What Is Personal Injury? And Why Do I Need An Attorney?
Have you ever wondered what separates a normal injury from “personal injury,” the term used by lawyers that often involves a settlement or lawsuit? Personal injury covers specific incidents when:
- Someone is seriously injured.
- The cause of the injury was someone else’s fault.
First and foremost, a personal injury covers bodily injury. That can include any damage to your body that you can imagine—from a concussion to a broken leg. But personal injury also includes mental and emotional anguish that results from the injury. For example, an injury may lead to depression, public humiliation, anxiety, loss of appetite, or sleep disturbances. Any of these side effects would constitute mental and emotional suffering as part of a personal injury.
Personal injury incidents usually fall into these common categories:
- Vehicle accidents (especially car and truck accidents)
- Workplace accidents (such as an equipment malfunction that injures you)
- Slips and falls in a public place or place of business
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products (including food) that harm you because of the defect
- Dog and animal bites
So why do you need an attorney for a personal injury situation? After all, you have an insurance company or workers’ compensation that should take care of all your personal injury needs when filing a claim.
Wrong! Here are a few reasons why hiring an attorney is critical for any serious personal injury incident:
Big insurance companies will often do anything to lessen the amount of money they pay you.
Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests. They will do everything at their disposal to pay you the least amount of money. The most dangerous moments occur when you talk to an insurance company by yourself, answer all of their questions, and provide written or recorded statements. In these situations, you’re often sabotaging any chance of getting a fair settlement or payments to cover your medical expenses and lost wages. Insurance companies look for information that makes it look like you were at fault or that fault is hard to figure out. Without an attorney, you’re at the mercy of skilled attorneys and big insurance companies that don’t want to pay you anything.
You will often miscalculate how much money you will need to pay your expenses.
So what if an insurance company seems to be on your side and offers what you think is a large settlement? It’s tempting to just take it and avoid all legal hassles. However, many people have trouble budgeting for expenses in their day-to-day lives. Those same people will have trouble calculating their actual long-term medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial needs after they are injured. If someone else is at fault for causing your injury, you need to make sure you are fully compensated for your medical and living expenses. This holds especially true if you can’t work ever again or for a long period of time. A personal injury attorney will be specially trained to help you calculate an accurate budget and then fight on your behalf to get you the settlement you deserve that will actually take care of your needs.
A personal injury settlement or lawsuit is complex, with lots of moving parts and pieces.
After an injury, you will be dealing with a lot of physical pain and emotional stress. It’s hardly the time to try to handle a settlement or lawsuit on your own. Your situation requires an attorney with the time and expertise to focus on all of the complex documentation, communication with insurance companies and other attorneys, and settlement negotiations. Attorneys also know from experience how to create a practical strategy with a realistic goal, collect all of your correct personal injury information (both related to the incident and your finances), accurately identify who is at fault, and handle the appropriate negotiations and legal battles.
Because you have a narrow window of time during which you can file a personal injury lawsuit, it’s best not to delay. If you have a serious injury and you haven’t consulted an attorney, call us. We’ll provide you a free consultation and let you know if you need additional legal help.