Should I get legal representation?

by Natalie
(Villa Rica, GA)

I was rear ended and the other person was at fault. I was taken by ambulance to the ER, and have a neck and lower back injury - no broken bones or fractures. I have a follow up with an orthopedic doctor scheduled.

The pain and symptoms from my injuries have increased recently. I have been very stressed, emotional, disoriented, and unable to work or do any daily activities. I'm barely able to care for my 18 month old daughter. I don't know how serious my injuries are, or if they are serious enough to require legal representation.

I know if I do contact a lawyer it should be asap. As of now I don't feel I'm in any condition to consult with a claims adjuster. Who do I trust to get the best settlement? Do I need to get a personal injury lawyer? What are my options? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Should I get legal representation?":

Natalie (Villa Rica, GA):

Whether or not a personal injury attorney will effectively advance your claim for compensation from the at-fault driver will depend on the type of injuries you sustained, the amount of treatment you require, and the resulting medical bills and lost wages resulting from your treatment and recovery.

You mention your injuries were to your lower back and neck. If the injuries turn out to be strains or sprains to your muscles, tendons or ligaments, commonly referred to as "soft tissue" injuries, then you can probably handle your own claim with the insurance company.

With soft tissue injuries, there often aren't enough damages to make it worthwhile for a personal injury attorney to accept the case. The main reason for this is the rather small amount of compensation insurance companies offer as settlements in soft tissue injury claims.

When an attorney becomes involved in a soft tissue claim, there's always a chance that after attorneys fees and costs are deducted, the client will end up with a net settlement which barely covers the medical and chiropractic bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Insurance companies closely scrutinize chiropractic bills, especially when they believe those bills are excessive in comparison to the actual injuries.

Because most personal injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations, your interests would be best served by consulting with several injury attorneys in your area.

The attorney will review the facts of your claim and let you know if your claim is viable, and if so, if he or she believes the net settlement amount will be enough to cover all costs related to your claim, as well as your pain and suffering.

When you go to your appointment with the attorneys, bring along copies of your medical and chiropractic bills, and a verification from your employer for any lost wages (if applicable). Also bring copies of receipts for your medications and any other out of pocket expenses related to your treatment.

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

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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