Making Changes To Your Life

Should Accident Victims Have A Lawyer Or Not?

by Kristin Hawkins

After a car accident, you might wonder if you will need a lawyer to help with your case. While some accidents call for a lawyer, a few victims make do with filing an insurance claim. Unfortunately, many victims make the mistake of thinking they don't need a lawyer no matter how complex their case is and how serious the injuries. To find out how dangerous it can be to proceed without a personal injury lawyer, read on.

What Did You Just Sign?

It's too easy for accident victims to fall prey to wily insurance adjusters. That can cause you to sign an accident release without realizing what you are giving up. If the accident was the other driver's fault, the accident adjuster for their insurer will contact you and ask you to sign a release for a sum of money. What they may not say, however, is that the money is not likely to be enough and that you have no right to pursue any further compensation once you sign.

You Wanted to Settle Your Case

Make no mistake — settlements are a good thing. These agreements allow victims to get paid quickly so they can get on with their lives. The problem is that some accidents are more complicated and the damages are too numerous for victims to figure out. You may be entitled to not only medical expenses, for example, but also for things like:

  • Lost wages
  • Future medical treatment needs
  • Pain and suffering

You Want to Keep All of the Compensation

Even if you know what you are entitled to be paid, representing yourself in settlement negotiations may not be a good idea. Most lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they get paid a percentage of the settlement money. Unfortunately, you may not understand the intricacies of a settlement that a personal injury lawyer would know. For example, settlements are based on more than just the dollar amount of your losses, they are also based on:

  • Other settlements of recent similar cases in your area.
  • The age and income of the victim.
  • The dollar amount of your medical expenses multiplied by a factor determined by the severity of the injuries.
  • The level of physical pain, misery, psychological damage, and the effect of the accident on loved ones.

There is a lot more to consider and the stakes are higher if you are burdened with a serious or even permanent injury. Don't sell yourself short — speak to a personal injury lawyer about your case and let them take the burden from you. Likewise, A personal injury lawyer can provide further information.