Not every person requires a lawyer when they are injured. But when you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, you should always consider the benefits of hiring a lawyer.
Hiring a professional who has the knowledge and experience necessary to handle injury claims can make the process much smoother and improve your outcome. In some cases, injury victims risk walking away with nothing if they decline to hire a lawyer.
When you’re considering whether you want to hire a personal injury lawyer, consider the following.
What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
Lawyers perform many legal services that can improve your odds of successfully resolving an injury claim.
Some examples include:
Legal Counsel and Advice
A lawyer will listen to your story. After understanding your situation, they will devise a legal strategy to accomplish your goals. Your lawyer will develop their strategy based on their knowledge of the law and experience with prior injury cases.
Your lawyer will represent you and negotiate on your behalf in interactions with claims adjusters, insurance companies, judges, and juries.
Your lawyer will research any novel questions that come up in your case and argue the facts and the law to obtain the best possible outcome for your case goals, including favorable settlements or judgment awards.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Almost every case can benefit from the experience and knowledge of a lawyer. But some cases deal with areas of the law that can be incredibly complex without the aid of a lawyer.
Some situations in which you should strongly consider hiring an injury lawyer include:
You Have a Products Liability Claim
Product liability claims can be challenging to unravel. Questions relating to what happened and who is responsible for an injury can be difficult to answer. For example, litigation against tobacco companies and asbestos manufacturers lasted decades before evidence of their knowledge about the dangers of their products came to light.
An experienced products liability lawyer can understand the scientific and technical information needed to show that a company’s products were defective or harmful. With this information, an injury lawyer can take on a billion-dollar corporation to fight for a fair settlement or damages award.
The Insurance Company Tried to Shift Blame to You
Under Kentucky’s comparative negligence statute, your damages are reduced in proportion to your fault for your injuries. Thus, if you bear 10% of the fault and another party bears 90% of the fault, your settlement or damage award will be reduced by 10%.
Fortunately, Kentucky’s statute does not include any limits. In many states, an injured person who is more than 50% at fault for their injuries cannot recover any compensation. But Kentucky’s law allows the injured person to recover compensation from anyone who contributed to the injuries, even if the injured person bears some or most of the fault.
Although Kentucky’s law favors injured people, insurance companies will still try to shift blame and reduce your compensation. For example, suppose you were in a bicycle accident in which your bike was hit by a car turning left across your lane of traffic. The driver was clearly at fault because you had the right of way, and they failed to yield. But the driver’s insurance company might try to shift blame to you by saying that you were speeding, had a broken front reflector (even if the accident happened during the day), or were distracted by music playing in your earbuds.
A lawyer can hold the insurance company’s feet to the fire to prove the facts and the law, shifting the allocation of liability back to the at-fault party, where it belongs.
You Suffered from Severe Injuries
When you suffer from severe injuries, you run a substantial risk that your damages will exceed the insurance policy limits for the person or business that caused your injury. If the insurance policy limits are too low to cover all your damages, you will probably need an injury lawyer to file a lawsuit against the person or business at fault.
Suppose you slip and fall in a shopping center and tumble down a flight of stairs. If you suffer a spinal cord injury with permanent paralysis of your legs, your damages could be substantial.
You can recover damages for your injuries, including your current and future medical bills and lost income. For a serious spinal cord injury, you might require medical treatment and physical therapy for the rest of your life. You might also be unable to work or need to change jobs. Your out-of-pocket expenses and diminished earning capacity could be substantial, exceeding the shopping center’s policy limits.
But if you file a lawsuit, the shopping center will bear responsibility for any amounts above the policy limits. If the shopping center’s liability policy covers up to $1 million in damages and you win a $1.7 million damage award, the shopping center must pay the $700,000 difference.
Your Auto Insurer Denied Your Claim
Kentucky uses a no-fault system for auto insurance. This means that you will file your car accident injury claim with your insurance carrier, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
This system speeds up insurance claims because the insurer can pay claims without assessing fault. But insurance companies still have an interest in denying or reducing claims whenever possible.
Your insurer could deny your claim for a variety of reasons.
Some common grounds for denial or reduction include:
- The insurer believes you faked or exaggerated your injuries.
- The insurer does not believe that your injuries were caused by the car accident.
- The insurer disagrees with the medical treatment you received.
If your insurer denied your claim, then you should consider hiring a lawyer to challenge the denial. This challenge might require legal arguments and additional evidence to overcome the denial.
Benefits of Hiring an Injury Lawyer
According to national surveys, hiring a lawyer can have significant benefits for your injury claim. Your chances of settling your case will increase by about 40%. And the size of your settlement will, on average, increase three-fold, even after paying the lawyer’s fees. For stalled cases, the average claim settlement doubled after a lawyer threatened to file a lawsuit.
These statistics prove that even in cases without potential obstacles, you will often benefit from hiring an experienced injury lawyer.