How does one know when it’s time to hire a personal injury attorney?
You will likely require the help of an experienced and specialized personal injury attorney if you have been seriously injured in an accident that was caused by another person. Some attorneys will take cases where only minor injuries were suffered, but typically if it is something where you only had a couple of doctor visits, you probably do not need a personal injury lawyer.
Unless however, you had only a couple of doctor visits, but for some reason it was an injury that caused you to suffer a hundred thousand dollars in loss of earnings, well, then maybe you need an injury attorney. This scenario is unlikely, as the claimed loss of earnings has to be reasonable and the direct result of the injury, so such a large loss of earnings isn’t typical with minor injuries.
You will mostly like need a personal injury attorney when you are significantly injured. For instance, my office only takes on cases where the client has pretty significant injuries. Whether it’s a broken femur, some sort of broken bone, or your doctors told you that you need to undergo surgery to repair the injury. To keep our caseload to a manageable number of cases and provide the best value to our clients, we select these serious injury cases, and forward the smaller more moderate injury cases on to our worthy colleagues to handle. We do NOT want to spread ourselves thin!
You need a personal injury lawyer if you have injuries that are going to require you to go in for surgery and then go through physical therapy and rehab. Because those are long, complicated medical treatments, they are going to have to be set out in detail for the insurance company to evaluate, and for someone to handle that on their own (while they are going through the injury and treatment) can be difficult. As the injuries get more serious and more complicated it’s more likely you’re going to need an attorney.
You may NOT need a personal injury attorney if:
Let’s say it’s a fender-bender you get a little bit of whiplash, and you see your chiropractor three times, you probably do not need a personal injury attorney. It’s definitely not a case that my office would take in, because the upside for the client is minimal with case costs, attorneys’ fees, etc.
You likely DO need a personal injury attorney if:
Let’s say you were hit on your bicycle you broke your collarbone and also broke a couple fingers that are going to need to be surgically repaired. Well, then you’re definitely going to want a qualified bicycle accident attorney. You’re probably going to be out of work for a while, you’re going to have a loss of earnings claim, you got a long medical treatment plan and then there is your pain and suffering associated with the accident, the injury and your recovery process. You need a strong advocate the lay all of this out in great detail for the insurance company so that you can get the best settlement result possible. If you handle things on your own, you might only get your medical expenses paid back.
The size of the injuries and size of the damages make a big difference in whether or not you need a personal injury lawyer:
If you had three chiropractic visits and the insurance company offered you five hundred dollars, you probably want to take it, because the accident is not that big of a deal. However, if you had a six month treatment process with physical therapy, surgeries, orthopedic doctors, massage, etc, there is a lot of inconvenience, a lot of pain, a lot of suffering, a lot of time away from your favorite activities and your work, a lot of inabilities to do your basic household chores. All that sort of stuff is compensable, meaning you can get money for the fact that you couldn’t do the dishes for three months because your arm was in a cast. I’m sure your spouse, or roommate, or kids, or whoever is not happy that they had to do the dishes every night because you couldn’t do them. There’s some value to that and so those are complicated claims that you’re not going to be able to make on your own and you want to hire an expert San Francisco personal injury attorney to argue those things for you.