When you suffer an injury in an accident, there are so many things to consider and so many details that need your attention. It is easy for a person to quickly become overwhelmed. Of course, the most immediate and the most important concern is to get medical treatment for your injury. Sometimes an injury can be treated quickly. However, more serious injuries may need ongoing treatment and may leave the injured person in a lot of pain. Medical bills can quickly pile up as can loss of wages. Additionally, the accident which caused the personal injury may have also resulted in expensive property damage.
Many people are insured against some, or all, of the above expenses. For example, a person may carry health insurance to cover the medical bills, disability insurance to cover the lost wages and car insurance to cover damage to an automobile. Therefore, some people try to manage these insurance claims on their own and do not hire an attorney until litigation becomes necessary.
The Benefits to Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Early
There are many benefits to hiring an attorney as soon after your injury occurs as possible. Insurance companies, both yours and the other person’s, are likely to start asking questions immediately. Depending on the nature of the accident, the police may also ask questions. An attorney will often handle those questions for you. This will not only take the pressure off of you and allow you to focus on your recovery and other responsibilities but, it will also ensure that you do not say something to the insurance company or police that could later hurt your chances of recovery or hamper your defense.
Some insurance companies also try to pressure people into settlements as soon as they get the claim. If attorneys are not yet involved in the case then insurance companies can often get the parties to agree to a lesser settlement and they can avoid costly litigation.
If anyone involved in the case was seriously injured or if there is a dispute about who was at fault for the accident then it is important to hire an attorney as soon as possible to safeguard your interests.
When to Wait
You might wish to consult an attorney early for the reasons stated above. However, you might hesitate before hiring the attorney. A reputable personal injury attorney will be honest with you during your initial consultation about whether this is case for which you need an attorney. The attorney might advise you to take an offered settlement or to handle the initial stages of the negotiations yourself. If you are comfortable doing so and the case does not involve a significant injury or monetary loss then it could be to your advantage to avoid the expense of an attorney.
The law does not require you to have an attorney handle your personal injury case. Whether the accident just happened or you are on the eve of trial, the decision about whether to retain counsel is up you. However, if fault is disputed or there were serious injuries or monetary losses then it is usually beneficial to seek the advice of a qualified attorney as soon after the accident as possible.