If you or a loved one have been injured in a serious accident for which you were not at fault, hiring a personal injury attorney can help you receive a fair settlement from the insurance company. Is it possible to obtain a reasonable settlement without the assistance of a personal injury attorney? Possibly, but for reasons set forth below, I would not recommend it in 90% of the cases.
Below are four big reasons for hiring a personal injury attorney:
1. It will allow you to focus on what is important.Being involved in a traumatic accident and sustaining injuries is enough for you to worry about, let an attorney worry about the insurance companies and about how best to proceed with your legal case. The best thing you can do is to focus on what it important: your health, your job, and your family. Let the attorney worry about everything else.
2. Knowledge of Personal Injury Pitfalls.Unless you are a personal injury attorney, you are likely unfamiliar with all of the laws and pitfalls pertaining to personal injury claims. Don’t feel bad, most attorneys who focus their practices on other areas of law are in the same boat as you. An attorney who dedicates their practice (or a substantial portion thereof) to personal injury law can help explain the law to you and he or she can help avoid the numerous pitfalls associated with these types of cases. Just a few examples of common issues include:
- Can I submit my medical bills to my health insurance following a collision?
- Can I still use my Medicare insurance?
- I was out on FMLA due to my injuries, do I have to pay that back out of my settlement?
- Is my settlement proceeds taxable?
- Do I have to disclose my social security number to the insurance adjuster?
- Do I have to provide the insurance adjuster with a recorded statement and medical authorizations?
- When do I have to file a lawsuit?
- Can I sue the insurance company?
- My doctor wants me to sign a lien for my medical expenses, should I sign it?
Personal injury claims have become substantially more difficult over the past 10 years and you need an attorney who is still actively handling these cases.
3. Ability to Negotiate Fair Compensation.You need an attorney who practices personal injury law on a regular basis and who has done so for over a decade with proven results. Not only with the attorney’s knowledge and prior experiences help evaluate your case, but it will also help with negotiation with the insurance company and/or opposing counsel. Unfortunately, insurance companies profit by underpaying claims and the look for ways to settle claims for less than their fair value. Frequently, insurance companies will offer lower settlement values to persons not working with a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies and opposing counsel will also take into account your attorney’s track record when evaluating your case. Be sure your attorney has a proven track record.
4. Fair Representation in Court.Finally, your attorney can help ensure that you get a fair trial. You attorney will fight for your rights during motion practice to ensure that you can present your case to the jury and they will help you develop your case to achieve the best possible results for you. I have never seen a pro se litigant successfully try their own personal injury case.