Whether you’ve been in a car crash, slipped and fallen while shopping, or are suffering after a medical mishap, you might find yourself with a question you never thought you’d ask: when do I hire a personal injury lawyer?
If you’re like most people, calling a lawyer seems like a big step. If you’re reading this article, you might be contemplating such a step now. You might ask yourself if it’s really warranted under the circumstances — whether your particular situation “qualifies” or is “serious enough” to call a lawyer.
The truth is that some accidents are unlikely to benefit from a lawyer’s intervention: very minor accidents, for example, when there are no injuries and the damages are minimal.
But in other cases, hiring a personal injury attorney could make all the difference in the outcome of your claim.
Below, we look at five questions you should ask yourself to determine when it’s time to hire a personal injury lawyer.
1. Did someone else cause your accident?
Washington personal injury law allows injured people to recover financial compensation from parties whose negligence causes their damages/injuries.
Negligence is a legal term that refers to someone’s careless, unreasonable, or unlawful behavior. Speeding or texting while driving are examples of negligence. In those cases, the injured parties are entitled to compensation from the negligent driver (or the insurance company responsible for that driver).
Individuals aren’t the only ones who can be held accountable for their negligence. Businesses, too, can be liable for injuries that their employees cause or fail to prevent.
Retailers, for example, have a responsibility to make sure the sales floor is safe and free from slipping hazards. Hotel owners have a duty to maintain safe and secure premises. Hospitals and doctors have a duty to uphold a high standard of care when treating patients. These are only a few examples.
If you have suffered damages (e.g. injuries, financial losses, emotional distress, etc.) and you believe someone else’s negligence is at least partly to blame, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. You might be entitled to significant financial compensation. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
2. Has your injury been serious or costly?
Generally speaking, the more serious the injuries, the greater the compensation available to victims.
Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t always eager to compensate injury victims — even if the victim’s injuries are legitimate and the insurer’s liability seems clear.
A personal injury lawyer can help you mount a compelling case against the insurance company, fighting to maximize your compensation and enforce your rights under the law.
Washington law recognizes many types of damages. It is important, therefore, to consider the full cost of an injury, which might extend well beyond the immediate physical harm, ie – will you need future medical care? Serious accidents often have significant and complex financial ramifications.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your claim, an Olympia personal injury attorney might be able to help you recover compensation for your:
- Hospital bills and other medical expenses
- Lost income due to time away from work
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Ongoing or future medical treatments
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damage (or diminution in value)
- Likely losses or expenses in the future
If you have suffered any of these kinds of losses, and especially if your damages are significant, it may be time to hire a personal injury lawyer. We urge you to call our office at Fuller & Fuller Attorneys at Law right away. We look forward to helping you.
3. Is an insurance company contacting you?
Getting contacted by an insurance company is a good reason to contact a personal injury lawyer. Why?
For one thing, insurance adjustors have a lot of experience, and they aren’t on your side. They work for the insurance corporation, and their job is to save the company money whenever possible. Adjustors sometimes try to lead accident victims into making statements against their own interest by accident. So it’s important to be very cautious when talking to an insurance representative. The best strategy is to let them communicate with your lawyer instead.
If the insurance company is contacting you, it may be to make you a settlement offer. Such an offer can seem tempting at first, but it’s important that you not rush into any decisions. Settling too early, or for too little money, can cost you in the long run because — as a general rule — once you sign a settlement agreement, you can’t ask for more money later.
Don’t make the mistake of handling an insurance claim on your own, especially when the stakes are high.
4. Is the insurance company disputing liability, making unreasonable offers, or denying your claim?
Fighting giant corporations on your own can be extremely challenging, and the insurance companies know that too.
Unfortunately, insurers sometimes take unreasonable positions during the claims process, especially if the claimant is unrepresented.
Insurance providers have been known to make very low settlement offers that don’t begin to fully compensate the victim for their losses, or to dispute liability or deny claims in situations where you thought their liability in the matter was relatively clear.
If you find yourself in a dispute with an insurance company and you don’t have a lawyer on your side, you’re on unequal footing. Get an experienced advocate on your side.
5. Are you overwhelmed by the claims process and feel you need legal guidance to avoid being taken advantage of?
You aren’t alone. Many people feel uneasy or intimidated when facing an insurance company, employer, or any other large and powerful party on the other side of a personal injury claim.
As personal injury lawyers, we try to give our clients peace of mind. When you hire us, we want you to rest assured that our family of lawyers is working hard to protect your interests.
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Fuller & Fuller Attorneys at Law is a family-operated law firm with more than 46 years of experience in representing personal injury victims in Washington State. We are proud to serve clients all across Washington state, including: Olympia, Tacoma, and beyond.
We do not charge our personal injury clients a fee unless we get them a recovery first. Even then, our fee is only a portion of the overall recovery. Contact us today!
Let our family help your family!