Why Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have the unfortunate experience of an accident caused by the fault and negligence of another with sustaining injuries and expenses, it is very likely you will be subjected to the advice of family, friends, co-workers and the insurance companies. Family, friends and co-workers are great for moral support and help; your insurance company is needed to offset your expenses for medical and vehicle damage.
However, none of these sources will represent your position or properly present your case to opposing counsel or to the court. It is the personal injury attorney retained for your case who will ensure that your position is aggressively represented and that you receive the relief for which you are entitled.
The purpose of this blog is to educate the public, and potential clients, on the benefits and the necessity of retaining a personal injury attorney to review the facts of your case as soon as practicable after an incident. The process of gathering and evaluating evidence, establishing the responsible parties, and negotiating with the insurance company is technical and layered.
There are procedures for specific accident types and injuries, and a missed deadline or an erroneous filing can have devastating effects upon the financial position of you and your family.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
As a general answer, a personal injury is the losses suffered by one that result from the negligent or the reckless act of another. The losses can be both physical and emotional. Personal injuries and damage to personal property result from accidents involving a car or a motorcycle, a slip-and-fall, a dog bite and medical malpractice. In California, these accident types fall under the category of tort law.
Any person suffering from a loss or an injury by the acts of another has the right to be compensated for out-of-pocket and future expenses, property damage, lost wages and emotional distress. These damages are known as compensatory, and it is the goal of a compensatory damage award to position the injured person to the same financial standing as if the accident had not occurred.
Is It Important to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Yes. It is the experience and the expertise of a certified personal injury attorney for your specific accident type to evaluate the merits of a claim and determine the full value of all damages.
It is preferable, and strongly urged, to begin conversations and initial meetings with a personal injury attorney before any conversation with an insurance company. This advice includes your insurance carrier.
It must be understood that your insurance carrier does not represent you, nor does the carrier have your best interests in mind. It is not within the business model of an insurance company to pay a claimant the full value of a damage claim, even the claims of its policyholders.
What is the Objective of a Personal Injury Attorney?
It is the goal of a personal injury attorney to bring objectivity and a qualified view to the facts of a claim. There is a process to identify all parties responsible for an accident, to determine the level of responsibility of each party and to properly represent your interests when proceeding toward a settlement.
As the claim advances, the personal injury attorney can then determine the best course of action—to either continue to negotiate with the insurance companies involved or file a lawsuit in civil court.
This process will also involve the client’s cooperation with the scheduling of medical appointments, gathering of paid receipts and keeping a personal journal of entries for evidence of physical and mental health.
Will There be Negotiations Involved?
Yes, and the negotiations and the offers of settlement will be presented in the early days after an accident in the hope of acceptance before the involvement of a personal injury attorney.
These negotiations will involve all the insurance companies, their attorneys and, perhaps, the attorney representing the other driver. While the early settlement offers will sound fair and may cover all current out-of-pocket expenses, there is no way for you to determine if the offer represents all the relief to which are entitled.
It is the experience and the expertise of a personal injury attorney who will know to calculate the value of lost wages and earning capacity in the future, pain, suffering and mental anguish. These categories, too, fall into the definition of compensatory damages to which an injured party is entitled to relief.
There is no legal requirement to retain a personal injury attorney to represent your position. However, it will be from the attorney’s experience and resources that will properly evaluate the full amount of a damage claim and proceed toward collection and relief.
There is no other way for an injured party to know the fairness of a settlement offer without the advice and the guidance of a personal injury attorney.