You have just been involved in a car accident or some injury causing event; chances are you have a lot on your mind. You may be looking around for the right doctor, dealing with your insurance company, getting your car fixed, go to physical therapy; you may even have to take off time from work to recuperate or just to get it all done. Regardless of the severity of your injury, here are five reasons why you should hire a personal injury lawyer instead of trying to handle your bodily injury claim by yourself.
THE LEGAL PROCESS IS A LAWYER'S AREA OF EXPERTISE
A bodily injury claim is not as simple as asking the adverse driver's insurance company cover your expenses. There is investigation that needs to be done, collection of documentation, records, back and forth negotiations with insurance adjusters. You may have to acquire witness statements, break through bureaucratic barriers just to get your medical bills...the list goes on and on without consideration to having to file a lawsuit.
Moreover, a layperson, who is not fully knowledgeable of the law, may jeopardize his or her own case. Insurance companies are trained to and routinely will attempt to get a recorded statement from you with the sole purpose of obtaining evidence against you. As is true in any criminal case and in the recitals of your Miranda rights, (i.e. “anything you do or say can be used against you in a court of law” and “you have the right to remain silent”), the same is true in a civil personal injury claim. Though these rights are not the same constitutional guarantees as they are in a criminal prosecution, you can and should preserve the same rights, by analogy and consult with a lawyer immediately following an accident or injury to ensure you do not give evidence that could be damaging to your case.
DETERMINATION OF FAIR AND REASONABLE COMPENSATION SHOULD BE PLAYED ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
Insurance companies, in trying to protect their own personal interests and bottom line, will do anything they can within the boundaries of the law--and sometimes outside the law--to deny a bodily injury claim. Frequently, insurance adjusters equate property damage as a direct correlation to injury; meaning that unless your car is totaled, insurance companies will claim that you could not have been injured at all, or minimally so. And their settlement offers reflect that assertion. But what insurance companies fail to realize is that like lawyers, they too are not doctors. Often times, somebody, maybe you, who was involved in a car accident has a preexisting injury, which means that are more susceptible to further injury. There is a legal doctrine called the “eggshell plaintiff” which says that you take your victim as you find them; in other words, it is immaterial whether a normal or typical person would not have suffered significant injury under the same or similar circumstances.
Regardless, insurance companies know only one mantra, minimize risk and save as much money as possible. This is especially true when the victim does not a lawyer at his/her side. Knowledge is power, and attorneys spend their lives learning the knowledge needed to even the playing field. You have a fair chance in the game when you have lawyer to represent you, otherwise you are up against a massive corporation with unlimited resources and are holding all the cards.
LAWYERS ARE RESULT-ORIENTED FOR A REASON
Generally, personal injury lawyers only are paid when they win your case; this is a called contingency fee arrangement. No other legal arrangement ensures that your lawyer zealously advocates for his or her client more than working on contingency. This makes perfect sense. If you do not get paid, neither will your lawyer. A contingency fee arrangement benefits you, the client, in many ways including:
- Ensures your lawyer will do his or her very best to win your case because the lawyer and his clients interests are perfectly aligned.
- Minimizes and effectively eliminates potential conflicts because your interests are perfectly aligned and do not have incentive to draw the case out that could happen when a lawyer charges an hourly fee.
- It's in the lawyer's best interest to resolve your claim in a timely manner because time is money and most lawyers know that.
- The client has no obligation to come up with money for a retainer or front any costs.
YOU CAN GET MORE COMPENSATION WHEN YOU GET A LAWYER
An attorney knows how to appraise the value of your case on past cases and recent verdict trends, assess risk and credibility, and hire the right experts to make sure you have all the evidence needed to prove your case. The value of your case is what is what the law refers to as damages. This canbe economic and noneconomic in nature. Economic damages is mostly simple arithmetic, you simply add up the medical bills and present a total; it is, however, not always that simple. Part of economic damages are lost wages and when presenting a claim for loss of wages, many times insurance companies require very specific documentation from employers and frequently deny claim for lost wages. In addition, seeking damages for future medical care and loss of earning capacity due to your injury gets significantly more complicated.
Moreover, presenting a claim for non-economic damages is more of an art, rather than a science. Non-economic damages cover. These damages compensate you for losses like pain and suffering, mental pain or anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life activities. Part of a lawyer's job and the whole exercise of a personal injury claim is trying to determine what a jury would award you in damages should you take your case to trial. A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to artfully present your claim to convince the insurance company that should your case go to trial, they could lose big and thus pay up.
IF NECESSARY, A LAWYER CAN TRY YOUR CASE IN COURT
A lawyer, should your case not settle in a timely manner, can take your case to court. Though in today's civil litigation climate, trials happen infrequently at around only 2% of the time, it does happen. And if it does, you will need a skilled advocate, someone who knows the rules of evidence and civil procedure, and courtroom decorum; all things lawyers spend years of their lives learning in a highly competitive setting.
Hiring a lawyer can simply prove and show the insurance company that you are serious in pursuing your claim. Insurance companies do not have time or resources for lengthy trials and often they will offer a fair and reasonable settlement to avoid the risk of losing substantially more at trial.
Simply put, we will help you save time and money. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, you need to contact the Law Offices of Bradley L. Sorrentino today. We are a great team of Connecticut personal injury lawyers with unmatched skill and experience. We take pride in providing the highest quality service, and promise to ease your troubles following a serious accident or injury.