After an auto accident, most people ask the same question: "Do I really need to hire a personal injury lawyer?" The short answer is...it depends.
Let’s take a simple example: a car accident. If you just have property damage, it’s minimal, and you’re sure that all the people involved aren’t hurt – you can probably handle this one on your own. Most property damage settlements are fairly straightforward.
If you just have a bruised knee, and your doctor says that you’re fine, you also probably don’t need an attorney. If, however, you have a significant injury, it’s time to call an attorney. If your case is complicated by multiple parties with potential liability, it’s also time to call an attorney.
Somewhere in between these two extremes is a gray area, obviously. While it is difficult to provide a clear and complete cutoff, as a heuristic, it may be useful to note that to take a case to trial, it often costs around $5,000 for a typical personal injury case. Generally, an expert is needed (that creates the bulk of the cost) and filing fees, depositions, medical records requests all add up. What that means in simple terms is that if the damages are not above $5,000, many firms may not take that case on. Calling an attorney to determine if your case is one for which an attorney is necessary, however, is never a bad move. Many firms, if unable to help you, will either provide a referral or a list of suggestions that may help you handle the matter on you own.
Insurance companies' own figures have shown that if you are hurt or have lost a loved one, you are more likely to receive two to three times more compensation if you have an attorney on your side.
The numbers aren't limited to serious injury or death cases, and they aren't limited to particularly qualified or gifted trial lawyers either. They are just averages. Insurance adjusters are highly trained to make sure the insurance carrier keeps as much of its money as possible (and that you get as little as possible) for your injury or death claim. "Justice" is not the object of the game they are playing. If you or a friend or family member gets hurt, or worse, get a good lawyer early in the process. You have nothing to lose.