You suffered an accident with serious injuries, and you decide to file a personal injury claim against the party that caused your accident. Unfortunately, you likely already have substantial financial challenges to worry about; medical bills that you have to pay, lost wages due to your inability to work, and a host of other expenses related to your accident.
Many victims also struggle as they face the reality that their normal bills do not get put on hold while they manage the additional financial challenges following a serious accident.
Do you need a lawyer? Can you afford one? Many people avoid making the call to talk to an attorney due to their concerns about the cost. In reality, however, hiring a lawyer to manage your personal injury claim may prove more cost-effective than you may think.
Start With a Free Consultation
Many personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation; this would allow you to sit down with an attorney and get a better idea of the compensation you may deserve and what it will look like to file a personal injury claim. The consultation would also allow an attorney to determine whether your case is right for the firm, and whether the firm wants to accept the claim on a contingent fee basis. During that free consultation, you would acquire information that could help you start to make decisions about your claim.
How Much Is Your Claim Worth?
Many victims have one question that stands out the most in their minds: “How much is my claim really worth?” Knowing the worth of your claim can help you make vital financial decisions following your accident.
When you get a better idea of how much you might receive from a personal injury claim, you can make decisions like:
- How to manage your finances in the meantime. You may need to make vital financial decisions immediately after your accident and in the weeks and even months that follow. A reasonable assessment of the compensation you may deserve could give you the ability to make more reasoned decisions about your claim, and could help gain financial success even amid those hardships.
- What to do about your medical care. A personal injury claim could help pay for many of the medical care expenses associated with your recovery. The liable party would not pay your medical bills directly, but your medical bills could form the foundation of your personal injury claim. If you know that your personal injury claim would not provide adequate funds—for example, if you suffered injuries in a Florida car accident with a driver who carries only minimum auto insurance—you may need to make other arrangements to cover the medical expenses associated with your accident.
- How long you can expect your claim to take. It can take time to resolve a personal injury claim, especially if you have severe injuries or need to make a large claim against the liable party. An attorney could give you a better idea of how long you should expect to wait before you can receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
- When you should accept a settlement offer. Soon after your accident, you may get a call or other form of contact from the insurance company that covers the liable party. The insurance company may want to make a settlement offer. Should you accept it? Accepting that settlement offer can help get compensation in your hands fast, which many victims find incredibly valuable after a serious accident. On the other hand, insurance companies often start by offering lower compensation than the victim really deserves. If you accept that offer, it could minimize the compensation you ultimately receive for your injuries, rather than allowing you to recover the amount you really deserve—and stick you with paying thousands of dollars in bills that the insurance company should have covered. An attorney could help you better understand how much you deserve and prevent you from mistakenly accepting less compensation than you deserve for your injuries.
A free consultation with an attorney could provide you with a wealth of incredibly valuable information to help you navigate your medical needs, your finances, and your plan for filing a personal injury claim following your accident. During that free consultation, you could develop a better understanding of exactly what your personal injury claim might look like and what it would take for you to get the compensation you deserve.
The Cost to Retain a Lawyer: Understanding Contingency Fees
In many cases, personal injury attorneys will take cases on a contingency fee basis. Instead of paying for the cost of the lawyer’s time upfront, payment is made after you win your claim. Personal injury attorneys generally base this fee on a percentage of the funds you win as a result of your personal injury claim, whether you settle out of court or need to go to court to reach an agreement with the insurance company of the liable party or the liable party directly.
An attorney will need to evaluate your claim before deciding whether to accept it on a contingency fee basis. If the attorney does take on your case, however, speak with them about their specific payment structure for more information.
What if You Do Not Win Anything From the Claim?
If an attorney takes your claim on a contingency fee basis and you do not win anything, attorneys will not charge you for the time they spent on the claim. Speak with an attorney for more information about any fees or payment structures they have in place.
What if the Claim Drags on More Than Anticipated?
Typically, an attorney will set out the percentage he or she expects to receive from a contingency fee claim ahead of time. If the claim drags on longer than expected or becomes more complicated than originally anticipated, the attorney typically receives the same percentage of the claim. However, this may vary depending on the attorney and their firm’s common procedures.
