Do I need a personal injury lawyer?

If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you are not required to have an attorney, but there are many reasons you might want to have one. It’s likely that the party responsible for your injury has an attorney, and if they have insurance, you can be sure that the insurance company has an army of attorneys. None of those attorneys work for you, no matter what they say.

Because the other side has legal representation, you are at a disadvantage if you don’t have a lawyer looking out for your interests. The Insurance Research Council, which works for the insurance industry, has released a report showing that injury victims represented by an attorney receive settlements that are an average of 3.5 more than those received by unrepresented claimants.

That’s why an insurance company may tell you that you don’t need an attorney to accept a settlement, but it is definitely in your best interest to have an attorney who is on your side.

What does a personal injury lawyer do?

A personal injury lawyer does many things for you, including:

  • Investigate the facts of your claim, gathering medical records, accident reports, witness testimony, and other evidence needed to make your claim stronger.
  • Advise you about the law and your options, giving you the information you need to make decisions about whether to accept a settlement or move forward to a trial.
  • Let you know what to expect at every stage of the legal process.
  • Negotiate with the other lawyers in the case, working to get you a better settlement and make sure you are not taken advantage of.
  • Advocate for you at trial if the insurance company does not agree to a reasonable settlement that meets your needs.

By handling all the legal details and keeping you informed of the progress of your case, your attorney allows you to focus on what is really important: healing from your injury.

How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?

It varies widely from case to case. Some cases, usually those in which liability is straightforward, may settle in a few months. Complex cases with disputes about who is responsible and what the damages are may take a few years. Often, being represented by an experienced litigation attorney can help your case to settle sooner. The attorneys on the other side know that your attorney is willing to take your case to trial and has the skill to win, so they are more likely to make a fair settlement offer.

How long after an accident can you file a claim?

In Michigan, you may have up to several years after an accident to file a lawsuit for bodily injury or property damage resulting from the accident. That time limit is known as the “statute of limitations,” and it depends on the type of injury you suffered. While a year or more may seem like a long time, it is usually best to file as quickly as possible. If you begin working with an attorney soon after your injury, they are better able to gather information in support of your claim and work towards a prompt resolution.

While the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit could be up to several years, your insurance company may require that you file any claim with them even sooner. Read your insurance policy and consult with your attorney to be sure.

How much does an accident lawyer cost?

An accident lawyer should not charge you anything up front. Lawyers usually accept car accident and other personal injury cases on a contingency fee. That means that if and when they get a settlement or financial award for you, they receive a percentage of that award (usually about a third) as their fee. If they don’t get you any money, you don’t owe any attorney fees. The expenses involved in bringing your case usually also come out of any financial recovery.

Accident lawyers take cases on contingency because their clients are usually under financial pressure, often with high medical bills and reduced income. This system gives the attorney an extra incentive to work hard for the client and makes sure that a client’s lack of resources isn’t a barrier to them getting the justice they deserve.

If you have a question that wasn’t answered here, please contact Michigan Injury Attorneys to schedule a no-obligation consultation with an attorney at no cost to you.