Is it worth hiring a personal injury lawyer? You’ve suffered a personal injury because someone else was careless or negligent. Maybe a careless driver slammed into you. Or, perhaps you slipped and fell on a slick floor made slicker by water. Perhaps, even, you were shopping at your local big box store and a TV fell on your head. The ways someone’s negligence can hurt you are endless. Bottom line: you’re hurt, you have medical bills, maybe lost wages, you’re overwhelmed and you have to decide what to do about the situation: Should you or should you not hire a Tennessee or Georgia personal injury attorney?
There Are Two Questions That Always Accompany This Question
- Won’t the insurance company take care of me if I just tell them about the accident?
- Aren’t personal injury attorneys too expensive?
Let’s look at the first question:
Won’t The Insurance Company Take Care Of Me?
In a word, “no”, the insurance company will not “take care of you”. Insurance companies are not charities—they make money by finding reasons not to pay an insurance company will make you prove every element of your claim including:
- That their insured caused the accident
- That your injuries resulted from the accident
- That your medical treatment is reasonably related to your accident caused injuries
- That your injuries required the medical treatment you received
- That your medical charges are the usual and customary charges for those medical services
Even after you gather everything to prove the above points, the insurance company may refuse to pay you for your pain and suffering (need a link to an article here) and anything approaching a fair settlement without a credible threat of a lawsuit against their insured. This where a personal injury lawyer will benefit you because he or she knows how to prove all of these elements. They can gather the proof together quickly and efficiently because they’re set up to do this and, if you did your homework (need a link to the article on how to hire a personal injury lawyer), you found an experienced personal injury lawyer that does this day in and day out.
Next, we come to the second question:
Aren’t Personal Injury Attorneys Too Expensive?
This question is where your question, “Should I hire a personal injury attorney/?” gets a little trickier. Lets first look at how most personal injury attorneys get paid.
Almost all Georgia and Tennessee personal injury attorneys work on what is called a “contingency fee”. This means the attorney takes a percentage of the money he or she recovers from the insurance company for their fee. If the personal injury attorney recovers nothing for you, you owe the attorney nothing. Dennis and King take only one-third of our personal injury client’s recovery, but some firms take up to half of the recovery, so always make sure you know what the contingency fee is before you hire a personal injury lawyer. (In fact, Dennis and King, under their Fair Fee Guarantee pledge that their contingency fee will never be more than what the client gets in settlement—even if we have to cut our one-third fee.)
Now that you know how much personal injury attorneys charge, you have two more questions you need answered before you decide to hire a Tennessee or Georgia personal injury attorney:
Now that you know how much personal injury attorneys charge, you have two more questions you need to answer before you decide to hire a Tennessee or Georgia personal injury attorney:
- HOW BAD ARE YOUR INJURIES?
- HOW CLEAR IS THE PROOF THAT THE INSURED IS AT FAULT?
The best way to answer these questions is to show you some examples.
Example #1: What If You Were In A Very Minor Rear End Collision?
Let’s say you slowed in traffic and you were hit from behind. The collision really didn’t do much damage to your car—may be a ding or two. As for yourself, you may have been jolted a bit, but you aren’t really hurt. You want to get your car fixed, but you really don’t want to pursue an injury claim.
In this scenario, you don’t need a personal injury lawyer. For one thing, you didn’t have a personal injury. For another thing, you don’t need a lawyer to resolve your property damage claim—you can do that by yourself by contacting the insurance company for the negligent driver listed on the policy report.
Example #2: What If You Were In A Minor To Moderate Rear End Collision And Now You’re Hurting?
Let’s say you stopped at a red light and a car rear-ended you dead on. The crash did at least $2500 dollars of damage to your car. While you didn’t go to the hospital after the crash, the next morning you woke up and felt like someone had poured concrete into your spine.
This is where a personal injury lawyer can help you make your case more valuable. While an experienced personal injury lawyer isn’t a doctor, he or she does have enough experience to know what kind of treatment will: 1) identify all of the hurt parts of your body; 2) make you feel better, and 3) maximize the value of your claim. If you don’t have health insurance or your own doctor your personal injury lawyer can help here as well by sending you to a doctor (not a chiropractor) and physical therapist well versed in treating car wreck victims and who also will agree to accept payment for services after your lawyer gets you a recovery.
The example above is the kind of case where the insurance company will offer you maybe $750 to just go away while an experienced personal injury lawyer, depending on your medical treatment can get you 10 or even 15 times that amount by properly developing your proof of injury.
Example #3: You Were In A Severe Crash But The Insurance Company Says You Were Partially At Fault
In this situation, you absolutely need a Tennessee or Georgia personal injury lawyer. Why? Because the only opinion that matters as to who was at fault for your injury is the jury’s opinion.
Insurance companies love to find a reason to find fault with a victim of a car crash because by doing so, the insurance company can get by paying less on the claim. You see, Georgia and Tennessee are what is called “comparative fault” states.
Comparative fault means that a jury compares the fault of both parties and assigns a percentage of fault to that part. Let’s say that the insurance company thinks the jury will find you were 10% at fault for the collision. This means they will subtract 10% off of what they think your injury is worth. If they think your case is worth $100,000 dollars they will pay you $90,000 dollars. See how that works?
If the insurance company contends you were 50% at fault, they will offer you nothing. That is because under Tennessee and Georgia law, if a jury finds that a car crash victim is more than 49% at fault (or another way of saying it —-50% at fault) the law prevents the jury from awarding the victim anything—-you get zero.
In this situation, you need a lawyer who can hire experts and find witnesses (if they exist) that can convince a jury that the person who injured you was 100% at fault.
Example #4: You Are Severely Injured, It Wasn’t Your Fault, The Person Who Hit You Has Deep Pockets But You’re Still Being Offered A Low Settlement
This is where having a Tennessee or Georgia personal injury lawyer make such a difference. An experienced personal injury lawyer is going to know if what the insurance company is offering you is nonsense. If an insurance company or big corporation is not treating you fairly, an experienced personal injury lawyer can threaten them with a lawsuit—something these big corporations and insurance companies fear—and the lawyer has the experience and track record to back it up. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to gather evidence of the severity of your injury and the gross negligence of the person that injured you. In this situation, a personal injury lawyer more than earns his or her fee.
Take the first step toward a fair settlement by consulting an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to handle personal injury cases and will be truthful with you as to whether he or she can help your case. Contact Dennis and King online, start a chat, or call our Chattanooga office at 423-892-5533 to schedule a free claim strategy session. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees until we win your case.