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When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Been injured in an accident? Find out the best time to hire a personal injury lawyer and how it can increase your compensation.

evident Editorial Team
November 28, 2023
personal injury, crutches, man

A personal injury can be a life-altering experience, leaving you with physical, emotional, and financial burdens. Understanding when to hire a personal injury lawyer can make all the difference.

The short answer is as soon as possible after an injury. Your need for a personal injury lawyer may vary depending on the severity of injuries, the complexity of the case, and insurance company involvement.

This guide will provide crucial insights on when to hire a personal injury lawyer, the benefits of hiring one, and how to choose the right attorney for your case.

Key Takeaways

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Hiring a personal injury attorney immediately can be beneficial if you've been seriously injured in an accident. And it won't cost you anything upfront. Personal injury attorneys typically get paid a contingency fee, meaning they only get paid if you win your case.

Here are some other factors that should guide your decision-making process on when to get a personal injury lawyer.

Severity of Your Injuries

The severity of injuries sustained in an accident can impact your need for legal representation, as serious injuries often require expert knowledge to secure fair compensation.

For example, if you have permanent disabilities or require ongoing medical care, it's critical to hire an attorney who can assess the long-term financial impacts and calculate the appropriate amount of compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

On the other hand, minor injuries or accidents where no injuries occur may not necessitate legal representation, as insurance claims may suffice for satisfactory settlements.

It's always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to evaluate your case and determine if legal representation may be beneficial in obtaining fair compensation.

Complexity of Your Case

Complex cases involving multiple parties, disputed liability, or government entities often require the expertise of a personal injury attorney. Determining liability can be complicated when multiple parties are involved in an accident, and the legal proceedings may be more complex than in cases involving only two parties.

Moreover, cases involving government entities require specialized knowledge of the legal procedures and limitations of suing the government.

An accident lawyer familiar with these complexities is essential when undertaking such a process.

Insurance Company Involvement

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Insurance companies have a notable presence in personal injury cases, which can shape your decision on when to contact a personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies typically strive to reduce your compensation.

A personal injury attorney can guide how to approach conversations with insurance companies, ensuring that your rights are protected, and you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

In addition, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help counter any allegations made by the insurance company that you contributed to the cause of the accident, which may impact your compensation under comparative fault laws.

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Hiring a personal injury attorney enhances your probability of securing a fair settlement and eases the burden of independently maneuvering through the legal system.

It also offers several other benefits, including:

  • Allowing you to focus on your recovery and well-being while they handle the legal aspects of your case
  • Helping you understand your legal rights
  • Negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf
  • Securing the compensation you deserve

Legal Knowledge and Expertise

Personal injury attorneys at a personal injury law firm possess the legal knowledge and expertise to navigate complex cases and secure fair compensation for their clients.

They have extensive experience handling various personal injury cases, including car accidents, medical malpractice, and slip and fall incidents. This expertise enables them to accurately assess the value of your injuries and provide an accurate estimation of compensation.

In addition, most personal injury lawyers, especially an experienced personal injury lawyer, can help you with your personal injury claim and navigate the complexities of a personal injury lawsuit by:

  • Understanding the legal procedures and regulations specific to your car accident case and location
  • Gathering evidence
  • Negotiating with insurance companies
  • Representing you in court

Negotiation Skills

shaking hands, handshake, hands

Skilled negotiation is crucial in personal injury cases, and attorneys can effectively negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

You'll want to hire a personal injury lawyer with strong negotiating skills who avoids displays of anger or agitation and can persuasively present pertinent evidence to back your case.

Communication and a deep understanding of your case are essential for successful negotiation, as they enable the lawyer to present their case effectively and negotiate a just settlement.

Maximizing Compensation

Personal injury attorneys work to maximize compensation for their clients, often securing larger settlements than those without legal representation. Studies have shown that claimants represented by a lawyer are more likely to succeed in their claim or lawsuit and that settlements are typically 40% higher than those who represent themselves.

One of the key reasons for this is the attorney's ability to assess the full value of the claim, including future damages, pain and suffering, and other non-economic damages.

By hiring a personal injury attorney, you can ensure that all aspects of your claim are considered and that you receive the maximum compensation possible.

The Importance of Acting Quickly

Swift action in personal injury cases is key to ensure you don't run out of time to bring your case and to preserve evidence.

It's important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to discuss your case and determine the best course of action.

Here's a closer look:

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing personal injury claims, making it essential to act quickly and consult an attorney.

