If you're injured in a car accident due to another driver's negligence, there is no guarantee your medical bills will be covered by that driver's car insurance company; or, if you are paid, that you will be justly compensated.
Insurance companies and their legal teams are well versed on how to minimize settlements claims in bodily injury cases, putting you at a decided disadvantage if you attempt to challenge them on your own.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
You should strongly consider hiring a personal injury lawyer if:
You sustained serious injuries with possible long-term repercussions.
The other involved driver was uninsured or underinsured.
You and the other driver are in dispute over who was at fault.
You are feeling pressured by the claims adjuster to agree to a quick settlement. Fast usually takes precedent over fair, often leading to rash decisions compounded by complicated insurance-speak in the settlement agreement.
You don't feel you're being fully compensated for your current and future medical costs resulting from your car accident injury.
You feel your state's statutes of limitation laws may come into effect before you can challenge the settlement claim on your own.
When Not to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Do not hire a personal injury attorney if your car accident injuries are minor. Hiring an injury attorney for a bruised knee cap or arm abrasions will not justify the legal costs.
What to Expect if You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Don't expect a fast settlement check if you opt to take an insurance company to court with the help of a personal injury attorney. Each auto claim case is different, of course, but it's not unusual for some cases to take several years to be resolved. This is especially true in heavily populated areas with busy court calendars.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA) most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means you will be charged a contingency fee based on the court settlement. Depending on the case and your attorney some contingency fees may be as high as 40%. Be sure, before hiring, to ask your lawyer for his or her contingency rate.
Keep in mind that you will also be responsible for paying all court-related fees like filing costs and copying expenses.