Danger of No Legal Help in an Injury Lawsuit?
You've been injured. You suffer a severe injury in an accident where someone else made a mistake. It might have been turning on a red light … giving you the wrong prescription … letting a damaged property stay open to visitors … even slipping and falling in a store parking lot. If you suffered injury, you deserve some help. Almost in every case, you should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Why hire a lawyer?
Well, there are numerous reasons. You get more compensation. You get legal protection. You get the chance to prove, in court, that mistakes were made. You can right a wrong. You can get the insurance coverage you paid for. Your lost income can be covered. Your relationship with your spouse can get help. There are more reasons for both hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit, but let's leave it at that.
When Not to Hire a Lawyer
When you have a minor claim. If you slip and fall, sprain an ankle, ice it for a few days, and are back to normal in a week, is filing a claim really worth it? If you get hit while driving, and you suffer a minor injury, something which gets you in and out of the hospital in hours, you again don't always need a lawsuit. While there is room in personal injury law for certain kinds of claims, if the injury is minor, if little harm was done, it may be a waste of time. Make this decision with a lawyer, even if it's only a few consultations.
Dangers of Settling Early
If you do suffer injury and liability is clear, in the majority of cases the lawsuit is settled. This is because it saves the insurer – or person who made the mistake – a long, drawn out legal battle which can cost even more. However, they might visit you in the hospital, or give you a call, trying to negotiate a settlement when you have no legal representation. You can usually see right through it; say nothing. If they want to settle before you get a lawyer, ask yourself why, why are they afraid? If you get a lawyer, it boosts your injury claim considerably. That shows you're serious.
Dangers of going to court without a lawyer
You can't win in court without a lawyer. What many insurers and defendants are afraid of is proof, witnesses, and experts. Therefore, they will do their best to avoid court, where a settlement and added legal fees can bankrupt them. Remember, if you hire a lawyer correctly – by using the pay if you win philosophy – going to court won't be a worry. If you go into court without a lawyer, you are making a critical mistake. Ask yourself if you know the first thing about what happens in a court room for a injury claim.
Settling on a Lawyer
Setting goals for what you want for personal injury compensation is good, as are your goals for hiring a lawyer. Since the personal injury process can take many months if not years – until you get better from your injury, or when the full scope of the injury is confirmed – you need not rush into hiring a lawyer. Be critical, look for experience, try negotiating, and start taking steps when you are ready.