When to Get a Personal Injury Lawyer in Palm Harbor15Sep
If you’re wondering when to get a personal injury lawyer in Palm Harbor, Florida, it’s generally best to do so if you sustain injuries in an accident and believe another party is liable. The right personal injury attorney can represent you in a personal injury claim or lawsuit as you seek compensation from the parties responsible for your injuries.
Learn more about when to hire a personal injury lawyer to help handle a case below.
When Should I See a Palm Harbor Personal Injury Lawyer?
There are several situations when it makes sense to consult with a personal injury lawyer to help with a claim or suit. These situations include:
Liability Is Difficult to Prove
One instance when it’s best to contact a personal injury attorney is when the liability in a case is in dispute. You may sustain injuries in a case where liability isn’t entirely clear, or the liable party denies responsibility, requiring you to take steps to prove that the defendant is liable.
Proving liability is challenging, especially in complex cases. You would need to prove that the liable party was negligent in some way, that this negligence caused an accident, that the accident caused injuries, and that those injuries resulted in damages, such as economic damages that involve financial losses.
An experienced attorney can help prove liability in these cases and help you get the full compensation you’re eligible to recover.
The Case Involves Multiple Parties
If a personal injury case involves multiple parties, this can make the case more complicated, as more than one party could be liable.
For example, a car accident could involve multiple drivers who share liability due to their negligence. Other incidents resulting in personal injury could involve medical professionals in malpractice cases that may also make a healthcare facility liable.
There are plenty of cases that may involve two or more liable parties, making it important to be able to identify each and prove their liability.
Insurers Claim That You Contributed to Your Injuries
When filing a personal injury claim against negligent parties, their insurers could accuse you of playing a part in causing your injuries. During an investigation, insurers could argue that you helped cause the accident, even when you know you didn’t, which could lead to a serious reduction of your compensation or the denial of your claim.
A lawyer with experience in these matters can show how the other parties were solely liable for the accident and your injuries.
You Believe the Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith
Although insurance companies work hard to avoid making large payouts, they usually do so by finding seemingly valid reasons to minimize or deny a claim. However, sometimes insurers may engage in bad faith insurance tactics that illegitimately result in the rejection or reduction of a claim.
There are multiple types of bad faith insurance practices that insurers use to compromise a claim, such as:
- Delaying payment of a claim in the hopes that the claimant will drop the claim
- Neglecting to conduct an investigation into the claim
- Asking for additional documentation the insurer doesn’t actually need
- Failing to disclose the terms of the defendant’s insurance policy
- Falsely accusing the claimant of contributing to his or her injuries
An attorney will be aware of these tactics and help determine if an insurer is acting in bad faith regarding your claim. If necessary, your attorney may also file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party if the claims process doesn’t result in a favorable outcome due to bad faith insurance.
The Case Involves a Government Agency
Certain legal cases may also involve government entities, which can make the process of filing a claim or lawsuit more challenging. One of the main reasons for this is that governments tend to have protections from liability, but it may be possible to file a claim or suit against these entities in some cases.
For instance, a government entity could be liable for failing to maintain roadways in a municipality, leading to poor road conditions that cause a vehicle accident.
You Suffered Particularly Serious Injuries or Disabilities
In cases where victims suffer traumatic injuries or permanent disability, the potential damages will be more significant. In addition to immediate damages, such as medical bills for emergency care, victims who suffer these types of extensive injuries could face lost income and ongoing medical expenses for the rest of their lives.
A lawyer can help determine what those ongoing costs will be and incorporate them into an insurance claim or lawsuit.
You Aren’t Sure How Much Time You Have to File
All personal injury cases have a specific amount of time before they expire, known as the statute of limitations. The statute varies from state to state, but in Florida, victims have 2 years from the date of the injury or its discovery to file a claim.
Sometimes victims of personal injuries may not discover they have any injuries until years after an accident occurs. For instance, symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may not become apparent until the victim begins suffering cognitive issues, mood changes, or other latent symptoms.
If you’re not sure whether you have the ability to file a personal injury claim or suit because of the statute of limitations pertaining to your case, an attorney can help you determine what options are available to you as you seek to open a case.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Not entirely sure why you should hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your legal case? There are several benefits of working with a lawyer that make it worth a consultation. These advantages include:
The Ability to Effectively Negotiate a Claim
Insurance companies may seem like they’re on your side when negotiating a settlement, but the fact is they’re looking for any reason they can find to reduce or deny your claim. A lawyer can learn the ins and outs of your case and determine how best to negotiate a fair settlement, with awareness of the tactics that insurers use to compromise cases.
When you accept the first offer from insurers, you may not be able to seek more compensation later, even if it falls far below what your injury is worth. Attorneys know how much your case is worth and will fight for a fair settlement.
Gather and Organize Evidence
Another benefit of working with an attorney is the ability to collect and organize the evidence you need to build a strong case. Medical records, police reports, proof of lost income, and other evidence will be crucial in helping prove the extent of your injuries and the liability of others.
A lawyer can obtain evidence you’re unable to get on your own and use it to support a claim or lawsuit.
Taking Your Case to Trial as Needed
Some cases may not settle during the claims process, resulting in a lawsuit that takes the case to trial. A lawyer with trial experience will help you build a lawsuit and represent you in court if you are unable to reach a settlement during initial negotiations.
Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Palm Harbor
To make sure you find the right lawyer to handle your case, there are some things to consider when seeking an attorney. When interviewing a lawyer during a consultation, you can ask the attorney about the following:
- The experience the attorney has handling cases similar to yours
- The specific person who will handle your case
- Pricing of legal services, including contingency fees and other costs
- The overall value of your case and settlement
- Whether you have a valid claim or lawsuit
- The steps you’ll need to take to get total compensation
- How many personal injury cases go to trial
Speaking with a prospective attorney about these matters can help you determine whether he or she is a good fit for your case.
What Happens if You Decide to Settle Your Case?
If you decide to settle a case on your own, you could wind up inadvertently compromising your case. For instance, you might say the wrong thing during negotiations that leads insurers to believe you’e partially liable for your injuries, or you may accept an initial lowball settlement when you actually qualify to recover a considerably larger settlement.
Having a personal injury lawyer by your side in these cases could help you avoid potential issues during negotiations with insurers. You could also benefit from a trial attorney who’s able to take your case to court if negotiations don’t work out in your favor. Ultimately, working with a lawyer can offer numerous benefits that you won’t find when navigating a case on your own.