When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
When you suffer a personal injury in an motor vehicle accident, or due to a manufacturer‘s product defect; or from a medical error or malpractice, it is easy to become overwhelmed because there are so many things to consider and so many details that need your attention. Of course, the most immediate and the most important concern is to get medical treatment for your injury. Sometimes an injury can be treated quickly. However, more serious injuries may need ongoing treatment and may leave the injured person in a lot of pain. Medical bills can quickly pile up as can loss of wages. And in the event of death, there are the additional expenses for funeral costs. Additionally, the accident which caused the personal injury may have also resulted in expensive property damage.
Many people are insured against some, or all, of the above expenses. For example, a person may carry health insurance to cover the medical bills, disability insurance to cover the lost wages and car insurance to cover damage to an automobile. However, it is common for insurance agencies to contest the nature and severity of your injuries or damages and refuse to compensate you for your damages. Some people will try to manage these insurance claims on their own and do not hire an attorney until litigation becomes necessary. However, you should at least seek the advice from a personal injury attorney prior to deciding to handle any claim on your own because this area of the law can be complicated.
The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Early
There are many benefits to hiring an attorney as soon as possible after your injury occurs. First, insurance companies, both yours and the other person’s, are likely to start asking questions immediately. Remember, the insurance company’s goal is to save its company money by offering the lowest settlement amount, or none at all. Also, depending upon the complexity of your injuries and the nature of the accident, for example, a motor vehicle accident, the police may also ask questions. However, an attorney handles those questions for you. This will not only take the pressure off of you and allow you to focus on your recovery and other responsibilities but, it will also ensure that you do not say something to the insurance company or police that could later hurt your chances of recovery or hamper your defense.
Additionally, if anyone involved in the case was seriously injured or died, more than likely there will be a dispute about who was at fault for the accident. Whenever serious bodily injury or death occurs as a result of an accident, there could be both severe criminal and civil consequences you could face. So, it is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible to safeguard your interests.
Should You Wait?
Although the law does not require you to have an attorney to handle your personal injury case, it is always best to at least consult with one prior to making a final decision to handle matters on your own. Even a minor injury can turn into a more serious injury. Additionally, a reputable personal injury attorney will be honest with you during your initial consultation about whether this is case for which you need an attorney. The attorney might advise you to take an offered settlement or to handle the initial stages of the negotiations yourself. If you are comfortable doing so and the case does not involve a significant injury or monetary loss then it could be to your advantage to avoid the expense of an attorney.
Also, you should also be aware that if your case involves a motor vehicle accident, your stat's insurance laws are a factor in your personal injury lawsuit. Car accident insurance coverage is designed according to fault and no-fault systems. Under a fault system, more than likely the insurance company will attempt to fight your claim. However, under a no-fault system, if there are minor injuries, the matter may be able to resolve rather in a short period of time. Nonetheless, whether the accident just happened or you are on the eve of trial, the decision about whether to retain counsel is up you. However, if fault is disputed or there were serious injuries or monetary losses then it is usually beneficial to seek the advice of a qualified attorney as soon after the accident as possible.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
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