Not every personal injury claim requires that one hire an attorney. If a claim is straight-forward
regarding fault and the injury not serious (and recovery to pre-incident health is complete),
then the value and likely lack of difficulty obtaining that value probably doesn’t require
attorney involvement. On the other hand, most injuries are usually more serious, and recovery
takes some time. If your recovery is months away or uncertain, then there are some
considerations to think about regarding whether to consult with a personal injury attorney.
1. How uncertain is your long-term recovery?
Most people have never suffered a long-term injury and are used to the idea that injuries are
therefore short-term problems that heal up with limited intervention. This is particularly true if
it is a soft tissue injury. Lingering injuries or worsening symptoms could indicate that you have
suffered an injury more serious than you first believed. Getting medical intervention is crucial
for your health, but also for your legal claim. When the future is inherently unknown, it makes
sense that you consult with an attorney about your case. Most personal injury attorneys will
speak with you for free (Wiener & Lambka offers free consultations). Because it is unknown
just how serious your health problems may be, taking simple steps to learn more about the
legal process and having an experienced attorney apply that knowledge to the unique facts of
your case is a reasonable thing to do. If your recovery is impaired or worse than hoped for, you
will have learned how to best protect your legal rights early and can avoid mistakes.
2. How clear is the negligence involved?
Some incidents are unavoidable or unforeseeable, but many incidents are caused as a result of
someone acting in a negligent manner. For example, if someone runs a red light, that is a
negligent act. Many negligent acts are clear at the time but could be lied about or become hard
to prove later. The driver could change his story and say he had a green light and therefore the
other driver must have had a red light. A store that negligent fails to warn people that the floor
had just been cleaned and was slippery will be an event that physically goes away as the floor
dries. Taking the time to secure photographs or have a policeman come to the scene of an
accident. Many other types of cases require investigation into who may have been negligent.
An experienced attorney can help their client ascertain what needs to be done now in order to
make sure that the legal case is more secure later.
3. You have Medical bills to pay out of your pocket
The medical expenses for even a minor injury can be surprisingly high. There are layers of
possibilities for insurance paying your medical bills in each accident scenario. Car accidents
have unique insurance that is not mandated by state law, but may apply to your accident. In
some types of accidents such as vehicle versus pedestrian or vehicle versus bicycle, the medical
payment insurance from the driver may apply to the person who was struck. When a slip and
fall occurs, many commercial polices for businesses have med pay provisions to help with bills.
Health insurance is also usually available, but using it involves deductibles and co pays and
policy limitations on the amounts of care covered. No matter what your unique situation may
be, including having no medical insurance at all, a personal injury attorney can help you sort out
how to best get your bills paid.
4. You are missing work or some other significant activity
Medical bills are an important concern when you are injured, but there are many other
important concerns as well. Many people who are injured in a car accident are unable to return
to their job right away, and sometimes can only return to doing a part of their job due to the
limitations caused by injuries. It doesn’t take too long for the combination of lost wages and
medical bills to start to really combine into a larger problem. In addition to the stress of
financial concerns, there are always other things that matter to consider that are unique to
each person – fathers and mothers have their ability to parent impacted, for example. Each
person has their own unique activities that are impacted by their injuries. An experienced
attorney can help you understand how your accident caused injuries and losses can best be
5. The Insurance Company is Pressuring you to Settle
It is not uncommon for an insurance company to offer you quick payment in order to settle
your claim. This practice is designed to limit the amount they will have to pay on your claim.
The insurance company does not have any idea how injured you truly are immediately
following an accident, and they seek to take advantage of the fact that most people believe
they are going to bounce back quickly. While some people do bounce back quickly, many
people do not and have then resolved their claim too early and are not allowed to come back
for more money later. A free consultation with a personal injury attorney about your car
accident or other incident is a risk-free way to make sure you aren’t getting taken advantage of.