As leading Orange County personal injury attorneys, we receive plenty of phone calls every week from members of the public. One of the more common questions they ask is, “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?” or “Do I need a lawyer for a personal injury claim?”
This is a hard question to answer in the abstract. Generally, an injured person will always benefit from a lawyer’s assistance. Lawyers understand what you need to prove to be successful, and they are skilled at finding evidence to bolster your case. But you typically only need a lawyer if you have suffered significant financial losses. Read on for more information about when you will need a personal injury attorney.
Have You Suffered Serious Injuries?
You definitely should have a personal injury attorney if you have suffered bad injuries that require significant medical treatment. The purpose of a lawsuit is to compensate you for your losses incurred because of an accident, and serious injuries usually warrant serious compensation.
For example, you should consider hiring an attorney if you have suffered any of the following:
- Concussion or traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Facial disfigurement
- Nerve damage
The key is to analyze how long it takes to recover from the injury, because this is how insurance companies will calculate how much they are worth. The more serious the injury, the more compensation you will need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Is it Unclear Who Is at Fault for the Accident?
Before you can receive compensation, you need to identify who is responsible for the accident that injured you. California is a “fault” state, which means that only the person who is to blame for an accident must pay compensation to injured victims. If someone wasn’t at fault, you can’t sue them.
Often, responsibility for a crash is clear. For example, you might have been T-boned in an intersection by someone running a red light, in which case the driver who struck you is obviously to blame.
But with other accidents, it is not clear who is to blame. For example, you might have been involved in a 20-car pileup on the freeway. Do you know which driver started the chain reaction, or which driver is responsible for the pileup? An attorney can help you sift through evidence to identify the at-fault party, allowing you to recover fully from your injuries.
Is the Insurance Company Engaging in Bad Faith?
Insurance companies should swiftly investigate an accident and pay out a claim when liability has been established or is clear from the get-go. If an insurance company is being difficult, then you might need a personal injury attorney in your corner. A lawyer knows how to negotiate and can hold insurance companies accountable when they rely on shady tactics to deny claims.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney Today
Even if the above apply, you might not want to hire a lawyer. Remember, lawyers will take at least one third of any settlement you receive, so sometimes it makes sense to represent yourself, especially if the dollar value of your case is low. You can submit a claim with an insurance company on your own or bring a lawsuit in small claims court if you are not seeking a large sum of money.
For help analyzing your case and deciding if you need legal help, meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Orange County for more information. RMD Law has proudly represented many accident victims, and you can contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.