Are you wondering if you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer? Hiring an attorney is a major decision for most people, but there are times when an attorney is the best assurance your legal rights are protected. This is especially true in personal injury cases. The following are five advantages a personal injury lawyer offers clients.
Levels the Playing Field
There is a major fact to keep in mind if you are injured in an accident involving a business, like a commercial vehicle accident, slip and fall inside a business or injury due to a faulty product or service. The corporation has unlimited funds to hire a cadre of attorneys if necessary or has access to multiple attorneys through insurance companies. Battling a corporation to get fair treatment is not easy, and quite frankly, you stand little chance of winning. The goal of the corporation and its insurance company is to minimize payout and will go to court if that is what it takes.
Only a personal injury attorney knows how to maneuver through the court system, preparing legal documents, filing required documents and forms in a timely manner and preparing responses as required. The attorney can also determine the best course of action to protect your legal rights, whether to negotiate with the other party or go to trial. A personal injury lawyer ensures the client retains all legal rights. It levels the playing field, so to speak.
Possesses Legal Knowledge for Specific Types of Personal Injuries
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported there were almost 1.9 million crashes involving injuries in 2018.
But there are many different types of personal injury. They include premises liability, pharmaceutical liability, brain injuries, auto accidents, commercial vehicle accidents, construction injuries, product liability, corporate negligence and many more. The state and federal laws are different for each type of case, and they usually change each year too.
This makes it nearly impossible for anyone except an attorney specializing in personal injury cases to stay on top of the current laws. Without that knowledge, it is easy to get taken advantage of by corporations, insurance companies and attorneys representing someone on the other side.
Your personal injury attorney has in-depth knowledge of complex laws related to the particular injury area in the specific state. For example, if you get injured in the state of Texas, you may want to consider searching for a “Houston personal injury lawyer” or whatever your current locale is to assist you with your case.
Helps Clients Avoid Settling too Early
Many times, people get pressured by insurance companies to settle for an amount that is far below what they are entitled too. Strategies to get you to settle include dragging out the process, consistently turning down all your compensation requests and minimizing your injury through a wrongful interpretation of medical records, to name a few.
If you do not have an attorney, the pressure to settle will be intense. The insurance company and/or business will want you to settle before you decide to hire an attorney. Agreeing to settle too early can be very costly because most people are not aware of all the current and future expenses they are entitled to have covered, especially when there is an injury.
Typical compensable amounts include items like documented medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. The problem is that it may take some time for the full impact of some injuries to show up. For example, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to permanent disability or a back injury that may turn into a long-term painful injury that interferes with work or the quality of life.
If you signed insurance settlement documents filled with disclaimers and prohibitions, it is much more difficult to revisit the case. Consulting a personal injury lawyer is crucial to not signing away your rights.
Helps Clients Avoid Making Costly Mistakes
One of the common mistakes people make is making statements or behaving in a way without realizing the consequences. For example, assume you are in a multi-vehicle accident and are injured. While waiting for the police, you talk to the other driver and witnesses, and then eventually the police. In your daze, you make statements about things like your speed or distractions or failure to see the stop sign.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recommends taking a photo of the vehicle damage and the area where the accident occurred immediately after the accident. Conditions can change within hours. However, if injured, taking pictures is the last thing on your mind. Your vehicle gets towed, the other person’s insurance company claims the tow truck caused the damage or you are at fault, and the claim is delayed for months.
Hiring a personal injury attorney right away is important in any situation where you are injured. The attorney investigates the scene where the injury took place, talks to witnesses, verifies the weather conditions, takes current pictures and so on. The circumstances, upon investigation, could make it clear you could not have avoided the accident. There was a tree limb blocking the stop sign, signage was confusing or you were forced to swerve to avoid hitting another person.
The statements you made earlier will be used against you. A personal injury attorney will investigate all the facts of the accident to ensure you are not held responsible for something out of your control. If it turns out that you were at fault, the attorney will work to minimize the consequences based on the facts of the case.
Assists with Insurance Company Claim Denials
Sometimes, insurance companies will deny a legitimate claim. They know how difficult it is for individuals to do anything about it once a claim is denied. Insurance companies also use claim denials to force people to accept their settlement offer.
This is particularly true in cases involving commercial insurance and injuries due to events like the use of a defective product. The Insurance Information Institute reports that insurer financial statements report the cost of settling claims as “defense and cost containment expenses.” Note the use of the term “cost containment.” Insurance companies pay for items like surveillance, private investigators, fraud investigators, litigation management, attorney fees, and court fees. In 2018, insurance companies paid $1.3 billion in product liability losses and $861 million on settlement expenses.
Insurance companies are hoping your money is tight, the hospital and doctors are pressuring you for payment and you are having difficulty paying monthly bills. They also have a duty to defend the reputation of the business. This all adds up to you getting very little compensation, unless you have an attorney.
It is no secret that people must fight for their rights when they are injured, even when it is clear someone or a business is at fault. At a time when an injury is disrupting life, trying to maneuver through complex insurance and legal system increases worry and fear. The personal injury lawyer is an advocate, advisor, and expert who can determine the best course of action.
Author information: Hannah is a graduate of the University of Washington in Marketing and English. With dreams of becoming a professional novelist, she also enjoys taking care of her dogs and helping out on her parents’ farm. She loves to read and enjoys cuddling up to a good movie.