5 Ways To Tell If You Need A Personal Injury Attorney

Posted on: 11 March 2015

Personal injury cases come from many different scenarios, such as auto accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, dog bites, and medical malpractice. If you been in an accident recently and suffered injuries as a result, you might be debating whether or not to seek legal advice. Maybe you're concerned about finances or you just don't think you have a case. Either way, here are five good indications you need to consult with a personal injury attorney following your injury.

You believe the injury was not your fault. Following an accident, it's human nature to want to place blame on someone or something else. But when it comes to legal issues and receiving compensation, your attorney will need to prove your injuries were the direct result of either someone else's negligence and they, not you, are liable for the injuries.

So what does this mean in plain talk? Suppose you're driving down the street. The driver in front of you slams on his breaks and you end up in a collision in which you sustain injuries. Most courts in these situations tend to find in favor of the person who was rear-ended, citing it's your responsibility to maintain a safe driving distance.

However, if you can prove your breaks suddenly malfunctioned then you might have a case against the car manufacturer. Also, comparative negligence is a defense that can sometimes award you compensation, even if you're partly at fault.

Essentially, if you have any reason to believe the accident could have been prevented by someone else, you should call an attorney.

You sustained significant injuries. Determining whether or not your injuries are significant or minor will require the examination of a doctor. And these definitions, at least with regards to the law, may vary from state to state. Suffice it to say, if your injury is bad enough that you need immediate and ongoing treatment, you're unable to work (temporarily or permanently), or your medical bills are too high for you to pay, you'll want to consult with an attorney.

For instance, lots of personal injury attorneys handle dog bite cases. If you've been bitten by a dog, but the bite didn't break the skin, you probably won't be seeking medical attention and, therefore, may not have a case.

It's a good idea to see a doctor any time you've been in an accident, even if you think your injuries are minor. This is because those minor bumps, bruises, and scrapes could turn into something more serious down the road.

You've suffered emotional distress. Sometimes your injuries aren't easy to see on the outside, and you are suffering from emotional pain and distress. Not all jurisdictions acknowledge emotional distress, but it is worth mentioning because there are situations in which you will want to get legal advice.

These cases are a little different than those with physical injury, as emotional distress can vary from person to person. Generally speaking, if your accident has caused you to suffer from feelings of fear or anxiety or suffer from sleep loss, and these symptoms are ongoing, it's time to call an attorney.

If you haven't yet sought therapeutic treatment for your emotional distress, it's important to at least document your daily symptoms in a journal so your attorney can better plan your case.

The insurance won't pay. If you have health insurance coverage, you will probably have to pay deductibles and co-payments for any treatment you receive following an injury. But what happens if the deductible is too high or you've maxed out your benefits? Or what if the treatment isn't covered under your plan, and you are now counting on the auto insurance (if the injury occurred during an auto accident) to pay for the treatments you need?

Any time you are in a situation in which your insurance isn't paying for medical treatment, no matter what the reason, it's important to meet with a lawyer who can help you determine the reason. Many times, your lawyer can advocate for you with both insurance companies (yours and the defendant's) to get a settlement that will help pay for your medical expenses.

You're unsure of what to do next. If you've been in an accident and you've suffered any injuries, even pain and suffering from emotional distress, and you just don't know what to do next, you should meet with a personal injury attorney to at least get your questions answered. Many lawyers work on a contingency basis and only expect to be paid a percentage of the compensation you're awarded if you win your case. Because of this, you really have nothing to lose by consulting with an attorney.