The time limit varies depending on the state and type of case, but missing the deadline can result in forfeiting your right to pursue legal action and receive compensation for your injuries.

For example, a New York personal injury case generally must be filed within three years from the date you were injured or the date you were diagnosed with the injury. Medical malpractice claims are slightly different, carrying a two year and six month statute of limitations.

It's important to know how long you have to bring your case.

Preserving Evidence

Preserving evidence is vital in personal injury cases, and acting quickly can ensure that crucial evidence is not lost or destroyed. Evidence such as medical records, photographs of the accident scene, and witness statements can be essential in proving liability and the extent of your injuries.

Prompt action also allows you to report your injuries to a medical provider and begin treatment, which can be crucial in accurately assessing the full value of your claim.

By acting quickly and preserving evidence, you can maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and protect your legal rights.

Choosing the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Selecting the best personal injury lawyer for your case requires considering referrals and recommendations, experience and proficiency, and contingency fee agreements.

Your choice of attorney will substantially affect your case's outcome and the compensation you receive, so investing time in research to choose the most suitable attorney for your needs is crucial.

Begin your search for a personal injury attorney by:

  1. Asking for referrals from friends, family, or online reviews.
  2. Look for an attorney with a track record of success in personal injury cases.
  3. Find an attorney who is knowledgeable about the regulations in your state.
  4. Look for an attorney willing to work on a contingency fee basis.

Here's a deeper look at each recommendation.

Asking for Referrals

Friends, family, and colleagues can be valuable resources, offering insights based on their personal experiences.

  • Personal Network: Reach out to people in your close circle who have had similar legal needs. Their firsthand experience can provide insights into the attorney's competence, commitment, and client service.
  • Online Reviews: Explore online platforms and legal directories. Read reviews and testimonials to gauge the reputation and reliability of potential attorneys.
  • Professional Networks: Consider contacting legal professionals you know, even if they specialize in a different field. They can often refer you to competent personal injury attorneys.

Track Record of Success

An attorney's past performance can strongly indicate their capability to handle your case effectively.

Look for lawyers with a proven track record in personal injury cases.

  • Case Histories: Review the attorney's past cases, focusing on outcomes and settlements. Successful case resolutions demonstrate competence.
  • Client Feedback: Speak to previous clients, if possible, to understand their experience and satisfaction level.
  • Awards and Recognitions: Check if the attorney has received any awards or recognitions, which can be indicative of their expertise and reputation.

Knowledge of State Regulations

Find an attorney well-versed in the specific regulations and laws of your state. Legal processes can vary greatly, and a knowledgeable lawyer can easily navigate these.

  • Specialization: Look for attorneys specializing in personal injury law within your state. Their focused expertise can be advantageous.
  • Legal Updates: Ensure that the attorney stays updated with the latest legal trends and changes in regulations.
  • Court Experience: Consider lawyers with experience in the local courts, as they are familiar with the legal environment and personnel, which can be beneficial.

Contingency Fee Basis

Consider attorneys who are willing to work on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid if you win the case, reducing your upfront financial burden.

  • Fee Agreement: Ensure you understand the fee structure. Clarify the percentage the attorney will take in case of a successful outcome.
  • Expense Coverage: Ask if the attorney covers all upfront costs and gets reimbursed only if you win. This can include court fees, investigation costs, and other expenses.
  • Written Agreement: Always get the fee agreement in writing to avoid future misunderstandings or disputes. Review it thoroughly before signing.

Each of these steps requires careful consideration to ensure you find an attorney who is competent and experienced and the right fit for your specific needs and circumstances.

Take your time, do your research, and don't hesitate to consult with multiple attorneys before making your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage do most personal injury lawyers take?

Most personal injury lawyers take 33% of the final amount as their contingency fee. Cases going to court may incur other common costs, such as filing and witness fees.

Is it worth hiring a personal injury attorney?

It is worth hiring a personal injury attorney as they can ensure you receive a fair settlement after an injury. Without their legal expertise, it is possible to end up without compensation.

Can I represent myself in a personal injury case?

Yes, you can represent yourself in a personal injury case if the injury is minor and the laws of your state are favorable. However, it requires strong negotiation skills and knowledge of the law.

How do you handle personal injuries?

Immediately seek medical attention after a personal injury and document the incident. Consider consulting a lawyer early to guide you through the legal and insurance processes, focusing on your recovery while the attorney handles negotiations or trial proceedings. The goal is to secure fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.