If you’ve been involved in a car accident or were injured in a way that leads you to question whether or not you were at fault for your injuries, you might be asking yourself if hiring a personal injury lawyer is really necessary. You may be asking questions like these: “Don’t lawyers cost a lot of money?” “Can’t I just file the paperwork myself?” “Isn’t my insurance coverage enough?” “Do I really need a personal injury lawyer?”
The answer may be no, but you should at least get a free consultation from an attorney you trust before deciding.
For now, the short answer to all of these questions is that it depends. Each situation will differ from person to person and case to case. What’s best for one person might not be the best for another. In general, though, there are a few guidelines you can look at when determining whether or not you really need to hire an attorney. Here are some situations where you’ll definitely want to at least look into hiring one:
- If you sustain injuries during a car accident or other incident that you feel is not your fault and have to stay in the hospital for an extended amount of time or require long term care, it’s probably safe to consider your injuries serious enough to consult a car accident lawyer.
- Similarly, if you experience permanent scarring, the loss of a limb, or loss of bodily function (mobility impairment, permanent back/neck pain, loss of bladder control, etc.), your injuries are very likely considered serious enough to take legal action.
- In a car accident case, if the police report doesn’t say which driver is at fault.
- In a car accident case, if the other driver’s insurance company wants you to sign paperwork that you don’t agree with (trucking companies are notorious for this).
- If your injuries turn out to be worse than you and your doctor originally thought and you feel you weren’t at fault for their cause.
- If your insurance company seems to be downplaying the extent of your injuries or offers you an unfair settlement.
- If your injuries are the result of side effects experienced while taking drugs or using products which are known to be undergoing litigation (Just For Men, for example, IVC filters, and other dangerous drugs and defective products currently under legal scrutiny)
In regards to the other questions posed above, lawyers do have attorney fees, of course, but oftentimes these fees—often referred to as contingency fees—won’t need to be paid upfront and can come out of the earnings of the case. In some situations, not having an attorney will cost you more in court fees in the long run since the plaintiff’s fees can often be waived. Most reputable attorneys will at least give you a free consultation at the outset.
It’s certainly true that many civil cases and car accident claims can be settled without the help of an attorney, but along with the severity of the injuries sustained, the possible complexities of the case need to be considered. Do you have any reason to believe the case might get complicated later on? Is the claim straightforward or are there points the opposing party might want to contest? If anything seems complex, it may be best to at least first speak with an attorney who’s knowledgeable in that area.
Additionally, if you go the route of settling the claim or filing the legal paperwork yourself, you should know that at any time you feel unsure of what you’re doing or need a professional consult, most lawyers are more than happy to consult with you for free and speak with you honestly about your case. When it comes to legal issues, the truth matters. Anything you mistype or misspeak can be used against you in court. When in doubt, it’s better to seek the advice of an attorney than pay the possible price later.
For car accident cases and most injury cases, you will want to consult with a personal injury attorney specifically. Many personal injury attorneys will assist with a wide variety of cases, but personal injury attorneys who focus on car accident cases are sometimes referred to as car accident attorneys. Personal injury attorneys who specialize in product liability cases such as the defective product/dangerous drug cases mentioned above are similarly referred to as product liability attorneys.
A personal injury lawyer like Tad Thomas specializes in all types of personal injury cases, but he and his firm strongly believe in fighting for the health and safety of their clients above everything else. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with Thomas Law Offices today if you’re in the Louisville, KY area and considering seeking legal aid for an accident or injury. We can consult with you and discuss your options for free.