Can hiring a lawyer really make a difference? Or is it just a waste of time and money? 

rainytrafficWhether hurt in a car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, or other type of personal injury accident, victims generally have a right to recover compensation for injuries that resulted from someone else’s carelessness.

The compensation can be achieved by settling a case outside of court, resolving it through mediation, or bringing a lawsuit and seeking a trial. If you have been hurt in an injury that results in personal injury or property damage, one of the most important issues your face may be whether to hire a lawyer.

The Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer

 A lawyer can help you and evaluate the full spectrum of your damages, which may include property damage and medical injuries, as well as potentially future medical damages, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Lawyers handle accidents and personal injury claims for a  living, and have a lot of experience dealing with the administrative, insurance, and other tasks that are required for victims of accidents. Lawyers can also help you deal with the process of the claim, reduce your stress, and help answer questions. Most importantly, lawyers can help you determine whether the insurance company is offering you a fair settlement for your type of injury and accident. After all, insurance companies love to deny or pay the bare minimum on claims, or tell victims they are not entitled to anything.

What Kind of a Case Can You Handle on Your Own?

If your accident only involves the loss of property, and no personal injuries, you may not need a lawyer. The at-fault party’s insurance company or your insurance company will usually reimburse you for repairs or the total loss of your vehicle if you are determined to be not at-fault.  Otherwise, it is generally good idea to simply speak with an attorney simply to ensure that you are being dealt with properly, and are being offered the compensation you deserve.

Start with a Free Consultation

Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. If you’re considering an attorney who will charge you for an initial telephone consultation, that attorney is in the minority – law firms generally offer free initial telephonic consultations to help determine whether it is worth the client’s time for the attorney to be involved. You should also be very wary of law firms that will not allow you to speak to the attorney at the beginning, and handle your case only through paralegals, case managers, interns, or nonlawyers. If your case is being delegated to a nonlawyer from the beginning, it is usually a sign that you will very rarely get access to the lawyer who will actually be handling your case. This is  big a red flag.

Avoiding Ambulance Chasers

If you’ve been injured in a personal injury accident, you may be approached by ambulance chasers, who are lawyers who go out of their way to reach in may contact with a individual who’s been involved in an accident immediately. This can involve receiving business cards at the hospital, at the scene of the accident, or receiving letters at your home that are unsolicited in a short time after the accident. It is actually illegal for lawyers to make the sort of contact with personal injury victims within 30 days of an accident for the specific reason. Don’t be fooled because most ambulance chasers focus only on getting the client.

Beware of “Stepped Up” Contingency Agreements

You should always be very careful of contingency fee arrangements that charge different amounts depending on whether your case is settled before or after a lawsuit is filed, or after a certain amount of time passes in the lawsuit (for example, 33% before  a lawsuit is filed and 40% after a lawsuit is filed and 45% if the case goes to trial.) While it is true that lawyers spend more time on the case when it is being prepared for trial, some lawyers unfortunately abuse the fee arrangement, and file a lawsuit very quickly simply to get the higher rate. A straight 33% is the standard for contingency fee agreements. If your lawyer wants to charge more than this, you have the right to negotiate the percentage – it is not a take it or leave it agreement. Be careful of giving your lawyer too high of a percentage beyond 33%, because there’s a possibility that when all is said and done, you will receive a lesser share of the ultimate recovery in the case. Your fee agreement with the attorney should always be in writing.

Paying Back Your Health Insurance and Treatment Providers

Individuals who have been victims of an accident often do not know that they must pay back their health insurance company or other medical care treatment providers who have provided services relating to the accident. If you have health insurance coverage through your work, and that insurance coverage helps pay for Dr.’s visits, ER trip, x-rays, MRIs, ambulance, surgeries, or other medical expenses, your insurance company will definitely want to be paid out of the recovery received from your personal injury case. It is important to have an attorney to work with the insurance company so that you get the most possible out of your settlement.

Getting Legal Help

AXIS Legal Counsel represents victims of numerous types of personal injury accidents and injuries, including car accidents, auto/vehicle accidents, bicycle accidentsbus accidents, motorcycle accidentstrucks accidents, boating accidents, brain injuries, head injuries,  burn injuries, school bus accidents,  dog bite injuries, parasailing accidents, premises liability, slip-and-falls, products liability, trip and fall injuries, catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, gym/exercise accidents, and other personal injury accidents.  AXIS handles personal injury accidents that have resulted in head injuries, traumatic concussions, fractures, facial fractures, facial trauma, and traumatic brain injuries.  Axis’ managing attorney, Rabeh M. A. Soofi is recognized as a “Top Women Lawyer of Southern California” by SuperLawyers Rising Stars, and is a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who represents victims of accident and injuries in numerous kinds of disputes.

For information on retaining AXIS Legal Counsel to represent you or a loved one with any accident or injury, contact or call (213) 403-0130 for a confidential consultation, or visit our Accidents and Injuries Practice or Individual Rights portal. AXIS is a Los Angeles, California personal injury law firm that provides victims of accidents and injuries with aggressive representation to pursue the maximum extent of their rights.

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