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When Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?

Written by Teresa Te on October 28, 2017

You’ve seen the commercials and advertisements for personal injury attorneys, but you never thought you’d need one. But here you are, in a situation where you’re hurt, frustrated, and afraid.

You’ve been injured, but you aren’t sure what the process of hiring an attorney involves, or even whether you need one. The fact that you’re being critical about your situation is good.

Staying calm and poised will help you determine what’s best for moving forward. And if any of the following is true, you probably will need to hire an attorney to help you out (and sooner, rather than later).

1. You Have a Serious Injury

The first thing you need to do is evaluate your injury. If you tripped on the sidewalk and lightly scraped your knees, you probably don’t have a case.

Sure, your knees might sting for a few hours, but a judge isn’t likely to award you anything substantial. If you fell from a second-floor balcony and shattered your arm and broke a rib, however, then it’s more probable that you have a situation an attorney could help you with.

Not certain whether you have a serious injury or not? A quick call to an attorney can shine light on the matter.

2. You Believe Someone Else Caused the Injury

How did the injury occur? Were you being reckless and putting yourself at risk, or did someone else’s bad behavior or negligence lead to your harm?

In the latter situation, you need to move quickly. “Proving legal fault involves applying certain standards to the evidence,” attorney Steven Sweat writes for the National Law Review.

“In order to strengthen your claim, it is important to consult a lawyer as soon as possible so that the important evidence can be gathered and preserved.”

3. An Insurance Company is Contacting You

Has an insurance company contacted you and offered a settlement for your injury? The dollar amount they’ve offered may sound like a lot, but you can rest assured that it isn’t.

The mere fact that they’re calling means they sense trouble and want to fix it before you lawyer up. In most cases, the amount an insurance company offers is going to be only 10 to 25 percent of what the case could be really worth.

4. You Face Significant Medical Costs

Although pain and suffering is typically calculated into the damages a victim receives, a large percentage of the money will normally go to medical costs. If you don’t know the full cost of your injury, you could get shortchanged.

An experienced attorney will consult a variety of sources in order to calculate a realistic estimate of the potential cost. “With evidence of liability and an understanding of what constitutes an appropriate financial recovery for you, the attorney can pursue a settlement or verdict that will compensate you for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and all other losses,” Davis, Saperstein & Solomon explains.

5. You Have No Experience With the Legal Process

If you’ve never been involved in any sort of lawsuit or court case, then you don’t have any idea how the legal process works. An attorney can assist and guide you through this confusing and lengthy process.

Don’t Deal With This Alone

You shouldn’t have to deal with your injury on your own. Though you might be unclear about whether you have a case, it’s always best to contact an attorney and figure out what rights and options you have.

If there’s no case there, an honest attorney will tell you this up front and point you in another direction. But if there might be the basis of a case, you’ll be glad you have an experienced legal team on your side.