If you have recently been involved in an auto accident, you may be wondering if you really need to hire an attorney to handle your claim. After all, attorneys will take a percentage of the compensation you recover (generally about one third), so is it really worth it to hire one?
The short answer is, “not always”. Now this answer may surprise you coming from a law firm blog, but the truth is that there are a number of cases in which hiring a lawyer is simply not necessary. That being said, it is always a good idea to at least talk with the lawyer about your case.
Nearly all personal injury lawyers provide free consultations, so all it will cost you is a little bit of your time to have your case reviewed and find out where you stand. You never know if there might be complicating factors (in your case) that you were not aware of, and a case assessment from a legal professional will allow you to make the most informed decision about how you wish to proceed.
When Would it Make Sense Not to Hire a Lawyer for my Auto Accident?
Here are some instances in which hiring an attorney might not be necessary:
There were No Injuries
Generally, if no one was hurt in the accident and all you are dealing with is property damage, then you probably do not need an attorney. In a case like this, your potential for recovery is much lower, and it would not be worth it. One word of caution, however. There are some cases in which there are no visible injuries, but injuries are discovered later on. This can happen when there is a delayed onset of symptoms, which is common with some types of auto accident injuries. Before concluding that there are “no injuries”, be sure to get checked out by a qualified medical professional.
Injuries are Minor and Without Complications
Maybe you are a little banged up, but your injuries seem minor and you do not expect to miss more than a couple of days of work because of them. This is another case where the potential settlement amount is low and giving a third of it to an attorney probably doesn’t make sense. But as we talked about in the previous point, be careful not to conclude that your injuries are minor without a full medical exam.
Some injuries only appear to be minor, but complications arise later on, and it turns out they are much more serious than you first thought. If you settle a claim like this too quickly with the insurance company, you could end up being stuck with additional medical bills and more time missed from work and no way to get compensation for it.
You Believe Your Settlement Offer is Fair
Maybe you have received an offer already from the insurance company to settle your claim, and you believe the offer is fair. For example, you have minor injuries without any complications, and you have been fully checked out by a medical professional. And after all of this, you are presented with an offer from the insurer.
This would appear to be a case where you can take the settlement offer and move on with your life. But as we talked about earlier, it never hurts to at least run it by an attorney to make sure everything is in order.
At Hedge Copeland, our attorneys are happy to give you an honest assessment and let you know if it is a good offer or not. If we don’t think we can do any better than what they are offering (based on all of the factors in your case), then there is no reason for us to get involved.
When You Might Need an Attorney
There are a lot of cases in which having an attorney is crucial in order to make sure your legal rights are protected, and you are in the best possible position to recover maximum compensation. Here are some instances when you would definitely want to consider hiring an attorney:
- You suffered moderate to severe injuries.
- You are likely to miss several days or more from work because of your injuries.
- Your injuries may require ongoing care.
- Your injuries have had a significant impact on the quality of your life.
- There is a question over who was at fault for the accident.
- There are multiple parties that could be responsible for the accident.
- The insurance company is treating you unfairly.
If these or similar complications exist, then you are probably going to want legal representation. Your attorney will deal directly with the insurance company and negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf, and they will be ready to take your case to trial if necessary.
At Hedge Copeland, we have no qualms about litigating the case when the other side is not acting in good faith. Sometimes, just filing the lawsuit alone is enough to show the other side that you are serious and bring them to the negotiating table.
If you or someone close to you was injured in an auto accident in Alabama, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation and case assessment. To get started, message us online or call our office today at (251) 432-8844.