Imagine a situation in which you have suffered an injury. You believe that your injury occurred as a direct result of someone else’s actions. For example, you tripped on a broken piece of flooring within your favorite store. Or maybe a car accident caused by a driver who was texting brought serious injuries. Or maybe your neighbor’s dog bit you causing injury. In these cases, you deserve compensation. You shouldn’t have to cover your medical bills and other expenses.
For many people, no imagination is necessary. The situation is real, and they are currently in the process of recovering from their injuries. Perhaps you are one such person. As you recover and the medical bills and other expenses start to pile on, you start to think: “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?”
At the Harris Law Firm, PLLC, we strongly believe that working with a personal injury lawyer can improve the outcome of your case. An attorney can be an essential tool in maximizing a settlement amount. However, we also acknowledge that there may very well be times when you don’t need a personal injury lawyer. Consider the following advantages of working with a personal injury lawyer, as well as certain considerations for when you may be able to handle your claim solo–
The Advantages of Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer
Sometimes you will face an injury through no fault of your own. No matter what type of accident caused the injury, the claim process is the same. State laws and regulations ensure that personal injury cases proceed the same way, for the most part. The type of injuries or the type of accident don’t matter. You must bring forth a claim directly against the at-fault party or their insurer. You must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. In addition, you must prove that they breached that duty of care and that the breach was the direct cause of your injuries and damages. Proving each of these elements requires collecting and supplying evidence. From there, presenting the evidence, proving damages, and negotiating for a fair settlement amount is all a part of the claims process, too.
Collecting and Storing Evidence
A personal injury lawyer can be a valuable tool in the collection and organization of evidence for your personal injury claim in Mississippi. Your attorney can:
- Travel to the scene of your accident to document any dangerous conditions that exist there or/and photograph the scene;
- Take photos of any vehicle or property damage you have suffered;
- Collect documentation of all medical expenses that you have incurred;
- Hire medical experts who can provide statements regarding your future medical care, disability, etc.;
- Work with accident reconstruction and forensic experts who can piece together what happened; and
- Organize all documents and evidence and store such evidence in a safe place.
Not only do law firms have large staffs who are very experienced in doing the above, they also have the funds and resources that are necessary to gather evidence and pay experts. This means that you will not have to worry about paying for these costs out of pocket.
Presenting Your Claim and Demanding Damages
After you collect evidence and determine the amount of damages that you have suffered or are likely to suffer in the future you can prepare a demand. You do this by submitting a demand letter to the opposing insurance company. This is simply a statement that demands compensation in a specific dollar amount. Do this in a professional manner and within the appropriate time frame. When insurance adjusters do not take claimants seriously, they are more likely to lowball their claims. They hope to get away without paying a claimant their full settlement amount. As such, working with an attorney gives your case more clout.
Negotiating for a Settlement Amount
Once you’ve made a demand, the insurance company will come back with a counter-offer. You can either accept or reject this offer. Again, this is a part of the personal injury claims process when the opinion of a personal injury lawyer is invaluable. Your attorney will review the settlement offer and determine, from a professional and legal standpoint, whether or not the counter offer is sufficient. If it is not, your attorney will engage in negotiations with the insurance company. They will work to achieve a fair settlement of your case.
Taking a Case to Court
In some cases, even the best negotiators are unable to secure a settlement agreement. In this case you may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant and take your case to court. When this happens, you need a skilled litigator on your side who will assist you in navigating the court process and who isn’t intimidated by the idea of arguing your case in court.
Situations When You May Not Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
The information above demonstrates how important a personal injury lawyer can be for your claim. But it is true that not all accident victims need an attorney. You may be more comfortable representing yourself after an accident when:
- Damages are minor, totaling less than a few thousand dollars;
- You and the other party are not settling your case through your insurance, but are instead handling the manner on your own (i.e. each paying for damages out of pocket); or
- Your injuries are minor and do not cause any long-term complications.
However, keep in mind that even if you think that you do not need a lawyer, there is no harm in scheduling a free personal injury consultation before making a final decision. A good lawyer will be honest with you about whether or not they think that working with an attorney would benefit your claim.
Contact the Harris Law Firm, PLLC Today
If you are involved in an accident in Greenville, Mississippi or surrounding areas of the state, please contact our talented Greenville personal injury lawyers to learn more about our services. We have more than 30 years of experience handling personal injury claims, and know personally how working with us can improve the outcome of your case. Our law firm commits to protecting your right to your full recovery amount. Call us today.