceutical company?
Or if you’ve suffered an injury due to a car accident – do you make a claim to the insurance company or sue the driver at fault?
What if you’ve suffered a workplace accident? Were you injured by a defective product or a toxic substance? Did you sustain an injury due to your employer’s or third-party’s conduct?
The answers to these questions matter, because they determine the other party in a lawsuit. Sometimes, you can even sue multiple people. If you’re unclear on whom to sue, hiring a personal injury attorney might clarify this issue for you.
How are you handling communication with the insurance company and/or the liable party?
Here’s the thing – the only interests insurance company is protecting is their own. Insurance companies are not your friends and they will often use information gathered from communicating with you to establish your liability for the accident.
For that reason, communication with the opposing parties should be handled with care. In other words, this sort of communication will require good negotiation skills and an empirical understanding of the extent of your injuries.
Why? Well, these conversations will include discussion about all the things relevant for determining your compensation and you want to know all the things you’re entitled compensation for.
Maybe you’ve only got medical bills to cover, maybe you’ve also suffered damages due to emotional distress, or maybe your property was damaged too.
So, if you’re unsure about the value of your damages or if you’re fuzzy about the details of your accident and can’t find or access documentary evidence that would clear up your memory, it’s best to have an experienced personal injury attorney handling these matters.
It’s also possible that you’re comfortable with compromising on the compensation sum, as long as you get it quickly. In this case, deciding to proceed without an attorney might appear like a good idea.
However, you should keep in mind that it isn’t unusual for insurance companies to make you an offer right after the accident and then stop communicating. Furthermore, even if you quickly agree upon the compensation, your payment still might take a long time to arrive.
In cases like these, a personal injury attorney might help you in understanding why this has happened and in resolving these issues.
How familiar are you with your state laws and the court system?
If you do not have a legal background, you likely know very little about your rights and obligations when it comes to personal injuries.
That isn’t to say that laypeople have no legal knowledge, cause a lot of people to know the basics that are universal on a federal level, but did you know that each state also has its regulations?
In fact, each state has its period during which you can file a personal injury claim. When medical malpractice claims are concerned, and this is just one example, in some states, you are also limited in time for putting the doctor that treated you on notice.
If you miss these and other relevant time marks, depending on the way you sustained an injury, you could lose your right to present a claim before the court.
Furthermore, you might consider how familiar you are with your court system and the procedure of filing a claim before the court. This procedure involves many stages and will require you to present your case before the judge, so if you have no trial experience, you might consider consulting someone who does.
If you’re unsure about your rights, your state’s statute of limitation and where to find this information, lawsb can help you with that and with all the other aspects of filing, as well as managing a personal injury claim.
Do the parties you’re filing claims against have experts on their side?
If the answer to this question is yes, then you want to make sure that everyone is on an even playing field.
Parties with more information, knowledge, skills, experience, as well as resources such as time and money, will have a higher success rate in personal injury claims.
This is why you want to have an attorney that is experienced in these sorts of cases on your side – and you want to give them as much time as possible to effectively prepare your case.
The interests of your attorney are aligned with your interests, so they’ll make sure that you provide your opposing parties only with the kind of information that works in your favor.
Do you have a trusted doctor to assess your injuries?
If you’ve suffered a personal injury, you don’t want just anyone assessing the extent of that injury and the way it has impacted you.
The doctor who treated you will likely testify about your injuries before the court, so you want them to be someone professional that you can trust, as well as someone whose reputation will hold up before the court.
If you don’t have a physician that you can trust, many personal injury attorneys know the right medical team that can provide you with the best care possible.
An attorney can also inform you about how to correctly present your injuries to a medical expert so that your doctor has a thorough, detailed report on them for the judge. The more evidence you can provide, the better your odds at winning the case and being properly compensated are.
When you’re injured, you’re likely unable or unwilling to consider and process all of these complex matters at once, regardless of the number or the extent of your injuries.
And, frankly, you shouldn’t have to. Instead, you should be focusing on your recovery.
If you want someone else to take care of all the deadlines, documents, legal requirements, all the communication and the other intricacies involved with filing a personal injury claim, consulting a personal injury attorney might be the best course of action for you.