Millions of Americans are injured each year in totally preventable accidents. Luckily, accident victims have strong legal protections that allow them to file claims for compensation, alleviating the sometimes significant financial burden for themselves and their families. However, you may be wondering: if I am injured, at what point should I hire a lawyer? Here is what you should consider when deciding whether to hire a personal injury attorney.
How serious is your injury?
Not every injury is serious enough to warrant hiring an attorney. If your injury is relatively minor, for example does not require extensive medical attention or resolves within a few days, you may be able to deal with filing insurance claims for property damage or other accident-related damages on your own. However, if your injury required hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, or orthopedics, or pain and symptoms persist for more than a few days, you should absolutely consider consulting with an attorney.
Do you think your injury was caused (at least in part) by someone else’s negligence?
In order to prevail in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you need to be able to prove that your accident and injuries were partially or wholly caused by someone else’s negligence. California is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, which means that you only need to prove that the other party was partially at fault for your injuries. Even in situations where your own actions may be partially to blame, you may still be entitled to legal compensation proportionate to the court’s determination on fault. If you have any doubts about who is at fault, a personal injury attorney can review the evidence and advise you as to the strength of your case before you agree to hire them.
Is an insurance company representative or attorney contacting you?
Even if you feel your case is relatively straightforward and can be handled personally, the situation gets much trickier when the other party’s insurance company or attorney get involved. Both are well-resourced professionals with one goal in mind: to reduce their or their client’s losses. They will often take advantage of less-informed accident victims to obtain statements or documents that can undermine the strength of your case, in order to lower the amount of your injury compensation. When facing these organizations, you need an informed and resourceful attorney to advocate on your behalf. If you are contacted by the other party’s insurance representative or attorney, refuse to talk to them, and instead direct them to your personal injury lawyer.
Is the other party to the accident or their insurance provider offering an unreasonably low amount, refusing to pay, or disputing the other party’s liability?
Every party to a personal injury dispute is either seeking to maximize their gains or minimize their losses. This calculus is especially true when third parties, such as insurance companies and attorneys, are introduced into the mix. It is important that you hire a personal injury attorney to ensure that your rights are protected if at any point during negotiations you feel that the other party or their representatives are trying to lowball your claim, dragging their feet, obstructing your claim, or potentially acting in bad faith. If formerly cordial negotiations appear to be heading south, it may be a good time to call a lawyer.
The Dominguez Firm is an award-winning personal injury firm in Southern California. Our personal injury attorneys take cases on a No Recovery, No Fee basis—which means we don’t get paid unless you win your case. With The Dominguez Firm, you can be confident that you are getting premier legal representation without the risk of predatory fees. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call our firm at 800-818-1818 for a free consultation about your case.