If you were involved in a car crash, industrial accident, or another incident, you may be wondering if you need an attorney to settle your claim. 

Here is my answer – maybe, maybe not.  It depends on the specifics of your case and your injury. 

Do I really need a personal injury attorney?

In my opinion, some small injury cases do not require a personal injury lawyer. How do you know if your case is a small injury case? 

Some things I see in small personal injury cases:

  1. minimal impact;
  2. limited or no doctor visits; or
  3. no ongoing treatment or limitations after a few weeks.

My office usually does not get involved in cases with very minor injuries requiring only a visit or two to the doctor because doing so is usually not cost-effective for you or us. 

The amount of damages at issue in these smaller cases is not that much, and after paying an attorney’s fee and your medical bills, you may be left with very little or nothing. This is simply not fair to you.Do you need an attorney to settle your injury claim?

When settling on your own after an auto accident, you need to collect your medical records, evidence of your lost wages (including sick days and paid time off), details about the accident, and evidence of liability.

It is important if you are handling your case after a car accident that Louisiana has a one-year prescription period, this is commonly known as the statute of limitations. You need to negotiate a settlement before this one year mark passes or you may lose your rights to recover your damages.

When should a personal injury lawyer be used?

However, for more serious and disabling injuries, accident victims will usually benefit from having an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney represent them. Why?

An experienced accident and injury attorney is knowledgeable about legal authority and knows how to effectively utilize the court system.

In some cases, an insurance company will only make their best offer with a trial date approaching.

An experienced personal injury attorney can effectively prepare you and your case for trial, and try your case to a judge or jury if need be.

And – in 1999, the Insurance Research Council (an insurance industry non-profit) found that injured people who used an attorney received, on average, three and a half times more in settlement money than those who settled without hiring an attorney. This is not just lawyer talk. 

The insurance industry’s own data shows how important having an attorney is for injured victims. Ever wonder why the insurance industry hates lawyers – because lawyers hold them accountable for the damages their insured’s cause. 

So, do you need an attorney to get a fair settlement for your claim?  Maybe not – if your injury is minor and your damages are small. 

But, if you have serious or disabling damages, the insurance industry’s own data suggests – hiring a lawyer may be a good idea.  

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Nationally recognized attorney dedicated to fighting life's legal battles with compassion and care