After you or a loved one has been hurt, whether in a car wreck, on the job, after suffering a bad fall at the local grocery store, or even being bitten by a neighbor’s dog, you may be focused on healing, not on deciding when to get a personal injury lawyer.
Your personal injury attorney shields you from the at-fault party and their defense attorney and helps you seek the compensatory damages you may be entitled to after an accident you didn’t cause. They act in your best interests and fight for your rights.
Although no two personal injury claims are alike, almost all involve one of the following six situations. If you’re facing one, this is when to get a personal injury lawyer.
Is There a Dispute over Which Party Is Liable?
To win a personal injury lawsuit, your personal injury attorney must prove that the other party was negligent and that the negligence caused your injuries. If the other party disputes their share of the accident blame, then the case gets a lot trickier.
If the facts or responsibility for your injury are disputed, that’s when to get a personal injury lawyer. Your attorney investigates the situation and can build a case against the other party.
Is the Other Party Blaming You for Contributing to an Unsafe Situation?
The other party’s insurance company may argue that you shared some responsibility for the accident. For example, if you slipped and fell in a store and broke your wrist, the store’s insurance company may argue that the high heels you were wearing were unsafe shoes and that they contributed to creating a risky situation.
This is important because California personal injury awards are based on pure comparative negligence rules. This means that if the defendant is found to be at fault, they only pay a settlement equal to the percentage of the blame they contributed.
If your lawyer valued your case at $100,000, and you were found to be 35% responsible, then your award would only be $65,000.
Are There Multiple Defendants?
If more than one party is involved in the case, it becomes much more complicated. You may feel comfortable negotiating with the other driver after a car wreck, but what if a bus or a commercial vehicle hit you? In these cases, the entity overseeing the operation of the bus or semitruck could also be a defendant.
You may not realize that other defendants could be named in your case, but if you suspect there could be, this is when to get a personal injury lawyer.
How Badly Are You Injured?
If you suffered a traumatic injury or permanent disability, you might not have the strength to advocate for yourself. After a devastating accident, some people may be left out of work for months or unable to live independently anymore.
The worse your injury and the higher its impact on your life, the higher the damages you’re entitled to will be. But to get the damages you deserve, you usually need an advocate who thoroughly understands California personal injury law and can make a case on your behalf — a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers have the experience to properly value your case so that your settlement award can be enough to cover not just your current medical bills but future care, too.
Is the Other Party’s Insurance Company Acting in Bad Faith?
Insurance companies work for insurance companies — period. They are not interested in ensuring you get the maximum settlement and may even deny outright that their client harmed you.
Some insurance companies may act in bad faith, such as denying the claim or dragging their feet to process it, hoping that the statute of limitations (your deadline for filing suit) passes.
Other bad-faith actions by insurance companies include:
- Failure to investigate claims
- Requiring excessive (and unnecessary) paperwork to process the claim
- Refusal to pay valid claims
- Misrepresenting terms of an insurance policy
- Intentionally misleading you about your legal rights
Insurance companies are more likely to engage in malfeasance if they aren’t facing a victim with a personal injury lawyer. If you feel like you’re getting the run-around from the other party’s insurance company, that’s when to get a personal injury lawyer.
Insurance companies are more likely to act in good faith if they know the other party is represented by a lawyer who isn’t afraid to take them to court and expose their misdeeds.
Does Your Claim Involve a Government Entity?
If a local, state, or federal government party is one of the defendants, your window for filing a claim is usually shorter, and the hoops you will have to jump through to achieve resolution are increased. A lawyer with experience litigating the government can guide you through potential legal pitfalls as you seek compensation.
One Last Thing to Consider
The other party’s insurance company likely has an entire legal department. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you is your right and can help level the playing field.
Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people of San Diego. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents – including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents – need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side. If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines