If you've recently experienced a personal injury, you might wonder whether you should hire an attorney to recover compensation from the at-fault party. It's not always the case that hiring a lawyer is necessary, especially if you haven't incurred monetary losses due to the incident.
However, there are many instances where seeking legal help can make all the difference. In this article, you'll learn about eight situations that require the legal services of a personal injury lawyer.
Your Injury Will Prevent You from Returning to Work
Sometimes, a personal injury may be so severe that it prevents you from returning to work. This might mean you're unable to perform the same work tasks or hours, but it could also mean you're precluded from working altogether.
One major category of damages you can recover in a personal injury claim is economic damages. These damages compensate you for your financial losses, both forward and backward-looking.
Decreased earning capacity is a significant category of economic damage. In cases where the dollar figure of this category is likely high, hiring a personal injury lawyer may be necessary.
Attorneys have access to top-notch experts who can accurately assess your damages and help you demand fair compensation. Once you accept a settlement offer, you won't have a second chance at receiving additional funds, so seeking an amount to help you live a fruitful life is critical.
The Insurance Company Denied Your Claim
Insurance adjusters are notorious for undervaluing the claims that they review. After all, they work for a for-profit company and are incentivized to reduce their employer's liability whenever possible. At the extreme, this could mean denying your claim entirely.
You may have legal options if you're in this situation, and a personal injury attorney can help you understand what you should do in response. An experienced lawyer will know insurance companies' tactics to deny claims and can use their skills to level the playing field.
A Third Party Caused Your Workplace Injury
Most states have robust workers' compensation programs that provide aid to people who are injured in workplace accidents. Workers' comp covers the vast majority of employees in the state and offers financial benefits no matter who was at fault for the incident.
However, in some cases, workers' compensation might not cover all your losses. Similar to the motor vehicle accident scenario described above, workers' comp cannot compensate you for non-economic damages such as your pain and suffering.
Depending on the facts of your workplace accident, you may be eligible to file a third-party claim for an additional monetary award. For example, if you were involved in a car accident while making a delivery as part of your job duties.
If you hire a personal injury lawyer, your attorney can handle your workers' comp and third-party claims. The resulting processes may be relatively complicated, and an experienced attorney can help you make the right decisions for your circumstances.
You Intend to Seek Compensation from a Government Entity
Typically, the government protects itself from lawsuits via sovereign immunity. However, state law often establishes that persons may bring specific tort claims against the government; personal injury claims are a subset of tort claims.
If you intend to file a claim against a government entity, you'll almost certainly need the legal services of a personal injury attorney. These cases involve different rules than most personal injury cases and are generally on a stricter timeline. The government will also likely have robust legal representation, so seeking compensation without a strong advocate in your corner is unlikely to work.
You're Not Sure Who's Liable for Your Injury
In many personal injury cases, there's only one liable party to pursue compensation from, and it's obvious who that is—for instance, the other driver in a two-vehicle collision.
In other cases, things might not be as clear. Even in the context of motor vehicle accidents, sometimes numerous parties contributed to the crash and your injuries. How do you go about wading through the possibilities to achieve a favorable outcome?
Your best bet is to hire a personal injury lawyer in this scenario. An attorney can conduct a thorough internal investigation into your accident and determine the best party or parties to file a claim against. While you might be able to "win" your case without doing so, is it a "win" if you could have received substantially more compensation from another party?
You've Suffered a Catastrophic Injury
In personal injury law, it's generally true that the cases involving the most severe injuries are worth the most. Many of the damages a personal injury victim may recover are based on the impact the injury has had (and will continue to have) on their life.
Cases involving catastrophic injuries can be some of the most complex. Sometimes, it may be necessary to enlist the help of experts (like forensic economists and accident reconstructionists) to accurately evaluate the extent of the victim's damages.
Since you cannot subsequently ask for more money after signing a settlement agreement, hiring a personal injury lawyer is best if you've sustained a severe injury. Attorneys can allocate various resources to help understand the full extent of your losses. From there, your lawyer can demand and negotiate for adequate compensation.
You've Sustained Serious Injuries in a Motor Vehicle Accident
Car accidents are the most common personal injury scenario. However, not all car accidents are created equal. Some only result in minor property damage (if anything), while others cause serious, even fatal, injuries.
Further, states differ in how they treat car insurance. Most states, including California and 37 others, have "at-fault" systems, where accident victims can generally file claims or lawsuits against the drivers who caused their crashes.
However, Florida, and 11 other states, are unique regarding their car insurance rules. According to the Miami personal injury lawyers at Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers, these states have "no-fault" systems. In a no-fault state like Florida, drivers can receive (potentially limited) compensation after a car accident regardless of who was responsible, usually through purchasing Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage or something similar.
The tradeoff is that accident victims cannot file a claim against the driver who caused the crash unless their injuries meet the state's "serious injury" thresholds (Florida's statute is referenced here). No-fault insurance only compensates a person for a portion of their lost wages and medical expenses, not for pain and suffering.
Those accidents involving severe injuries may require the legal services of a personal injury attorney, whether or not the victim is located in an at-fault or no-fault state. As discussed above, insurance companies have their bottom lines in mind above all else. Car accident claims involving significant injuries tend to have high value, and a lawyer can help make the most of your compensation opportunity.
You Were the Victim of Medical Malpractice
It's almost always a tragedy when a person is the victim of medical malpractice. People usually see a doctor to help them feel better, not to worsen their condition or create a new ailment.
The healthcare industry is wealthy, and these cases often entail going up against at least one powerful, well-supported insurance company. These characteristics can be both a blessing and a curse.
Your chances of recovering maximum compensation increase significantly if you hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with a medical malpractice case. It's not usually a question of whether the at-fault party has the funds available to compensate you in these cases, which could benefit you. But realizing the true value of your claim may require expert assistance on top of extensive legal services.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Advice
The above are a few scenarios where hiring an attorney may be wise. Notably, most lawyers in this area of the law offer free consultations to review your situation and provide legal advice. And most personal injury lawyers also work for a contingency fee, so they only receive attorney's fees if they win or settle your case.
Due to these considerations, it's at least worth the effort to contact a lawyer and find out whether you have a case requiring their help.
Sagi Shaked is the founder and Main Attorney of Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers, a trusted Miami personal injury law firm. With over 100 years of collective experience, their accident and injury attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for injury victims. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident and suffered injuries, contact them today and schedule a free initial consultation to review your case.