A day that started out like any other can change dramatically when it ends in personal injury. Whether you were injured in a car accident, a slip-and-fall, or some other incident, your mind may be swirling with questions. One of the first questions you might ask is, “Should I hire a personal injury lawyer?”
Of course, every single personal injury claim is different and unique; there is no clear-cut answer to that question for every situation. Still, some general rules can help you know whether or not a personal injury lawyer should be consulted with or hired. Let’s take a look at some questions you should ask yourself to know whether you should hire a personal injury lawyer.
How to Know When You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
While you might be a DIY aficionado, you would likely agree that there are some tasks better left to someone with the experience and know-how necessary to get the job done. When not done right the first time, some mistakes can prove costly and difficult to fix.
The same is true with personal injury cases as well. Certain cases are more complex than others and require a measure of experience to be handled properly. Missed deadlines, poor negotiation, or filing errors can have a serious impact on the compensation amount, leaving an unnecessary financial burden on your plate.
After suffering a personal injury, ask yourself these five questions to help you decide whether you need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Were the injuries caused by someone else’s negligence?
One of the first things to ask yourself is whether or not someone else’s negligence was the cause of your injuries. For example, a property owner may not have properly maintained the property, causing you to fall. Or, in the case of a car accident, perhaps the other driver was distracted, speeding, or impaired? If you are unsure whether or not your case warrants a personal injury claim or lawsuit, a consultation with a personal injury lawyer can provide you with the necessary advice.
Who was at fault for the accident?
Another point to consider when deciding whether you need the help of a personal injury lawyer is who was at fault (liable) for the accident.
Were you partially to blame? If so, you might need the help of an attorney who can look at the evidence and defend your legal rights.
Is the liable party a government agency, corporation, or medical professional? In these cases, having an experienced lawyer on your side to fight for you can be necessary to receive the compensation you deserve.
How many parties were involved?
Not all personal injury cases are straightforward. Some complex cases have various parties that may be liable. For example, if you were injured in a truck accident, it may be difficult to determine who is liable – the driver, trucking company, product manufacturer, or someone else.
Another example is a multi-car collision.
With various parties and insurance companies involved, complex cases like these can be overwhelming to handle alone. Thus, a personal injury lawyer’s services would be essential.
How serious are the injuries?
Some accidents result in minor injuries that don’t need extensive medical attention or time off work. Generally speaking, in these cases, the damages are small and hiring a personal injury lawyer might not make sense due to the small compensation available.
If your injuries are severe, or your financial damages (such as medical bills, lost wages, etc) are more than the Massachusetts small claims court limit of $7000, you should consult a personal injury attorney for advice.
What is the insurance company offering?
Another thing to consider is the insurance company’s offer. Have they denied the case completely, perhaps saying their client is not liable? A personal injury lawyer has access to expert witnesses who can support your claim, prove liability, and verify your injuries and damages.
Is the insurance company offering a much smaller settlement than you are entitled to receive? Many times, victims that are represented by an attorney win up to 40 percent more compensation. In this case, working with a lawyer can get you more, even after considering the legal fees.
Kiley Law Group offers free, no-obligation consultations to personal injury victims. We can travel to you to discuss the details of your case in person if you prefer. Our free consultations and case reviews can be instrumental in helping you understand your legal rights and options after a personal injury at no cost or risk to you.
Whether you decide to use a lawyer to fight your personal injury case or not, in many cases you will be contacted by an insurance company shortly after an accident. In this case, you need to be prepared to avoid some common pitfalls when dealing with insurance companies.
Tips For Communicating With Insurance Companies
When dealing with insurance companies after an accident, it is important to remember that they are a business – and their job is to protect their assets, not you. So, don’t be surprised when they try to undermine your case or try to get you to accept a smaller settlement than you deserve. Make sure you don’t get taken advantage of after an accident.
Never talk to an insurance company without consulting with a lawyer. Even if you do not hire a lawyer to represent you, a consultation can help you understand your legal rights. Before talking to an insurance company, you must understand what things to avoid saying that could undermine your case.
Get medical attention as soon as possible. An insurance company might try to get you to sign a document or agree to a settlement before you have received the appropriate medical attention. Accepting the offer would be risky. Some people may reason that their injuries are minor and don’t require treatment, only to realize later that they have long-term health effects that weren’t included in their settlements.
Too many injury victims make costly mistakes that jeopardize their cases or limit the compensation they could have received. It is easy to be overwhelmed during a stressful situation and not know what to do, perhaps even waiting too long to file a claim.
If you believe you may have a Massachusetts personal injury case, don’t hesitate to book a free consultation with Kiley Law Group to get the necessary legal advice as soon as possible so you can plan your next steps.