Visitor Question

Should we hire an attorney?

Submitted By: Wendi (Portland, Oregon)

Another person ran a red light. I’m not sure but I think he was ticketed. I was hit in the driver’s side door. Police estimated his speed at 40 mph, and there were no skid marks. My car was knocked sideways 45 feet on initial impact and hit again by the same car and shoved sideways another 15 feet.

A retired police officer was one witness. Witness #2 was an off duty EMT. Both say the other driver ran the red light. It took 45 minutes to be extracted from the vehicle. The roof was cut off and doors took the jaws of life to open.

I’m bruised on my entire left side, along with seatbelt burns and bruises. I was taken by ambulance and was in the ER for 6 hours. I suffered whiplash and had glass removed from my scalp. I can’t work. What do I need to do? Thanks.

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 Wendi,

Serious injuries can include head trauma, fractures, organ damage, 3rd degree burns, scarring, and similarly serious injuries. Insurance companies are notorious for under-valuing serious injury claims, and the compensation they should be paying to victims for those injuries.

Compensation in serious injury claims can run into tens of thousands of dollars, and much more. Insurance companies know that, and will do just about anything to  minimize the amount of compensation they are willing to pay, especially to a victim without legal representation.

Insurance companies know victims without legal representation can only argue their position so far. Without and attorney the insurance company knows there is really nothing the victim can do if he or she doesn’t agree with the final settlement offer. However, when an attorney becomes involved, things can change dramatically.

A personal injury attorney has the expertise and leverage a victim just doesn’t have. Experienced attorneys know what claims are worth, and won’t settle for any amount less than is fair. And if the insurance company doesn’t act fairly, the attorney can always file a lawsuit and let the jury decide what is fair.

There are less serious injuries, referred to as “Soft Tissue” injuries, which include whiplash, sprains and strains to muscles, ligaments, and tendons, minor burns, contusions, and abrasions, and similarly less serious injuries. In many cases, these types of injuries can be adequately handled by the victim within an attorney. This is because with soft tissue injuries, the costs of medical treatment are often relatively low.

Absent substantial medical bills, the compensation available will be quite low. As a result, if there are no medical bills there’s really no incentive for the attorney to take the case. Even if an attorney did accept the case, the client would likely receive a net settlement less than he or she could have negotiated on their own.

Most personal injure attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Depending upon your resulting medical bills, a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney will help you to decide if representing yourself would result in a net settlement higher than you might have achieved on your own.

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: October 19, 2017

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