If you’re unlucky enough to become involved in an auto accident or suffer any other kind of injury because of someone else’s fault, you may be confused about what to do. Your family and friends may urge you to see a lawyer and sue immediately, or they may advise you to “tough it out”. There are times when hiring a lawyer is the right thing to do as well as times when it is not.
Hiring a lawyer is not always necessary or even a good idea. In almost every case, however, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer.
The first type of case where you should think twice about hiring a lawyer is where there is only property damage. Because the law only limits you to recovering the fair market value of your property or the amount to repair it, if less, that is all you will receive. This means if your car was worth $10,000.00 and it was totally destroyed, that is all you will get. Likewise, if it takes $2,000.00 to repair your $10,000.00 car, $2,000.00 is what you will receive. It makes no sense to hire a lawyer if you can resolve the matter yourself, because you won’t end up with enough money to repair or replace your car. To their credit, most lawyers want satisfied clients and as a result, they won’t take this kind of case knowing that you won’t be satisfied at the end.
The next type of case where you might be better off without a lawyer is if you suffer only minor injuries, such as where you only visit your doctor one time for treatment or just to get checked out. Insurance adjusters are only going to offer you a nominal amount for your injury, with or without a lawyer. It is CRITICAL, however, to talk to a lawyer and get PROPER MEDICAL TREATMENT. Delays in getting treatment make it harder to establish the link between your injury and the treatment received.
In EVERY accident case you should talk to a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer, who makes their living pursuing these types of cases, generally does so on a contingent fee basis. This means they only get paid if there is a recovery for you. As a result, they are unlikely to take a case where there is no chance of recovery. Statistics show that recovery for an injured party is greater for those who have and attorney rather than handling the matter themselves.
The bottom line is, you should always speak to a lawyer when you have been injured. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You do not have to hire a lawyer just because you talk to them, but it does give you the best opportunity to preserve evidence, avoid issues resulting from delayed treatment and put your case in the best light from the beginning. A lawyer who takes a case on a contingent fee basis won’t do so unless they see a positive outcome for the both of you. It doesn’t guarantee you a positive result, but it improves your chances.