There is no absolute answer to when you should hire a personal injury attorney. However, a good rule of thumb is to get in touch with one as soon as possible after an accident or injury. Doing so removes the chance that you will make a mistake in documenting your case or communicating with other involved parties.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
In most places, you are not required to hire a personal injury lawyer after an accident, even if you decide to pursue legal action. However, a knowledgeable attorney offers countless benefits and can help you navigate both the insurance claim process and any legal claims you decide to file.
We recommend speaking to an injury lawyer as soon as possible. During a free case evaluation, an attorney will review your injuries, establish possible contributing factors, and determine the best course of action.
You do not have to pursue litigation to benefit from hiring an attorney, a fact that many people fail to appreciate. Your personal injury lawyer will handle your case from start to finish. They serve a variety of roles, freeing up your time so you can focus on your recovery.
Negotiate With Insurance Companies
Insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible to protect their financial positions. They use attorneys to make their arguments and negotiate settlements. When you represent yourself, you give them the upper hand in those negotiations. Having an injury lawyer on your side puts you on equal footing with the insurance company. The sooner you start the process, the better equipped you will be to face your recovery process head-on.
Many times an insurance company will offer an initial settlement. While it may seem like an attractive offer, it is often not in your best interest to accept this first offer even if it will cover your current care and recovery costs. Any amount you accept should also take your future costs into account. This may include:
- Accommodations for a disability
- Lost income
- Decreased earning potential
- Loss of enjoyment (such as the inability to perform a task or a failed relationship)
- Pain and suffering
Certain intangible injuries are difficult to enumerate. However, our attorneys can help you detail the full extent of your injuries to ensure you have the resources to get back on your feet and enjoy a full life after your recovery.
When you hire the Jeff Coat Injury Law firm, you get the full support of our experienced injury lawyers. Our attorneys specialize in personal injury claims, so we are well-versed in the language and tendencies of insurance companies. We will fight for your best interest throughout the negotiating process to ensure that insurers do not take advantage of you.
Accidents happen; they are part of life. However, when one happens because of someone’s negligence, it’s another story. Proper care could have prevented it, meaning your injuries would not have happened. In that case, the person who was negligent is responsible for your injuries. To prove negligence, however, you need someone to investigate the accident.
Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your accident to uncover any negligence that was contributed to it. This may include combing through reports and records, talking to witnesses, or reviewing available photos and video footage. If our investigation shows that someone is responsible for your accident, we will help you hold them accountable.
Speaking to an attorney immediately after your injury provides your legal team the best opportunity to show how others contributed to it. The longer you wait to contact a lawyer after an injury, the harder it is to gather relevant evidence. For example, if you fell on an icy sidewalk, a few days of warm weather will quickly destroy the evidence and make it hard to properly document. Additionally, witnesses may not clearly remember what happened or they can change contact information.
File any Legal Paperwork
If you decide to pursue legal action, you want the help of someone who knows the court system intimately. Accident attorneys are well-versed in the intricacies of the local legal system and can help you navigate filing and litigating your claim.
A key role accident attorneys play is keeping your case moving forward on track. They can provide details about the statutes of limitations for personal injury claims to ensure you start your claim before it runs out. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is three years. This period starts from the date the injury occurs. There are some exceptions for both the time limit and when the period starts, and an experienced lawyer can help you understand where you stand with respect to the time passing since your injury.
Attorneys also know what forms your local court system requires for filing a complaint and any documentation that must accompany them. Unless you have a legal background, this part of the process can be overwhelming. Additionally, if you file the wrong form, you may need to start over, potentially passing the statute of limitations. This is especially true if you wait a substantial amount of time after your accident before hiring an attorney.
Even if you decide against filing a legal suit, your attorney can help with the process of filing any personal insurance paperwork in a timely manner. This takes the responsibility away from you so you can focus on recovering from the accident with the resources you deserve.
Types of Cases Personal Injury Lawyers Handle
Because injuries can stem from various situations, personal injury law covers a wide range of possible scenarios. It is important to speak to an attorney right away, so you can find one experienced working with your type of injury. Lawyers specializing in injury cases may focus on one area over another, so you want to ask about the nature of prior successful cases to ensure a suitable match. Sadly, personal injury can take many forms, including:
Searching for an attorney early allows you to find one that specializes in your type of injury. The manner in which you were hurt can impact how you move forward with your case. For example, an attorney handling a workplace accident should be very familiar with local, state, and federal worker safety laws. Similarly, you want an attorney with experience litigating truck accidents if you were hit by a tractor-trailer.
Speak With an Experienced Injury Lawyer Today
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is a good step after an accident or injury where another party was at least partly responsible. The sooner you speak to an attorney about your injury, the sooner you can get on the road to recovery. Your lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies, file any required paperwork, and represent you in any legal proceedings.
Our experienced attorneys at Jeff Coat Injury Law will explain the insurance claim process and any possible legal avenues you have to pursue compensation. We will also help provide a clear assessment of compensation amounts based on factors such as the nature and severity of your injuries and how they impact your future. Contact our office at (803) 200-2000 to set up a free consultation.