The question gets raised often by injured parties worried that they don’t have the resources to hire a lawyer to fight for their compensation following an injury: how am I going to be able to afford an attorney? These folks, no matter their financial status prior to the injury, are at a disadvantage after an injury because they are oftentimes facing economic stressors due to an inability to work because of the injuries, the loss of their vehicle, or disparities between what their vehicle was worth and what they’ve been compensated (in the case of an auto crash).
The good news is that personal injury attorneys should be operating off of a contingency fee model, which means that a) there is no retainer fee owed up front, b) there are no hourly fees owed along the way, and c) the attorney is only owed a fee if s/he recovers a settlement/judgment for the client. And that eventual fee comes from the settlement/judgment itself.
Therefore, there’s no valid reason not to look into hiring a personal injury attorney to fight on your behalf. The only risk lies in not retaining an attorney.
When confronted by those who indicate a
willingness to “go it alone” against the insurance company, believing that
their case is “cut and dried” and will be easy to resolve, or believing that
they’re going to profit more by not paying an attorney, I tell them this: I’m confident
that my presence in the case and the skillset I’ve developed over the 16+ years
I’ve been in the personal injury field will increase that person’s potential
recovery by more than the 1/3 of the settlement they will eventual pay me if
I’m retained. Plus, my office will do all of the heavy lifting, allowing that
person to focus on their treatment and everyday living to decrease the
disruption to that life as best as possible. As such, the better question is
“what is the cost if I DON’T hire a personal injury attorney”?
That, I think, is easier to quantify. You could lose very valuable segments of your case, if you attempt to negotiate the matter on your own. The insurance companies aren’t obligated to tell you what they’re supposed to pay out. You could lose earnings, if you think that, since your sick time paid your lost time from work, that you’re not entitled to recover it. You could lose the diminished value of your vehicle if it’s repaired but lost its resale value and you’re not aware that that is a compensable element of your recovery (or you don’t know what expert to use to prove that element of your case). You could lose the amount of reimbursement of medical billing if you fail to retrieve all of your medical bills prior to the settlement discussions. You could wind up paying some of your settlement back to your health insurer months after that settlement, if you’re not familiar with the concept of liens and when your health insurer has a right to recover amounts it paid out related to your treatment. And, perhaps most importantly, you are not likely in a good position to know what your pain and suffering is worth. The number one question I get, even above “can I afford an attorney with your experience,” is “what is my case worth?” That answer rests on many different factors that are heavily case-dependent. It would be almost impossible for the average person, even one who’d had prior cases, to know with confidence what value they should be seeking from the insurance company as fair compensation for their claims.
If you have questions about your claim, feel free to contact me so that I can address your questions or concerns. And, as this article has shown, there is no fee owed unless and until your case is concluded in your favor, so you have nothing to lose by retaining our services in a personal injury matter. There’s a lot for you and your family to lose by not doing so, though. We look forward to being able to help.