Settlements: Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney To Get Your Money?

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If you've been involved in an accident of any kind where someone else is at fault, you may have legal right to compensation. Nine times out of ten, this compensation will come directly from an insurance company. If the fault is obvious and the bills are climbing, the insurance company will likely offer a settlement to you. This is where many people get confused. If the insurance company is willing to hand out money, then why is a personal injury attorney necessary? Well, in some cases, they aren't. But in other instances, the insurance company's offer will be a lowball, and without legal representation, you might find it very difficult to negotiate. Here are some things that can help you decide whether you need to contact a lawyer.

For one thing, a personal injury attorney can usually do a pretty good job of sizing up your case and deciding how much money you're likely to get out of advanced negotiations or a trial. An experienced lawyer has been around the block and has likely seen a dozen (or more) cases just like yours. This gives them a unique perspective and they can then tell you what to expect if you move forward with hiring them. This can help you decide which path to choose. If the lawyer doesn't see much of a case and figures that you can expect only to do ten percent better, then it would definitely not be worth your time. After all, a significant portion of that settlement is going to go to the lawyer. You could wind up getting less, rather than more, of the original settlement offer.

If, however, a personal injury attorney sees the opportunity to get much more money from your case, it could very well be worth pursuing. Some settlement offers may not be near enough to cover your medical bills and lost wages. These things have a tendency to balloon over time. Insurance companies may pressure a hospital to get you in and out of physical therapy in a certain window of time. You deserve to take as much time as is needed to get well, particularly if the accident was due to someone else's negligence.

One thing you should get out of your mind now is any hopes you might have had that this could be your ticket to riches. Any personal injury lawyer will tell you that the ship on "lottery-esque" judgments and settlements has long since sailed, if it was ever really in port to begin with. Look to get enough money to cover time out of work and your medical bills, but don't hope for much more than that. Many states have laws barring outrageous judgments, and you won't be getting much, if anything, out of the "punitive damages" side of the judgment.
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