From falls to car accidents to animal bites, unanticipated emergency situations can be incredibly stressful. In the midst of the chaos, you may wonder whether you should hire an attorney or if you can handle the situation on your own. When deciding whether to hire a personal injury lawyer or to go at it alone, there are a few questions to ask yourself to make the right decision.
How serious is your injury?
Not all injuries require the use of an attorney. When an injury occurs, you should begin to evaluate the severity of the injury. Severity can be measured by things like the type of injury occurred, length of recovery time, and current and future medical costs you may incur.
According to The National Law Review, if you suffered only property damage or minor injuries and you have the time to work on the legal and insurance claims on your own, you may be able to confidently settle your own claim. However, you may want to consider hiring a personal injury attorney for any injury that lasts longer than a few days and requires extended time off of work and costly hospitalization, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and other follow-up services. Long-term and permanently disabling injuries can impact your employment and quality of life and an attorney can help you get appropriate compensation.
Did unsafe work conditions contribute to injury or death?
Every year more than 4,500 people die on the job and 4.1 million suffer serious job-related injuries or illness, according to OSHA. Even the most careful employees can still get injured on the job if work conditions are unsafe. If you or a loved one sustained a serious injury at work that resulted in time off, pain, or a disability, and are having difficulty receiving compensation, you may want to contact a lawyer with workers compensation experience.
Are you having issues with insurance representatives?
After filing an insurance claim following an auto accident or other incident, you'll likely hear from your insurance company as well as the other party's insurance company. The companies hope to reduce losses by minimizing pay out amounts when an incident occurs, so these conversations can be frustrating and complicated. According to The National Law Review, they may try and get you to make statements that are ultimately harmful to your claim or make blanket statements that allow them to dig through your records. It is recommended that you tell these insurance representatives that you are contacting a lawyer and don’t sign anything until an attorney has looked it over.
Other tactics, such as unreasonable delays, not paying you even when liability is not in dispute, or making lowball offers may also be used by insurance representatives. A personal injury lawyer can help put an end to these hassles and help when an insurance company negotiates in bad faith.
Was serious injury or death caused by medical malpractice?
Unfortunately, incidents aren't uncommon in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. You should consult with an attorney immediately if you think someone else's negligence or incompetent treatment is to blame for the serious injury or death of a loved one. Proving fault in court can be tricky, particularly in medical malpractice situations, and these complicated cases often involve going up against experienced doctors, nurses, and the medical facility's legal team. A lawyer can help you strengthen your claim and guide you through the lengthy process.
How comfortable are you with the law and process?
If you feel confident with your knowledge of the law and ability to research, organize, and negotiate your way through the process, you may be able to handle a case yourself. However, personal injury cases can take years, and lawyers work their whole lives to become experts in the law so you don’t have to. If you don't have the time, knowledge, or resources to dedicate to a case, you may find it best to hire an experienced attorney and return to your daily routine as quickly as possible.