Many people can handle small car accident claims all on their own or with the help of their insurance company, especially if the faults are obvious and the damages or injuries are minor. But what about in more serious or debatable cases? How can you know when to hire an attorney, and when you’re better off figuring it out yourself?
There are a couple of factors you should consider before you immediately start calling up law firms:
- The size of your claims.
Remember that any lawyer is going to take a percentage of your settlement winnings. If you have a claim of only a few thousand dollars, you may want to go it alone to save yourself some money ad get the full compensation you need. On the other hand, very large claims should be left to the professionals — they’re too important and costly to mess up just because you don’t understand the proper claims process.
- The extent of your injuries.
A dented fender might not be worth going to court over, but a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury is. The leading cause of TBI-related death is motor vehicle traffic and car accidents, with the rates highest for 20 to 24-year-olds. You want to make sure that you get compensation not only to cover any medical bills, but to ensure that you can support yourself financially for the future.
- The finger of blame.
If the involved parties or insurance companies are at odds over who’s to blame for causing the car accident, you may find yourself in need of a lawyer — especially if it’s an accident with a commercial vehicle. Large trucks are more likely to be involved in fatal and multiple-vehicle crashes; there were more than 333,000 large truck accidents in 2012 alone. Commercial drivers likely have the good lawyers of their companies behind them. You’ll need one who’s just as tough to get yourself out of any blame.
Don’t think that just because you see advertisements for car accident lawyers that you need to hire one for every little bump. Most of the time, you should be able to handle it yourself. But if you can’t, find a law firm with the best reviews and client satisfaction — not the one with the biggest billboard.