Visitor Question

Tort Claim: Hire an Attorney or Not?

Submitted By: Wilbur (Chicago, IL)

I received broken bones in my ankle due to the negligence of a postal worker on a Post Office dock. I am a self-employed contractor with the Post Office, with two hired drivers who I have to pay additional hours to do my share of the contract during my recuperation.

Am I better off dealing with their Tort Claim office or should I hire an attorney? I would rather not hire an attorney if I can get the same amount myself. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Wilbur,

The decision to hire an attorney or not is really yours to make, but we can give you some pointers for both scenarios…

If the claim office is working with you and it appears that they will accept liability without much of a fight, you may be able to handle this matter on your own without the assistance of an attorney. If, on the other hand, they are being difficult, having an attorney will be helpful.

Furthermore, an attorney may have a good rapport with the claim office and may be able to get farther than you can in terms of settlement. Naturally, this comes at a price. Typically you will need to pay the attorney a fee of up to 33 and 1/3 percent before litigation and 40 percent thereafter.

So the crucial question becomes: Can the attorney get more than 30-40% than you can? If this is a low dollar case, i.e. under $10,000, you can probably manage it on your own. If, however you were severely injured and the dollar amount is high, it may be worth your while to hire an attorney.

Additionally, since personal injury attorneys do this for a living, it is second nature to them. Some of the complexities of a claim may be a bit confusing to a novice if this is not what you do for a living.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: January 6, 2011

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