After an accident in which you sustain injury, you may wonder how you are supposed to know when to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your personal injury claim. If you have been involved in any type of accident resulting in a physical injury, it is expected that your next step will be to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages. Oftentimes, the claims process can turn into a battle with an insurance provider or the attorneys for the opposing side. If the opposing side makes the decision to undervalue or underpay your claim or even worse, completely deny your claim, then you might want to think about hiring a personal injury lawyer. However, your decision to hire a personal injury should be informed by the answers to the following questions.
First, how severe is your injury? Not all injuries will require you to hire a personal injury lawyer. For instance, if your injury is relatively minor and you are able to continue working or have the time to deal with the handling of your personal injury claim on your own, it is possible to manage your own claim. However, if your injury is not minor or is severe or you will need surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, rehabilitation, you definitely want to speak with an experienced injury lawyer to obtain an evaluation of your claim.
Second, ask yourself whether your injury was caused by another individual’s negligence act? If so, are they denying responsibility for your injury? If that is your situation, it is crucial that you speak with a personal injury attorney because they can help you prove that the opposing side is legally responsible for your injury. Proving legal fault involves applying certain standards to the evidence. In order to prove liability in a personal injury case, a victim must prove that the at-fault individual acted negligently. Negligence is any behavior that falls below the standard of care expected of a reasonable person and causes harm to another person. A negligence claim requires four elements to be proven by the injured party. The plaintiff must first demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty, or obligation, recognized by the law, requiring the defendant to conform to a certain standard of conduct, for the protection of others against unreasonable risks. Second, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant failed to conform to that duty. Third, there must be a reasonably close causal connection between the nonconforming conduct and the resulting injury to the plaintiff. Fourth, the plaintiff must demonstrate some actual harm. In order to strengthen your claim, it is important to consult a lawyer as soon as you can so that the lawyer can begin the important work of collecting and preserving vital evidence necessary to prove legal fault.
Third, you should ask yourself, has a representative from the opposing side made an honest attempt to contact you and settle your claim attempted to contact you? Insurance companies hire insurance claim adjusters and claims representatives in order to communicate with injured claimants to resolve their claims. If an insurance adjuster reaches out and asks you to make a recorded statement for their file or request that you provide them with information such as medical records or medical bills or your theory as to liability with respect their insured, it is probably a good idea to speak with an attorney and have them handle the claims process. Unfortunately, insurance claims representatives oftentimes will attempt to get you to make statements that are damaging to your claim and can result in a low settlement offer.
Fourth, ask yourself this question, is the opposing side in your injury claim is negotiating in bad faith or using delay tactics to avoid paying out on your claim? Are they simply refusing to pay or offering an unreasonably low amount to settle your claim? If so, you should be aware that this is common in the insurance industry and oftentimes, unscrupulous insurance companies will utilize dirty tactics to try and stall the claims process. Some examples we see all of the time include unreasonable delays in communication or failure to communicate important information to the claimant in a timely manner, refusing to pay out on a claim when liability is clear, or making unreasonably low offers despite your serious injuries and high medical bills. A personal injury attorney understands these maneuvers. Insurance companies that engage in bad-faith negotiations may be liable to you for doing so. A personal injury attorney can help you in holding the opposing side accountable for their bad faith practices in the claims process.
If you or a loved one is involved in a motor vehicle accident, speak with a personal injury lawyer about your options going forward. There is no substitute for excellent legal advice after being involved in any type of accident. The attorneys at Suarez and Montero would love to have an opportunity to explain the law in Florida and assist you in presenting a strong claim on your behalf.
Reach out so that we can explain more about the numerous ways that our law firm can offer legal help and guidance after an accident.