Will an Attorney Accept My Case on a Contingency Fee Basis if I Need to Pursue Compensation From More Than One Party?
Depending on the circumstance, you may need to pursue compensation from more than one party after a serious accident. Take an auto accident, for example; in a typical accident, you must pursue compensation from the driver that caused your accident. However, there may be other entities that may share liability for your auto accident, including the driver’s employer (if the driver was on the clock at the time of the accident), or the manufacturer of a vehicle that failed, leading to an accident.
You may need to pursue compensation from all those parties to maximize the compensation you can receive for your injuries and ensure that all liable parties take responsibility for the accident.
An attorney may accept your claim on a contingent fee basis even if you need to pursue compensation from more than one entity. If this is the case, the attorney would generally receive a percentage of each settlement or award. Speak with an attorney for more details about the payment structure of claims against multiple liable parties.
Why You Cannot Afford Not to Talk to a Lawyer
All too many accident victims try to pursue compensation on their own after an accident with serious injuries. In the case of an auto accident, for example, they might assume that they can just go through their own auto insurance company. In the case of a premises liability accident, they might assume that the insurance company will offer reasonable compensation based on their injuries.
In reality, however, an attorney could offer many benefits to your claim. Let their experience and knowledge of personal injury cases work for your benefit.
An Attorney Can Help Increase the Compensation You Receive Even After Legal Fees
In some cases, simply bringing an attorney on board can show the insurance company or liable party that you intend to put in the effort to pursue the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. Many insurance companies will not offer the full compensation you deserve when you pursue compensation on your own, even if you turn down an initial settlement offer. The insurance company may fail to disclose the full compensation you deserve under the terms of the policy, or may try to minimize your injuries.
Many victims find that just letting the insurance company know they need to communicate through an attorney can substantially increase the compensation those victims receive. Once negotiation ends, those victims frequently walk away with more in compensation than they would have if they had handled the claim on their own, even after they take care of their legal fees.
An Attorney Can Help Identify Who Caused Your Accident and Can Help Collect Evidence
A full investigation can offer substantial advantages after a serious accident. First and foremost, an investigation can help establish all parties that contributed to your accident. Many victims do not realize how many parties contributed to the accident. Imagine, for example, that a loved one suffered abuse in a nursing home.
ou know that the nursing home could bear liability for your loved one’s suffering. Further investigation, however, may turn up the fact that the nursing home uses a staffing service to provide temporary employees, and that those employees contributed to your loved one’s abuse. The staffing firm, therefore, may also bear liability.
An attorney could help find evidence of all parties that may share liability for an accident, even those you might not consider right away. You could then file a personal injury claim against each party that contributed to your accident, which may ultimately increase the compensation you could receive.
Second, a full investigation could help prove that you did not contribute to your accident. An attorney can help collect evidence that you did not contribute to the accident, ultimately preventing you from missing out on the compensation you deserve.
Finally, that investigation can help turn up evidence of who caused your accident. The insurance company or liable party may try to show that you do not have enough evidence to justify a personal injury claim. Even if you go to court with your claim, a judge or jury might not offer you as much compensation as you deserve if the evidence does not show who caused your accident. An experienced attorney could help collect the evidence to show exactly how your accident occurred.
An Attorney Can Help You Understand the Compensation You Deserve
If you suffered serious injuries like a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or amputation, you may have high, ongoing medical costs. You may also suffer from ongoing trauma from the accident or limitations that prevent you from enjoying your life. An attorney could help you identify the compensation you really deserve for your accident. With a strong assessment of your claim, you could make a better-educated decision about how long to negotiate and when to accept a settlement offer.
An Attorney Can Reduce Your Stress
Working with an experienced attorney can substantially reduce the stress associated with your personal injury claim. Many accident victims find it stressful to deal with the insurance company, answer questions about the accident, or keep up with all the paperwork associated with the claim.
An attorney could take many of those tasks off of your shoulders. As a result, you can focus on the other aspects of your recovery and simply let your attorney keep you updated about any news regarding your claim.
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident due to the negligence of another party, do not wait. Get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible. Talk to a lawyer today to learn more about your legal rights.