When an individual gets injured, the first thing on their mind is usually getting better. However, whether the injury is physical or psychological, someone is liable for what happened. Getting a lawyer may seem like overkill. But for many people, it is absolutely necessary. This is an incredibly tough time for those forced to endure the pain and suffering. If you find yourself in this situation you may be wondering, when should I hire a personal injury lawyer?
The safest answer to the question is to do it as soon as possible. Even if it turns out that you do not need a lawyer for your particular case, it doesn’t hurt to inquire. Certain types of cases, especially medical ones, have a statute of limitations. If you put off hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit, you may not be eligible for restitution if you have waited too long. The details are murky and for someone not involved in the legal process, it may be overwhelming. Consult a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you are going down the right path.
- What Types of Cases do Personal Injury Lawyers Take?
- Why is a Personal Injury Lawyer Necessary?
- How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
- When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
- How Do I Find a Personal Injury Attorney?
What Types of Cases do Personal Injury Lawyers Take?
People often have a certain image of personal injury lawyers in their heads. The ones on the billboards saying “If you were hurt in a car accident, you may be owed money.” And yes, those are definitely personal injury lawyers! But what many people don’t realize is that these lawyers will work on many different types of cases, even ones you may not consider an “injury”.
The umbrella of Personal Injury is quite wide. Of course, consult a lawyer to cover all of your bases, but below are the most common cases taken by these lawyers.
This does not just mean a vehicle-on-vehicle crash. Yes, that is covered as well, but there are many other types of vehicle accidents a lawyer will take a case for. You could hire a lawyer for a bus accident, a train accident, or if you are a bicyclist as well. Accidents occurring on a boat are another very common reason for a person to hire a personal injury accident lawyer.
Over 17,000 cases are filed for medical malpractice every year in the United States. The statistics are quite alarming when you realize how often this occurs. For this reason, a huge amount of doctors in the US carry medical malpractice insurance. Accidents happen, and if you happen to be the victim of malpractice, be sure to consult a lawyer to ensure you get what you are owed.
Any accident occurring at a workplace is the liability of the employer. For this reason, most states require any business with employees to have Workers Compensation insurance. Although it’s possible to negotiate these personal injury claims yourself, having a professional work with the insurance companies is often less daunting and much more rewarding in the end.
The most common type of accident occurring within this realm is a slip and fall. If you are injured due to the negligence of a property owner, you are entitled to compensation. Finding an experienced personal injury lawyer that specializes in premises liability law will be your best bet to receive your rightful compensation.
Why is a Personal Injury Lawyer Necessary?
In the situation of personal injury, the worst thing that could happen is you do not get compensated for your injuries. The fear of confrontation or negotiation often prevents individuals from properly fighting for their claims. Hiring a lawyer to take care of the details will leave you time to focus on your recovery.
Quite often, dealing with these situations can be the most difficult time in a person’s life. Having to deal with the complexities of the legal process in addition to healing will leave you overwhelmed. A professional lawyer versed in personal injury law will handle paperwork, negotiating with insurance companies, finding you doctors if necessary, and much more.
An open secret in the insurance world is that they are not there to protect you. They exist to protect their clients. In a battle with an insurance company, an individual will often get unfavorable treatment compared to one with a lawyer. In cases that settle (which most personal injury cases do), a lawyer will know what your case is worth. While you may be willing to settle for less, your lawyer has fought these cases before and will be sure to fight for every dollar possible.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
A common barrier to the hiring of a lawyer is the cost. And this hesitation makes sense. Lawyers get paid very well and legal fees do not come cheap. However, in the case of personal injury, lawyers often structure their payment in a way that negates the need of the client from having to pay upfront, if at all.
Most personal injury attorneys will work based on what is known as a “contingency”. What this means is the client does not pay any money unless they win the case! In this circumstance, winning the case would include a settlement as well. If the case is lost, the lawyer is not owed any money. Most lawyers receive anywhere from 33% to 40% of the final dollar amount.
Here is an example: say you have hired a lawyer on contingency for your personal injury case. In the end, the case is settled for $100,000. If your lawyer was working on a 40% contingency, then once the payment has been sent by the defendant, you will receive $60,000 and the lawyer will receive $40,000. If the case was lost, the lawyer would get nothing.
This may seem quite high, but remember that lawyers are often able to get more money for the settlement than you would alone. Additionally, this structure incentivizes the lawyer to fight for more money. If you end up winning more, they get paid more. It’s a win-win for both parties.
In the above example, nothing was paid upfront. Many people who are fighting these cases do not have the financial means to do so alone. So having a lawyer who works on this structure is ideal for both parties. It allows you to focus on recovery without worrying about money, and it makes the lawyer come up with an airtight case to ensure a win.
Related: How Do Lawyers Make Money? 5 Ways…
When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When it comes to hiring a personal injury lawyer, there is no such thing as too soon. The conventional wisdom is that you should engage a lawyer as soon as you are able. Even if you only have minor injuries and don’t believe you need a lawyer, you should nonetheless schedule a consultation. Even small injuries can cause you to lose productivity at work or impair your standard of living, making you a candidate for compensation.
There are also a few financial advantages to speaking with a lawyer. To begin with, the majority of attorneys provide free consultations. They’ll speak with you and gather information about your case before deciding whether it’s worth fighting. As a result, you should always seek a consultation at the very least. There’s nothing to lose, and it’ll tell you whether or not you have a case.
Second, as previously indicated, not only is the consultation free, but most lawyers work on a contingency basis. They provide free consultations because it allows them to take on situations that they are confident will be successful. When working on a contingency fee basis, a lawyer must be confident that they can win; otherwise, they will not receive any compensation at the end of what might be a lengthy process.
How Do I Find a Personal Injury Attorney?
There are many ways to go about finding a lawyer for your situation. Below are just a few ways but be aware that this is not an exhaustive list.
Quite often one of the best ways to find a lawyer is a referral. Asking friends, family, and colleagues for advice will allow you to get firsthand advice. Receiving information from someone you trust beats anonymous recommendations every time, so try this method first and you might just find the perfect lawyer for you.
Lawyer Referral Service
Most cities have local referral services that can connect you to a lawyer. If you feel overwhelmed by the situation, this is a great place to reach out. You can inform them of your situation, and they will connect you to a lawyer who fits your case. Note that these services sometimes charge a fee, whereas going directly to the lawyer can oftentimes result in a free initial consultation.
Although perhaps not the greatest option, a quick online search can yield a large number of results for you. The downside with online searches is that firms can pay to show their results first regardless of pedigree, and when reading reviews you have to trust anonymous sources. On the other hand, having a place to read hundreds of reviews before engaging the services of a lawyer can make you feel much more comfortable with your choice. If there’s a lawyer that has 5 stars overall with hundreds of reviews, they are likely pretty good at their job.
No matter which method you use to find a lawyer, speak with them first to ensure you are comfortable. Hiring a lawyer is a personal decision and you will be talking about very sensitive matters. You want your lawyer to be easy to talk to and understanding of what you are going through. Choosing the right lawyer will allow your experience to be as simple and smooth as possible.
If you are someone you know is considering hiring a lawyer, we highly recommend this site, where you can get a free, no hassle consultation from an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.
Evan Diaz is a writer and editor from Florida. He recently received his MBA and enjoys writing about finance, travel, and anything that requires some research. In his free time, Evan loves photography and spending time with friends and family.