Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. Not only do you have to worry about physical injuries and property damage, but you also have to deal with getting all your questions answered. Will the insurance companies handle the accident fairly? Will there be medical bills to pay? How will […]
Why Hiring an Attorney in a Personal Injury Case Might be Necessary
Someone injured in a car accident may have a hard time deciding whether they need to hire an attorney or not. It is not always necessary to hire an attorney after being injured in a car accident. Some cases, like minor fender benders where there is little to no damage, are very straightforward and there would be little to no benefit in hiring an attorney. If the damage is minor, and there is an insurance company involved that is willing to cover the cost of the repairs or if the party who caused the damage is willing to cover the costs of repairs, then there is little reason to hire an attorney.
However, when the damages in a personal injury case are great, or the insurer or other party are denying liability, the best course of action is to hire an attorney.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
1. Legal Advice
Dealing with the law and the legal system can be confusing. Dealing with them while injured can be particularly overwhelming. Failure to understand and follow the proper steps in a personal injury case can lead to a plaintiff recovering nothing due solely to missteps in the process, rather than a lack of damages.
Personal injury attorneys are versed in personal injury law and understand the process.They are also neutral parties who can objectively examine the facts involved in a particular personal injury case and apply the law to those specific facts in order to advise as to whether or not there is a viable claim and the likelihood of recovery.
2. Proving a Case
In order to have a successful personal injury case, the plaintiff will have to show that the defendant acted negligently and in doing so, breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, and that damages resulted. Proving that the defendant was at fault is a key component of any personal injury claim, but in a state like North Carolina which follows the contributory negligence theory, proving fault is critical. Under the contributory negligence theory which applies to most cases, there are exceptions, a plaintiff has to show that the defendant’s actions were the sole cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. If the plaintiff is found to be even 1% at fault for causing his/her injuries, then he/she will be precluded from recovering any damages.
An attorney can examine the facts, and any evidence, advise as to whether filing a claim is a realistic, viable option. An attorney can also advise a plaintiff as to whether their case might be the rare exception to the contributory negligence theory.
Evidence is necessary to prove liability. Photographs, videos, witness statements, medical records and police reports are the main documentary evidence needed to prove a case. Attorneys can advise as to what evidence is most helpful depending on the facts of the case and assist in gathering the evidence. Attorneys can talk to witnesses, visit the scene of the accident, request both medical and police records, and talk to medical experts about injuries.
3. Dealing with the Insurance Company
In many personal injury cases, the defendant’s insurance company will be involved. The goal of insurance companies is to pay nothing, or the least amount of money possible. Insurance companies have adjusters who are trained to spot the ambiguities in a case and use them to the advantage of the insurance company.
In addition to dealing with your injuries, you will have to deal with the insurance adjuster. An attorney can negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf, eliminating the stress of arguing your claim, and ensuring that someone familiar with the law and who has your best interests in mind is negotiating on your behalf.
4. Determine the Value of Your Injuries
Since every personal injury case is different, it can be difficult to determine what is a reasonable, or fair, damage valuation. In some cases, the damages will be easily identifiable by looking at medical bills and bills for damage to property. In other cases, however, damages might be harder to quantify. An experienced personal injury attorney can use their experience from other cases and knowledge of the law to consider additional factors including:
- lost time from work
- future medical costs
- pain and suffering
5. Filing a Lawsuit
If a case cannot be negotiated, then the remaining options are to drop it or file a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit can be complicated. Lawsuits must be filed within the appropriate statute-of-limitations, with the proper court, and certain paperwork must be filed out. An experienced attorney can make sure that the process is properly followed.
Choosing an Attorney
Once the decision to hire an attorney has been made, the process of choosing the right attorney begins. Plaintiff’s often look to solo practitioners or small firms to meet their needs. Things to consider when hiring an attorney, or tips for looking for an attorney include:
- do you know others who have brought a personal injury claim and can give you a reference?
- does the attorney have experience with similar claims? For example, a plaintiff who was hurt in a Charlotte, North Carolina car accident would not be well served by hiring a Charlotte criminal attorney to handle the claim
- costs. In certain cases, like medical malpractice cases, costs can be higher than a car accident case because North Carolina requires that a medical expert be hired. Are these costs explained upfront? What type of payment does the attorney require, is it hourly or contingent? Many personal injury cases are taken on a contingent fee.
Let Our Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys Review Your Case
If you have a personal injury case, the Charlotte, NC based lawyers at Rosensteel Fleishman, PLLC are experienced personal attorneys who can help you understand your rights and whether or not there is negligence and you should proceed with a personal injury claim. Please contact our office at 704-714-1450. There is no fee for an initial consultation.
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