If you’ve been injured in an accident, it may take some time to process the true extent of your injuries and what you need to do next. While you spend time recovering, you may find yourself concerned with the current state of your finances and your physical and mental health. Over time, you may wonder when to hire a personal injury lawyer to seek fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Taking legal recourse can come with many questions and concerns before proceeding.
This guide reviews why you may want to speak with a lawyer sooner rather than later.
The Process of Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re unsure when to hire a personal injury lawyer, begin with a free consultation. This allows you to discuss your potential attorney’s legal processes and decide if they would be most fit to represent you if you choose to take legal action. When you’re preparing to meet with a personal injury lawyer, ensure you gather any relevant information, evidence, records, and reports so that they have all the facts needed to give you solid advice. However, our team at Bergeron Clifford doesn’t require any of this during your initial consultation with us. We will welcome you into our office or meet with you wherever is most convenient and listen to your story regarding your accident. After this meeting, we may require more details regarding your potential claim. From there, we can let you know whether you have a case worth pursuing, the claim’s potential value, and what comes next should you choose to work with us.
Before taking a case to court, a lawyer will attempt to settle with the other side’s insurance company or the defendant. Sometimes it’s in the plaintiff’s best interest to accept the proposed settlement, especially if the evidence makes it apparent they’re likely to lose in court. If a settlement offer is denied, an attorney will begin the discovery process, gathering all the evidence and statements needed to build your case.
One last attempt to settle happens right before a court or tribunal hears the case. Then the legal system decides whether you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries. The court also determines what constitutes fair compensation, awarding you damages based on several factors, including your medical bills, time off work, pain and suffering, and whether you suffered life-changing injuries.
Reasons to Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re wondering when to hire a personal injury lawyer, it’s probably about time you spoke with one. At Bergeron Clifford, our team can provide you with insights that research alone will not give you. If you have encountered any of the following scenarios on your journey to seek fair compensation, we can also give you insights and legal options for handling them.
Depending on numerous factors influencing your claim, your insurer may be skeptical of your injury and estimate a different settlement amount than you expected. For example, your insurance claim might be denied if you’re in a slip and fall accident at work. The insurance company might argue that your insurance should foot the bill or that you must take it up with your employer. Some of these tactics may not be in your best interest, so it’s important to seek the advice of a lawyer to ensure you receive fair compensation when you’re injured.
If your claim has been denied, there are still things you can do, but it’s important to discuss these options with an attorney that has a track record of success in similar cases. This ensures that the lawyer you’re working with has the knowledge and experience needed to deliver the outcome you’re hoping for.
Being Blamed for Your Injuries
Another way that an insurance company may attempt to avoid paying a claim is to argue that you’re actually the one at fault. This is common for motor vehicle accidents. There’s an argument over which driver was likely responsible for the accident, and both insurance companies claim that the other side is to blame. Whenever the other party casts doubt on who is liable, the matter may need to be settled in court.
If you’re being blamed for your injuries, you should seek legal representation. This will help to defend yourself and should you work with our team, we can file a counterclaim against the person who harmed you.
Low Settlement Offer
To minimize the financial impact of their actions, the responsible party might try to settle out of court. A problem that could arise is that the settlement offer is too low to cover your expenses. When considering whether to accept this offer, you need to review details such as
- The current cost of your medical treatment, including emergency care and follow-up visits with your doctors
- How much you’re likely to pay for medical care in the future while you continue to recover
- The value of lost wages if you’re unable to return to work due to your injuries
- Any pain and suffering you’ve endured because of your injuries
- Potential permanent disabilities that diminish your quality of life
- Expenses for mental health care due to your injuries
If you’re not happy with the settlement offer you’ve received, or you need to be sure that the offer on the table is fair, it’s time to discuss it with a personal injury lawyer, like the ones at our firm, who can let you know what your case is actually worth.
Unaware of Potential Available Compensation
After an accident, you might need to find out whether you have a claim at all or if the other party is in a position to pay if you win your case. Winning your case doesn’t help if the defendant has no assets and is broke. Fortunately, insurance companies often pay most compensation in personal injury claims, so the settlement amount you can receive usually depends on how well-insured the other person is.
When assessing your case independently, you are likely unaware of the amount of fair compensation you could receive. This is because you don’t know how much your recovery will cost by the time you receive the health care you need. Our team can provide you with an experienced lawyer who can help you determine if compensation is available and if it’s a good idea to pursue a case against another person.
The value of your claim and whether you should file a lawsuit depends on how you were injured, the extent of your injuries and if you can prove that the defendant was at fault. Some of the injuries you may file a lawsuit over include the following.
- Broken bones that require surgery and extensive physical therapy throughout your recovery
- Spinal injuries that result in temporary or permanent paralysis, chronic pain or diminished motor function
- Amputation or disfigurement that can reduce self-esteem, make it impossible to return to work and keep you from participating in activities you once enjoyed
- Traumatic brain injuries which lead to neurological disorders, reduced cognitive function, extreme pain disorders and inability to concentrate
- Medical malpractice, which occurs when a doctor doesn’t meet their duty of care or acts in a way that’s contrary to how other doctors would under similar circumstances
- Injuries on the job that sideline you from your job and force you to pay expensive medical bills until you’re able to return to work
When you have a permanent disability, it changes your quality of life forever. You might not be allowed to participate in physical activities, your career ambitions may be thwarted, and you could require expensive medical care for the rest of your life. When you become permanently disabled due to an accident, you have the right to seek additional compensation for your disability and the impact it has had and will continue to have.
It’s important to review your legal options with a lawyer who is informed and compassionate about your case if you’ve become disabled. Your settlement or judgment could determine whether you can live a comfortable life while affording ongoing medical treatment. The cost of caring for someone with a disability can be extreme, especially if you’ve lost a limb or become paralyzed.
Many people aren’t aware of their injuries’ current and long-term psychological impact. Injury, depression, and anxiety are common following an accident and can delay your recovery by months or years. Some of the mental health conditions you may experience following an accident include
- Feeling anxious around environments or objects that remind you of the traumatic experience
- Actively avoiding places or people that make you think about your accident or injuries
- Feeling insecure due to scars or permanent disfigurement
- Experiencing mood swings, irritability or feelings of depression
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Developing dependence on pain medications when suffering from chronic pain
There are instances where you may suffer psychological damage due to your interactions with another person, such as being harassed at your job. These cases must also be taken seriously, and you may have the right to compensation if you’re a victim. If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, we recommend seeking help through a mental health professional who can best understand your situation and offer the support you need regarding this kind of care.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
The most important way a personal injury lawyer can help you is to let you know if your case is worth the time and effort. At Bergeron Clifford, our experienced attorneys have worked with numerous claims and know what processes you need to go through before you receive fair compensation and how likely your case is to go to court or settle. We can also make insurance companies take you more seriously, reducing the chance they’ll attempt to take advantage of you with lowball settlement offers.
If you’re wondering when to hire a personal injury lawyer, sooner is better than later. Injury litigation can take time due to the process of discovery, negotiating with the defendant and filing your claim in court. You also have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.
Arrange Your Free Consultation Today
Bergeron Clifford can help you determine whether you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries following an accident. Personal injury law is the only thing our lawyers focus on, and we have the experience and track record you need to ensure your claim is successful. Contact us to learn more.