If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. But, as reported by the National Law Review, not every accident or injury requires the help of a personal injury lawyer. This blog post discusses some of the circumstances in which you should hire an attorney.
The Accident Was Caused by Someone Else’s Negligence
Personal injury claims hinge on the injured person’s ability to prove that the other party was negligent in causing their injury. Negligence is defined as the failure to behave with the level of care that an ordinary person would have exercised under the same circumstances. This failure is usually through taking some kind of negligent action, but can also sometimes be the person’s failure to act if they had a legal duty to do so. To establish negligence, the injured person must demonstrate that:
- The at-fault party owed them a legal duty of care. For example, in a motor vehicle accident, all drivers owe a legal duty of care to others on the road to obey all traffic laws and safely operate their motor vehicle.
- The at-fault person failed to comply with that duty of care.
- This failure caused their injuries.
If someone else’s negligence caused your accident, then you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and the expenses related to those injuries. However, you must follow the appropriate process for obtaining that compensation and present your evidence in a particular way. This can be a difficult process, and a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate it so that you have the best chance to get the full amount of compensation you deserve.
You Suffered Severe Injuries
Your injuries don’t have to be catastrophic for you to have a right to file a personal injury claim or a personal injury lawsuit. If your injuries were severe enough to require medical treatment, including prescriptions, diagnostic tests, surgery, hospitalization, follow-up care, or rehabilitation, you have the right to pursue compensation to cover those expenses. Additionally, if your injuries were severe enough to cause you to miss time from work or they altered your quality of life, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer about your legal options.
Even if you feel like your injuries are minor, they could be worse than you initially believe. Wait until a doctor clears you of potential complications from your injuries before you decide that you don’t need an attorney.
An Insurance Company Is Pressuring You to Accept a Low Ball Settlement
Once you have accepted a settlement offer to cover your injuries after an accident, you cannot go back to request more money. You should never accept a quick settlement offer without having a good idea about how much follow-up care you will need, whether you will be able to return to work, or whether you will fully recover to the point that you will be able to work in the same capacity or participate in the same leisure activities as you did before the accident. Determining the value of your case depends on a formula that involves:
- The severity of your injury
- Whether your treatments will be invasive or long-term
- If your injuries have caused disfigurement
- Whether you can demonstrate that you are owed compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or permanent disability
An insurance company will often contact you if they believe you have a potential case, and they may use anything you say against you to deny or reduce the value of your claim. If you hire a personal injury lawyer, your lawyer will speak to the insurance company’s representatives on your behalf and will know how to ensure that you don’t say anything that might inadvertently damage your case.
The Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith or Disputing the Claim
There are many ways that insurance companies act in bad faith when negotiating with an accident victim, such as offering a low settlement, delaying processing their claim, or refusing to compensate the victim even if liability for their injuries is not in dispute.
If you believe an insurance company is acting in bad faith regarding your personal injury claim, you should enlist the aid of a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers know how to deal with bad faith insurance tactics and can work to help your case move forward despite the insurance company’s antics.
Likewise, you should contact a personal injury lawyer if an insurance company is disputing your claim or stating that their insured is not liable for your injuries. These cases can be extremely complicated and may even require you to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries.
There Are Multiple Potentially Liable Parties
The more potentially liable parties involved in your accident, the more complicated it will be to file insurance claims. Hiring a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible will help you to not only identify all of the liable parties, but your lawyer will also understand how to submit claims and negotiate a settlement with all parties involved.
You’re Not Comfortable With Navigating the Claims or Legal Process
If you’re well-versed in personal injury law and the statutes in your state that govern this area of the law, you might be able to negotiate a settlement on your own—however that’s unlikely in my opinion, and it’s even less likely that you’d reach a fair settlement. Personal injury law is a career field that requires extensive training.
If you don’t know how the process works and you’re not comfortable with the amount of research that you will need to do to understand it, it is a good idea to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer. In addition, personal injury lawyers often rely on medical or accident experts to work with them on their clients’ cases. If you’re not comfortable with finding these experts on your own, consult an attorney. Call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online for a free consultation.