Getting a Personal Injury Attorney: What’s the point?
First and foremost, what does a personal injury attorney even do?
A personal injury attorney’s job is to make sure that you’re taken care of, and your medical treatment and property damage is paid for. This frees you up to focus on your recovery. Your attorney’s job consists basically of the following:
- Makes sure your medical bills get paid
- Help make sure you’re seeing the right doctors (not just the cheapest ones that the insurance companies like to recommend).
- Deal with the insurance companies and any related paperwork.
- Make sure that you get a fair resolution for your claim once it’s ready to be closed.
Why would you want an attorney after your accident?
First of all, you are not required to have an attorney. That said, a personal injury attorney deals with auto accidents all day, every day. Much like how you don’t technically have to have an auto mechanic fix your car, but a mechanic makes your life easier, and more often than not, you have a better outcome than if you try to fix your car yourself.
On top of being injured, you have a life, and life doesn’t slow down to wait for you just because you’re injured. A personal injury attorney makes sure you can keep up with life, focus on your recovery, and get compensated for the parts of life you miss out on due to your injury.
How Much Does it Cost and How Does it Work?
When thinking about hiring an attorney, most people think of huge hourly fees that they pay whether they win their case or not- which allows attorneys to get lazy, since they get paid whether they actually help you or not. That is not the case with a personal injury attorney. Almost all of them work on what is called a contingent fee. Which is a fancy way of saying that they don’t get paid unless they win your case for you, and you agree to and accept the terms of the settlement. In that sense, it is risk-free. If you don’t win, or you’re not happy with the settlement, you pay nothing.
The way an attorney resolves a case is by acquiring all of your medical records associated with the accident and uses them to create what is called a demand packet. This packet contains a breakdown of the accident itself, and the effects it has had on your life, from the obvious injuries to property damage, to wage loss, to loss of enjoyment, and a whole slew of other variables. That is rounded out by a dollar amount that you and your attorney are demanding the insurance company pays.
A lot of negotiating usually takes place after that, but most cases are resolved this way. In some cases, if the insurance company won’t play ball, and your attorney files a lawsuit and your case moves into litigation (which is a lot less scary than it sounds).
There are a lot of avenues to resolution during litigation, and your attorney will keep you informed about them at each step. So while litigation itself isn’t scary, it is complicated, and having an attorney handle it for you will make your life much easier.