A common question is do you really need to hire a personal injury lawyer if you've been injured in an accident. In short, yes - assuming you hire the right attorney. If you have been injured in an accident that wasn't your fault (or wasn't entirely your fault), here are 5 reasons why it is critical to hire a personal injury attorney:
Local LawsWithout hiring an accident lawyer, you will know know the local laws applicable to your claim or whether you are entitled to bring a claim. Every State has some unique laws when it comes to assessing whether you are entitled to compensation following an accident. These laws range from the time period you need to bring your claim, the process to resolve your claim, whether insurance may be available to your claim and the limits on the amount you can claim. For example, in your State the laws applicable to a work accident (workers compensation) may be different than the laws applicable to a car accident or medical malpractice.
Value of your ClaimWithout a lawyer, you will not know the true value of your personal injury claim. As noted above, each State has its own laws which may impact the amount you can recover for your claim. In addition, a lawyer will be able to understand the application and exceptions to those laws in a way to maximize the value of your claim. A lawyer will also ask you questions and obtain other information to understand how your claim may impact your life in the future so you can maximize the amount you are entitled to under State laws.
Legal ProcessThe legal process can be complicated, and there is strategy associated with when to commence steps in the legal process. Without a lawyer, it will be challenging to understand the process to bring a claim or the documents you require to properly settle or resolve your claim. If you don't follow the correct legal process, you may significantly prejudice or lose your claim entirely. Even worse, if you deal with insurance companies directly they will not help you to ensure you are doing what is necessary to preserve your claim or to maximize your claim. Hiring a lawyer helps you preserve your legal rights.
Like anything in life, creating some leverage can create an advantage for you. If you have a personal injury claim, creating leverage against those that you are hoping pay you for your potential lawsuit is important. Hiring a lawyer demonstrates to insurance companies or other persons that you intend to protect your rights and intend to recover the amounts you are entitled to at law (including bring a lawsuit if necessary). Without a lawyer, it is more likely that an insurance company will ignore your claim or present you with a "low ball" offer. Hiring a lawyer helps prevents this.
Timely ResolutionA lawyer is typically incentivized to resolve your claim as quickly as possible. When taking on personal injury claims, attorneys are typically only paid after they settle your claim (called a "contingency fee"). Thus, a lawyer typically wants to move your claim forward as quickly as possible while maximizing the amount you are entitled to recover. Furthermore, after you hire a lawyer and if you have a legitimate claim, an insurance company will be aware it owes you money and will want to avoid hiring legal counsel to defend the claim to reduce its own costs. This all helps resolve your claim quickly. If you decided not to hire a lawyer and contacted an insurance company directly, they have no incentive to resolve your claim in a timely manner.
It is important to keep in mind that the above applies to any type of accident, whether it is a car accident, bike accident, pedestrian accident, work accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, assault or other type of accident. A personal injury lawyer will be able to assist with any type of accident.
Yes. You are able to bring a claim on your own as a "self represented" litigant. To do this, you would need to either attempt to contact the insurance company of the individual who caused the accident and attempt to settle the claim or file a claim in the State where the accident occured (there may be exceptions to that rule in different States).
Be mindful that if you do not bring a claim within the period prescribed in the "statute of limitations" in your applicable State, you will likely lose your right to bring a claim. It is not recommended to attempt to resolve your claim on your own. While an insurance company that provides accidental injury insurance (or general liability insurance) to a person who caused an accident is legally responsible for the amount of your claim, there is no obligation on that insurance company to pay the full amount of your claim. Thus, the insurance company is incentivized to pay you as little as possible. Injury attorneys can help prevent this.
Well, this is an extremely difficult question. If you are not a lawyer, without an incredible amount of research and experience, the reality is you really won't know what your claim is worth. Don't rely on the internet by searching "car accident settlements", as this will not be helpful in determining what your claim may be worth. You can always visit your nearest law library and start the research process and see what you can determine on your own. In short, you are generally entitled to recover the following types of damages if you've been injured in an accident that was not your fault:
- Damages for the actual injuries (in an amount which is often determined on the nature and severity of your injuries);
- Damages for any lost or damaged property in your accident;
- Damages for the costs of your medical expenses (including potential future medical expenses);
- Damages for any loss of income or employment related losses (including potential loss of future income); and
- Damages for any inability to participate in social or recreational activities.
The above is only an example of the types of damages that you can generally recover following an accident, as the damages you may be entitled to may vary from State to State or depending on the type of accident. As noted above, in your State there may be a different legal regime applicable if you were involved in a work accident than if you were in a bike accident or if you were injured by a doctor (malpractice).
Yes, each State will have a law that defines the period you must commence a legal claim after an accident. Commencing a legal claim typically means actually filing a claim before the appropriate court (there will likely be different types of court in your State for different types of claims). For example, in Kentucky you may only have one (1) year to bring a personal injury claim following certain accidents, while in North Dakota you may have five (6) years to bring a claim following an accident (those periods are examples only - and legal advice should be sought to confirm the period of time you need to bring a claim in your State).
If you do not file your claim in the period of time required by law, you will likely lose your right to bring a claim and will no longer be entitled to any compensation.
So you believe you should hire a personal injury lawyer but you don't know where to start? Hiring the right attorney can be complicated and time consuming. Even worse, there are personal injury attorneys advertising everywhere. How do you know who the best lawyer is to hire? How do you know what lawyer will get you the best value for your claim? Everyone wants to find the top injury lawyer, as not all lawyers are equal.
That is the exact problem we at Adidem solve for you. We use software to simplify the process to hire a personal injury lawyer and to provide you with the relevant information you need to help decide which is the best personal injury lawyer to hire following your accident.
We also allow any personal lawyer in the State of your accident to sign-up to use Adidem. No restrictions, no-sign-up fee and no exclusivity with any particular firm or lawyer. Rather than you having to look for the right lawyer, we bring the legal market to you.
This is important, as Adidem:
- can provide you with access to the broader legal market in your State without you needing to contact all those lawyers;
- allows any lawyer with an opportunity to offer their services for your claim;
- allows you to obtain information with respect to your claim to determine which lawyer you may want to hire (like how much you will likely recover in a settlement); and
- makes lawyers compete for your work.
Here is how Adidem works.
If you'd like to skip the process of interviewing lawyers and have Adidem get proposals from lawyers for you, click below to start your claim now.