After sustaining injuries in a car crash, slip and fall, or construction accident, you may wonder whether it is “worth it” to hire an attorney to help you recover compensation. You may even worry that the cost of an attorney will exceed the benefit the attorney provides.
The cost-benefit analysis of hiring a lawyer will, of course, vary from one case to the next. However, very few people see their settlement check shrink after they hire an attorney. For most claimants, enlisting the help of an experienced lawyer only increases the amount of compensation they receive, even after accounting for the fees the attorney earns.
How, exactly, can an attorney boost your potential financial settlement? Let’s take a look:
Lawyers Know How to Calculate The Full Measure of Your Damages
When accidents occur, insurance companies tend to sweep in quickly with a settlement offer that might help injured parties cover some of their medical bills. In many cases, however, medical bills are only a small portion of the damages an accident has caused.
Individuals who have been injured in an accident may also be eligible to receive compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
These additional damages are not always immediately obvious to accident victims. However, an experienced attorney should be able to identify and determine a fair amount of compensation for those damages. The lawyer can then include those additional damages in the total sum to seek as compensation.
Lawyers Can Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies who make settlement offers to accident victims often try to bully their way to a favorable financial outcome for themselves, not for injured accident victims. Insurance adjusters use sophisticated negotiating tactics to get their way and benefit the insurance company that employs them. A skilled personal injury attorney knows and recognizes those tactics, and responds in a manner that keeps insurance companies honest.
Experienced attorneys also have a case history to draw upon to help them evaluate the suitability of a settlement offer from an insurance company. Every case differs, but over time, attorneys who negotiate settlements day-in, day-out develop a sense for the appropriate “range” of a fair settlement amount that the attorney can demand on behalf of the client.ay.
Attorneys Know The Legal Process and Avoid Costly Mistakes
Lawyers have years of training in legal “procedure,” the rules of the road for enforcing the legal rights of accident victims. People who try to handle legal claims by themselves often make costly mistakes by not following those rules. Hiring a lawyer protects accident victims from errors that might otherwise sink their claims.
Attorneys Know How to Establish Both Liability and Damages
Personal injury claims have two key legal components, referred to as liability and damages. Liability in Indiana is determined under a comparative fault system. Even when it is clear that the other party is 100% at fault for the crash that caused your injuries, insurance adjusters often arbitrarily assign 20% to you as the claimant.
Adjustors are taught to do this as an assignment of fault to you as the claimant decreases the amount you can recover from them. For example, if your claim is worth $50,000, an assignment of fault to you of 50% would reduce your full claim to $25,000.
Therefore, if you have been seriously injured in a crash it is important that you hire an attorney sooner rather than later. And, in most cases, you will need to either file a lawsuit or settle your claim within two years of the date of your injury. Such limitations are governed by laws referred to as Statutes of Limitations. Be wary of an insurance company that suggests there is no hurry to getting your matter settled. While it is true that it may take months or even a year or more to fully appreciate your injuries and their long-term effect on you, the more time that has elapsed during this period without the benefit of an attorney, can make it ultimately more difficult to prove both the damages and liability aspects of your case.
Helping Hoosiers Recover the Compensation They Deserve for More Than 30 Years
Since our founding, the attorneys at Doehrman Buba have been proud to represent the people of Indianapolis in seeking compensation for accidental injuries. Over the years, we have squared off against insurance companies and recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. If you would like us to do the same for you, please do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a free consultation.