When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Whether you were struck by a drunk driver or your doctor made a mistake during surgery, you might benefit from seeking legal counsel. Depending on the circumstances, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you obtain the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when determining whether to consult an attorney:
1. Am I Seriously Hurt?
If you suffered minor bruising or a superficial wound that didn’t require medical care, you probably didn’t incur much in the way of damages. If, on the other hand, you needed extensive treatment and missed several weeks—or months—of work, you may be entitled to significant compensation. That means the opposing party would have plenty of incentive to dispute your claim, so speaking to a lawyer would be particularly advisable.
In order to build a strong personal injury case, you must have incurred actual damages. Depending on the circumstances, the following damages might be recoverable in a Florida personal injury claim:
- Healthcare expenses;
- Home care;
- Ongoing rehabilitation;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Property repairs or replacement;
- Alternative transportation;
- Home and vehicle modifications;
- Child care;
- Domestic help;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of enjoyment in life; and
- Pain and suffering.
2. Is Someone Else Responsible for the Accident?
Were you hurt because another party either failed to act with reasonable care or intentionally caused you harm? Both scenarios almost always warrant legal action.
If you somehow contributed to the accident in which you were hurt—or to the severity of the resulting damages—you may still have grounds for a claim; however, the total payout to which you are entitled will be reduced by your own percentage of fault. That being said, if you bring a claim against your own PIP coverage—for example, after a car accident—you may be entitled to full PIP benefits regardless of whether you were liable for the crash. It is worth noting that in the state of Florida, accident laws give you 10 days to report an accident and 14 days to seek medical attention after an accident in order for your personal injury protection insurance to kick in.
3. Is the Insurance Company Refusing to Cooperate?
Most personal injury payouts don’t come directly from the liable parties. Instead, their insurance providers are responsible for compensating the victims through third-party claims.
Although insurance adjusters are usually sympathetic, their ultimate goal is in direct opposition to each claimant’s objective. Whereas the former wants to protect their employer’s bottom line, the latter seeks to recover the highest possible compensation. As such, disputes are common in these cases.
If you’re certain that you have a strong case but the claims adjuster refuses to offer a fair settlement—or to acknowledge their policyholder’s liability at all—call an attorney. A seasoned lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation and gather all available evidence of fault. In fact, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney before you speak to the insurance company since you may end up providing a statement that ends up harming your case.
Speak with a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you were seriously hurt through no fault of your own, turn to Emerson Straw to determine the most strategic way to proceed. Our resourceful team is backed by more than 70 years of combined experience in the legal field. Call (727) 821-1500 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in St. Petersburg.