As Soon as Possible
After you’re in an accident with serious injuries, you likely face many problems. In the immediate aftermath of the accident, many people struggle to decide what to do next. Do you need a personal injury lawyer? If you do need a personal injury lawyer, when should you call one? If you suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence, hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you secure compensation for your injuries.
Understanding Personal Injury Claims
To file a personal injury claim, your accident must have involved the following circumstances:
Someone who owed you a duty of care and violated that duty of care. In a medical malpractice case, this might mean the doctor who misdiagnosed you, treated you for the wrong illness, or failed to properly treat your injuries. In an auto accident, every driver owes a duty of care to others on the road, and causing an accident violates that duty of care. Working with an attorney can help you better understand who owed you a duty of care and whether he or she breached that duty.
The at-fault party’s breach of his or her duty of care must have caused your accident. If a construction worker fails to properly ground the electrical wires in a building, but someone immediately discovers the problem and nothing happens, you have no basis to file a personal injury claim. On the other hand, if the faulty wires cause a fire or an electrocution injury, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim.
Your accident must have caused you serious injuries resulting. In an auto accident, for example, another vehicle may crash into yours. If you walk away from the scene of the accident with no injuries, and a doctor evaluates you and determines that you are uninjured, you likely have no grounds to file a personal injury claim. Likewise, if you slip and fall while walking in a store due to inadequate wet floor signs, but suffer no injuries, you do not have grounds to file a claim against the store. Injuries that would make you eligible to file a personal injury claim include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord damage
- Organ trauma
- Broken bones
- Severe lacerations
Do You Need an Attorney for a Personal Injury Claim?
Contacting an attorney can accelerate your claim and ensure that you maximize your compensation. Retaining an attorney sends a message to the person who caused your accident that you intend to seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Many accident victims, however, worry about the expense of legal representation. While hiring an attorney can add expense to the claims process, it can also substantially increase the compensation you receive. Consider the following:
- Hiring an attorney ensures that you correctly identify all parties responsible for your injuries. Auto accidents, for example, might involve multiple responsible parties aside from just the driver of the other vehicle. If the accident occurred during the at-fault driver’s normal job responsibilities, for example, the company might bear partial liability for your injuries. Other responsible parties in auto accidents might include a mechanic who improperly serviced or repaired a vehicle, the manufacturer, or a bar or restaurant that over-served the driver before a drinking and driving accident. By working with an attorney, you can more easily identify all of the potentially responsible parties in your accident and seek compensation from each party.
- Hiring an attorney can make negotiating with the insurance company easier. Most of the time, during a personal injury claim, you will not deal directly with the person or company that caused your accident. Instead, you will speak with that party’s insurance company. From auto claims and product liability to nursing home abuse and medical malpractice, insurance companies typically protect the people or companies that caused the injury and ensure that you recover more compensation than you could seek from the responsible party alone. When you deal with an insurance company, however, you may face challenges as you seek compensation. Many insurance companies will employ a variety of tactics to reduce the compensation they offer accident victims as much as possible, including issuing a low settlement offer and pressuring you to accept it. When you work with an attorney, on the other hand, the law firm will take care of those negotiations for you, reducing your stress and helping you more effectively handle many of the challenges that come your way.
- When you have a lawyer, he or she can provide valuable legal advice about the claim process. Do you know about the Nevada statute of limitations for personal injury cases? What about exceptions to the statute of limitations? Do you know how your social media posts or interactions with the insurance company can impact your claim? When you work with an attorney, you will receive advice about how to handle many of the common issues that arise when you suffer a serious injury requiring a personal injury claim.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
If you suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. While Nevada law leaves some time for you to file a personal injury claim, the sooner you talk to a personal injury attorney, the sooner the law firm can start working on your behalf. The firm may file paperwork, start collecting evidence, and look for witnesses on your behalf. The sooner this process starts, the fresher witnesses’ memories are, and the greater the likelihood that you can track down much-needed evidence.
That does not mean, however, that you cannot contact a personal injury attorney considerably after the initial injury. In some cases, more information may come to light that makes filing a personal injury claim necessary. It may take time for you to realize you have grounds for a claim, or you may not immediately realize the full extent of your injuries and the costs associated with them.
At any point in your journey, you can reach out to a personal injury attorney if you have questions or need more information.