Yes.  A personal injury attorney can be invaluable to you and your family if you have been injured in a car crash, truck crash, fall, or other type of personal injury as a result of someone else’s carelessness.   Granted, there are times when a lawyer just isn’t needed and I have told friends, family, even potential clients just that.  If you have been in a car crash or fell on someone’s property but you were lucky enough to escape without any injuries at all, you likely don’t need an attorney.  Similarly, if you suffered only a very minor injury requiring one or two doctor visits, you can probably handle the claim yourself – but there are always exceptions.

After an injury, you will quickly feel like you are being pulled in many different directions.  If you have been in a car accident, for example, you will have to figure out if your car should be repaired or totaled, how you get a rental car, what doctor you should see for your injuries, who is going to pay your medical bills, what you do about missing work, who will handle household duties while you are laid up?  What issue should you address first?

These are some of the things that an injury attorney can help with.  He or she can advise you regarding your property damage claim, your personal injury claim, and your lost wages claim.  It is common for the insurance adjusters – both for the driver who struck you and your own insurance company – to start calling you right away.  These calls can be confusing, intrusive, and overwhelming.  It can help to have someone on your side who can speak for you and deal with these phone calls.

Oftentimes, I hear people who have been injured make comments such as “Oh, I could never afford to pay an attorney to help me with my car accident claim”; “I don’t really think I’m that hurt”; “The insurance adjuster is being really nice to me so I will just work with her”; “I have a police report so there is no way the insurance company can deny the claim”; “The adjuster told me they would pay all of my medical bills so I don’t need an attorney”; “I think I have read enough on the internet to do this myself”.  It is important to know that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee which means the attorney takes most of the risk.  In most instances, attorneys working on a contingent fee do not get paid by the hour – they get paid at the end of the case, only if a recovery is made.  It is very common for people to feel like they are not hurt immediately following an impact because of the shock and adrenaline.  Eventually, that wears off and the pain sets in.  Sometimes too, pain can go away for a few days and then come back.  The insurance companies will usually try to contact you right after a crash to try to catch you when you are not thinking clearly.  It is important that you seek counsel before speaking to the adjuster and follow the advice of your doctors regarding your injuries. It is also very common for the insurance adjusters to be very friendly, tell you that everything is going to be okay and that they will “take care of you”.  Remember, they are paid to protect the bottom line.  Make sure you have someone on your side.

*This was originally posted on The Legal Examiner, March 6, 2014.


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