You know the basics about caring for your vehicle, your health, and your home’s plumbing, right? If something goes wrong, you have some idea what to do. But what if black smoke pours out of the car’s tailpipe? What if your jaw turns red and swells up twice its size? What if your toilet and bathtub begin overflowing with brown foul-smelling liquid?
Easy. You get professional help. You know it will cost money but you have little choice because the consequences of handling it yourself are potentially more devastating than paying a professional.
So it is with a personal injury. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 39 million Americans seek medical attention for injuries every year. Many of those people suffer a loss of income by being unable to work, usually losing much more if their injuries are severe. Often accompanying such life changes is disabling emotional distress, maybe even permanent PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) affecting them the rest of their lives.
Even if you yourself are an attorney, experiencing a personal injury from the negligence of someone else may be too stressful to allow you to think clearly with the objectivity needed to handle your own case. Numerous studies show that continued emotional stress interferes with cognitive abilities, physical healing, and the stamina to perform simple everyday tasks.
In general, if you hire an experienced professional lawyer, you have a much better chance of winning your case, getting more compensation, saving hours of personal time, and avoiding stress overload. In addition, you won’t make crucial errors by acting on bad advice from well-meaning but unqualified people. Here are some points to think about when making the decision to consult a personal injury lawyer:
Professional Training and Experience
In the U.S., the terms “lawyer” and “attorney” are often used interchangeably, but technically there are slight differences. Regardless, after years of study, those in the profession have to adhere to stringent regulations to maintain their licensure. They become familiar with federal as well as state laws, staying current with changes in practice both inside and outside the courtroom. They know how to handle complex litigation and are diligent in collecting evidence early in the case, knowing how and when to present it most effectively later. Throughout their careers, lawyers accumulate a wealth of skills.
The best attorneys are experts in keeping their cool but being able to employ their emotions as tools. Like successful poker players, they keep their cards close to their chest. They also know the art of the deal whether negotiating with another individual lawyer or a team representing a multinational corporate entity. As the old military adage goes about choosing one’s battles, lawyers are adept in the intellectual artistry of debate over blind aggression.
Good lawyers have the ability to see all sides of the big picture, including that of the opposition. As the Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tze said centuries ago, “Know thyself, know thy enemy.” Thoroughly examining the other teams’ evidence will reveal false narratives, omissions, loopholes, and more. While understanding what’s at stake for you, people in the law profession aren’t swayed by emotions because adherence to established laws with solid proof and legal precedents override moral beliefs, religious declarations, and people’s feelings.
Advocacy for You
Part of a lawyer’s job as the liaison between you and the legal system is translating the implications of legal jargon and fine print for you. As your advocate, your personal injury lawyer will stand up for you against potential opponents including individuals, private companies, hospitals, insurance corporations, and anyone else. Lawyers know that insurance companies often try to select parts of the truth to best benefit their business bottom line; your attorney will find the truth that best benefits you. Their expertise in economic, emotional, and punitive damages will prevent your case from being dismissed due to overclaiming. They will expedite your compensation and keep you on track as deadlines fly at you fast and hard.
People with limited income are forced to filter every decision through cost considerations. However, any kind of cost-benefit analysis will reveal that paying a skillful, experienced attorney will nearly always outweigh the option of handling a complex legal situation without professional help. Many attorneys not only offer free initial consultations and payment plans but will take cases on contingency, accepting payment only for a positive outcome.
Each person’s personal injury case is different, but examining these points will help you be more aware of the consequences of whatever action you decide to take.