You’ve just been injured in an automobile accident and you’re unable to go back to work. Paying your bills is hard enough, but now you’re wondering about hiring an attorney. The truth is, hiring an attorney may be more affordable than you think, and it may actually cost you more if you don’t hire one, for the following reasons:
Your Case Will Likely Be Handled on a Contingency Basis
Almost all personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that the lawyer gets no fee for his work until you get paid. This kind of arrangement allows you to obtain legal representation without having to pay upfront. But always be sure you understand the fee structure before you hire anyone.
Most attorneys also offer free initial consultations and will advance costs for medical experts and litigation, which get expensive very quickly. Many personal injury clients can’t afford to pay the costs associated with obtaining a report from a medical expert, but without such a document they will likely have a hard time getting a fair settlement.
You Won’t Have the Stress of Dealing With Insurance Companies
Once you hire an attorney to handle your personal injury claim, he will deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, and the payoff will be reduced stress to you. At the beginning of a claim, it is extremely important to find out how much insurance the liable party has, or you run the risk of generating thousands of dollars in medical bills without enough insurance coverage to pay them. Non-attorneys usually don’t know how to obtain this type of information, but accident attorneys do.
You’ll Have Greater Access to Medical Care
This is actually one of the biggest benefits to attorney representation in a personal injury case. Medical providers usually want some kind of assurance that if you recover money from an insurance company, they will get paid. While unrepresented claimants may “take their settlement money and run,” sometimes conveniently forgetting to pay their medical bills, attorneys are bound by ethical rules concerning medical liens, and are required to pay them off on behalf of their clients (or negotiate them down if settlement proceeds are not adequate to completely satisfy them). Because clients represented by lawyers can usually get treatment on a lien, they are more likely to receive the proper medical treatment and stand a better chance of making a more complete recovery from their injuries.
A Lawyer Has More Negotiating Power Than You Do
An attorney has much more negotiating power and ability to put pressure on an insurance company than a claimant does. This is because the attorney has the power to file suit, causing the adverse insurance carrier to spend time and money to defend itself. An attorney can also sue the insurance company for bad faith on first-party claims if the insurance company doesn’t handle your claim fairly.
Insurance adjusters routinely offer unrepresented claimants small settlement amounts in exchange for a full release early on, knowing that that you may accept a nominal amount because you may be under financial pressure. An attorney can protect you from this situation and likely negotiate a much better settlement for you when the full extent of your injuries is known.
Image by 401(K) 2012.