Should Amanda Peters let it go?
After surviving brain surgery, Amanda was excited to visit Disney World with her family. Hopping on the Frozen attraction, employees assured her it was a gentle ride, without any major dips. However, the ride was more intense than the employees or warning signs indicated.
During one of the turbulent dips, Amanda hit her head on the seat, rattling her brain. Getting off the ride Amanda was unable to speak without slurring her words, and now she’s launched a personal injury lawsuit against the theme park.
For complex cases like Amanda’s, hiring a lawyer can help you get a larger settlement award. However, you don’t always need a lawyer to maximize your settlement money payout.
If you’re wondering, “Should I hire a lawyer?”, then this article is for you. Read on to learn when you should and shouldn’t hire a personal injury attorney.
1. Situations Where Hiring an Attorney Is a Good Idea
First, let’s look at situations where hiring a lawyer will help you get the most settlement money. Here’s a shortlist of situations where you’ll want a lawyer in your corner:
- You have a serious injury
- You have a serious illness
- It’s unclear who’s at fault
- There are multiple parties in the case
- The insurance company denies the claim
An example of a serious injury would things like a head or eye injury, or compound fractures. Deep lacerations, burns, permanent disabilities, and gunshot wounds also fall under the serious injury category.
However, a serious injury doesn’t have to be physical. It can be psychological such as emotional pain and suffering or mental distress.
2. When Should You Avoid Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Was your accident injury free? If the only damages were property damages then hiring a personal injury lawyer could be a big waste of your time and money.
For instance, let’s say your empty car’s sitting in a parking lot when somebody backs into it and damages the hood. Since the physical damages are mild, and you weren’t hurt in any way, hiring a lawyer probably isn’t necessary. However, if you’re inside your vehicle when it’s hit, even if it’s just a light tap, don’t rule out the possibility of injuries.
Whenever you’re in a car accident, no matter how small it may be, seeking out medical attention is always a good idea. You never know when a simple case of whiplash will develop into a major medical issue down the road. If a doctor can clear you of all possible complications then you can decide to not hire an attorney.
Finally, if an insurance company is offering you a fair claim payout then you should be able to handle things on your own. If you hire a lawyer, even though the insurance company is doing their part, you’ll just be delaying your payout timeline.
3. How to Hire a Lawyer the Right Way
At this point, if you think getting an attorney is in your best interest, then you’ll need to learn how to hire a lawyer you can trust. You can start by getting referrals from friends and family members and then set up a free consultation with potential attorneys.
What to Ask a Lawyer Before Hiring
One of the best ways to find a reputable, trustworthy lawyer is by knowing the right questions to ask. First, find out what the attorney’s experience in handling claims similar to yours. To get the best results, you’ll want to find a bodily injury attorney who specializes in personal injury claims.
Next, ask who will be handling your case. Oftentimes the lawyer you meet in the consultation isn’t the only person who will be helping you settle your claim. The more you know about the team that’s going to be assigned to your case, the easier it’ll be to determine if they’re a good fit for you.
Moving on, ask your lawyer if they’ll be willing to take your case to court if the need arises. Some lawyers are only willing to settle claims outside of the court system. While settling claims outside of the courtroom can help speed things up, it might not be the best option depending on the complexity of your case.
4. Hiring a Lawyer With No Money
Do you want to hire a lawyer but you’re worried you won’t be able to afford it?
The good news is that a lot of personal injury attorneys are willing to work on a contingency basis. Contingency fees mean that the lawyer only gets paid if you do. After settling your claim your lawyer will get a percentage of your settlement award.
As you meet with different lawyers, find out the percentage of your award they require before making any decisions.
5. Personal Injury Claim Mistakes to Avoid
Whether or not you decide you need a lawyer, there are certain personal injury claim mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Here’s a shortlist of the top mistakes you should watch out for:
- Waiting too long to file your claim
- Mistakenly thinking it’s too late to file a claim
- Not filing a claim because you’re partially liable
- Not knowing the extent of your damages
- Failing to provide evidence about the accident
After your accident, do everything you can to collect as much evidence as possible. For instance, medical records, witness testimonies, and a detailed statement about what took place will all help you win your case.
Maximize Your Settlement Money Payout
After reading this article, do you think hiring a lawyer is the best idea for you? When there are major physical damages and severe injuries, receiving settlement money can mean the difference between a partial or full recovery.
Since most attorneys offer free consultations, and sometimes even over the phone, go ahead and start getting referrals from friends and family members today. The sooner you review your case with a lawyer, the easier it’ll be for you to know how to proceed.
For more ways to stand up for your rights, read another one of our articles.