Many people have asked whether they should hire an attorney if they have been injured in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident. This concern is usually followed by, “how much will it cost?” Today’s article will discuss some issues to consider in deciding if you need an accident attorney to handle your injury claim.
There are many facts to consider before you hire an attorney. The first issue you must decide is whether you need an attorney at all. Don’t think just because you’ve been a victim in a car accident or that many attorneys advertise for these cases, that you must have an attorney before filing an injury claim. If you suffered only minor injuries, little or no lost wages, and only minor medical bills, you most likely do not need an attorney at all. You can file a claim for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience you experienced as a result of the accident. In this case your medical expenses and lost wages will most likely be paid from the PIP coverage you have available. You can negotiate your settlement with an insurance adjuster without hiring an attorney. Often these settlements are low enough that they do not warrant the hiring of an attorney.
However, if you sustained a serious or disabling injury, have lost significant work or can’t work at all, or have outstanding medical bills and require future treatment, then you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you. At this point, several new concerns come into play. You may need a skilled attorney to explain your options and see that your interests are protected, during any claim negotiations. The insurance adjuster will not look out for your interests or make sure your settlement is fair.
Many injured victims worry about the cost of hiring an accident attorney. Most car accident attorneys will work on a “contingency fee” agreement. This means that their fee will be “contingent” on the injured victim recovering for their injuries. No recovery means no fee is paid. Usually, a car accident attorney will take a percentage of any recovery you get in exchange for no payment up front and for bearing the risk if you don’t get a recovery. The percentage will vary from attorney to attorney and may also be based on the length and complexity of the case.
Perhaps more important than determining if you need an attorney is determining which one to hire once a decision has been made. We will discuss the qualities you might want to consider in an attorney in our next article. Please check back for; “What to Look for in a Car, Motorcycle, or Truck Accident Attorney.”