The legal system is complex, requiring the experience, knowledge and skill of a dedicated attorney where compensation is sought for a serious injury. Mistakes can result in injured victims receiving substantially less compensation. An experienced attorney can make sure all legal rights are fully protected and the compensation awarded is fair, reasonable and the maximum allowable by law.
Injured in an Accident: Should you Hire an Attorney?
When a person has been injured in an accident, they often wonder if they should hire an attorney. Questions that arise include how much an attorney charges and whether it is important to hire an attorney and if so, why.
In most cases, including all serious injury cases, there is only one reasonable answer: Yes, you need an attorney as that is the best way to ensure that your legal rights are fully protected and enforced. Typically, an attorney will provide a free and confidential consultation to assist you in making this important decision.
Your Attorney Helps Make Sure You Don’t Lose your Claim Entirely
Even for a personal injury claim that may seem very straightforward, there can be multiple complex limitations, requirements, and deadlines in order to proceed and a claim may be lost entirely when these are not satisfied. A capable, experienced personal injury attorney is familiar with these types of details and ensures that nothing is missed.
Your attorney helps ensure you are not awarded less than you are entitled to
An injured victim may never know whether all their rights were properly evaluated, considered, protected and enforced. An attorney is able to skillfully advocate for and represent your rights.
Insurance companies are unlikely to properly consider the claims of injured victims—the insurance company is representing the interests of their insured, not the victim. Moreover, the insurance company has trained lawyers, investigators and claims representatives working on their behalf, placing the injured victim at an extreme disadvantage without an attorney of their own.
The Attorney You Hire is a Major Component in the Potential Value of Your Claim
The value of a personal injury claim can be substantial (even millions of dollars), but depends on both the particular facts of the case AND the capability and experience of the attorney representing the injured victim. Knowing each of the legal elements of the damages allowed by law, and how to properly prove those damages is essential if the injured victim is to be awarded all the compensation to which they are legally entitled. Finding insurance coverage requires knowing where to look, and this is often not obvious. Once insurance coverage is found there can be complicated coverage issues and policy exclusions which an attorney must navigate to ensure there is insurance to pay for the damages legally owed.
Personal Injury Attorneys Work on a Contingent Fee Basis
Typically, experienced personal injury attorneys work on what is commonly called a contingent fee agreement. These agreements provide for the attorney to receive a percentage of the financial recovery obtained for the injured victim, and if there is no financial recovery, the injured victim will not owe anything for attorney fees.
In this way, the injured victim obtains capable legal representation without any risk of having to pay expensive legal fees in advance from their own pocket. At the same time, being capably represented by an experienced professional can reap very substantial benefits to the injured victim. If and when the injured victim receives an award the attorney then receives an agreed percentage of that award for the attorney fees.
The attorney must diligently and competently pursue the client’s objectives, maintaining good communication, confidentiality and avoiding conflicts. A client should feel trust and confidence in the attorney’s experience, capability and dedication to pursuing the best result for the client. See State Bar of California Rules 1.1 through 1.18.
If you have already decided to hire an attorney and need assistance choosing the right attorney to handle your case, read our article “How to Find a Personal Injury Attorney".