When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer is a Bad IdeaLast updated on: September 11, 2019
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Personal injury lawyers may be a valuable resource when it comes to seeking compensation for losses sustained following an accident. However, not every accident requires a personal injury attorney.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident and you are considering hiring a lawyer, call the attorneys at Zinda Law Group at 512-246-2224 for a free case evaluation. Our clients do not owe us anything unless we reach a favorable settlement in their case.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
A personal injury lawyer is a type of civil litigator who provides legal advice and guidance to individuals who have been injured, either physically or psychologically, as a result of another party’s negligence or misconduct. Common examples of accidents which may require a personal injury attorney include:
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Car crashes;
- Workplace accidents;
- Products liability cases;
- Medical malpractice;
- Dog bites;
- Wrongful deaths
After an individual is injured in one of these types of accidents, it may be necessary to consult with a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer may want to meet with the prospective client in order to gather important facts and details about the accident. For instance, the personal injury lawyer may likely want to know:
- When and where the accident occurred;
- How the accident occurred;
- Whether there were any witnesses to the accident;
- What injuries were sustained; and
- Whether medical treatment has been sought
After gathering this important information, the personal injury lawyer may use his or her knowledge and experience to provide legal advice to the injured party. The advice may help the client determine possible ways to seek compensation for the losses incurred as a result of the accident (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, etc.). If necessary, the personal injury lawyer may guide the client through the insurance claim filing and claim settlement process. If a settlement cannot be reached, the personal injury lawyer may represent the client during a trial in a court of law.
Questions to Answer Before Hiring an Attorney
How Serious Were Your Injuries?
When deciding whether you should hire a personal injury attorney, it is important that you assess the extent and severity of your injuries, if any. In general, a personal injury lawyer may not be necessary if only minor injuries were sustained. Similarly, if the injury was self-treated and medical treatment was not required, it may be unnecessary to consult with a personal injury attorney.
On the other hand, it may be appropriate to consult with a personal injury lawyer if you have been involved in an accident which resulted in a serious injury. Examples of serious injuries may include:
- Broken bones;
- Large cuts or lacerations;
- Severe bleeding;
- Concussions or brain damage;
- Spinal cord injuries; and
Broadly speaking, if the accident resulted in an injury that led to surgery, intensive professional medical treatment, an extended hospital stay, or missed time from work, then you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney.
Was Your Injury Caused by Someone Else?
A personal injury attorney will likely not be necessary in cases where the accident was entirely caused by your own clumsiness or inattention. In other words, if there is no other party — for instance, another person, motorist, or corporate entity — that can be found to be entirely or partially at-fault for the accident, then it is likely in your best interest to not consult with a personal injury lawyer.
However, if the accident was caused by another party, even partially, then hiring a personal injury lawyer may be appropriate. For example, if you were rear-ended by another driver, and the crash resulted in a neck injury, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help. Even if you believe that you are partially at-fault for causing an accident, consulting with a personal injury lawyer may be a wise decision.
Has the Insurance Company Reached Out to You?
Following an accident, it may be necessary to file a claim with an insurance company. In many cases, you may have to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. After a claim has been filed, the insurance company or a claim adjuster who works on behalf of the insurance company may contact you to discuss the accident.
Injured claimants should be cautious when dealing with insurance companies and claims adjusters. This is because insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to minimize the value of a claim. For instance, when discussing the accident, the insurance company or claims adjuster may ask certain questions that are designed to get the injured claimant to admit fault for some or all of the accident.
The guidance of a personal injury attorney may be appropriate in cases where the insurance company has reached out to you. A personal injury attorney may be able to represent you and your best interests during discussions with the insurance company. In doing so, the attorney may be protecting you from minimizing or destroying the value of your claim.
Is the Insurance Company Offering You an Unreasonably Low Amount, or Refusing to Pay You?
Another way insurance companies seek to minimize the value of a claim is by proposing initial settlement amounts that are well below the actual value of the claim.
For instance, if you sustained $10,000.00 in damages as a result of your accident, the insurance company may initially offer a settlement of $5,000.00. The insurance company does this hoping that an inexperienced claimant, who may be in desperate need of money as quickly as possible, accepts the offer without asking questions. Even worse, an insurance company may refuse to pay you altogether.
The services of a personal injury lawyer may be appropriate in these situations. A personal injury lawyer has experience dealing with stingy insurance companies. The lawyer may be able to help you evaluate the value of your claim and express your interests to insurance companies. Furthermore, a personal injury lawyer may fight to prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of you.
Is the Insurance Company Disputing Liability?
In many cases, the insurance company might dispute liability. This means that the insurance company is arguing that the party it insures is not at-fault for the accident. In other words, an insurance company who disputes liability is alleging that you are the one to blame for causing an accident and the resulting injuries. By taking this position, the insurance company is effectively saying that you are not entitled to any compensation.
If you have filed a claim which has led to the insurance company disputing liability, you should consider discussing your case with a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney may be able to strengthen your claim by establishing that the other party was at-fault for causing the accident. Establishing fault may be an intensive process and may require measures such as:
- Reviewing police or accident reports;
- Interviewing witnesses;
- Combing through company policies or company records; and
- Analyzing the law of the relevant jurisdiction
Together, these measures can be carried out to help determine and allocate fault for an accident. If these measures show that the other party was at fault for the accident in question, the insurance company may have difficulty disputing liability moving forward.
Are You Comfortable On Your Own to Handle the Settlement Process?
Before deciding whether to hire a personal injury attorney, it is essential that you ask yourself whether you are willing and capable of tackling the claim settlement and negotiation process. Negotiating against big insurance companies and experienced claims, adjusters can be intimidating, even for those who have negotiation experience. In reality, many claimants have little to no experience negotiating claim settlements. In fact, it is likely that some claimants are not even aware that a claim settlement amount can be negotiated.
It is important to realize that you do not have to negotiate alone. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help. For example, a lawyer might utilize key pieces of evidence, such as medical bills and photographs of your injuries, to convince a claims adjuster that your claim is worth more than what the insurance company is willing to pay. A lawyer may also guide a claimant throughout the discussion and investigation phase of the settlement process, being sure to protect the claimant from making any unnecessary statements that could damage the value of the claim.
A personal injury lawyer may also be able to seek compensation for losses that insurance companies fail to account for. For example, an insurance company may be willing to pay for a portion of a claimant’s medical bills but may refuse to consider the emotional pain and suffering inflicted upon the claimant. A personal injury lawyer may advocate on behalf of the client, emphasizing to the insurance company how those intangible losses affect the client’s life on a daily basis.
If You Are In Need of a Personal Injury Lawyer, Zinda Law Group May Help
At Zinda Law Group, our team of personal injury attorneys has experience handling and settling personal injury claims. Our attorneys utilize critical resources that are necessary to help you build your claim. If you have been injured in an accident, our attorneys may help you seek compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
If you would like to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer, or if you would like to learn more about the personal injury claim settlement process, call Zinda Law Group at (512) 246-2224 to receive your free case evaluation.
Meetings with attorneys are by appointment only.