Quite often, people who have been injured in an accident are reluctant to contact a personal injury attorney. There are many reasons for this, but most of them are misconceptions. The following are a few of the more common misconceptions about hiring a personal injury attorney.
You think the settlement offer is fair
An insurance representative may make you an offer that seems reasonable, but you need to understand that he is not in the business of making reasonable offers. He wants to settle for an amount that is acceptable to the insurance company, and do it quickly. This latter factor is important with serious injuries that could be costly to the insurance company. A personal injury attorney has a much better idea of what is reasonable, and they are working in your interest.
You don't think you can afford an attorney
Although it is true that lawyers, in general, will ask for retainer fees and will bill you by the hour, personal injury attorneys are different. They work on a contingency fee. You don't pay them until you get paid. And these contingency fees have been standardized in the area of personal injury law.
You will have a larger settlement without an attorney
The thinking here is that after the contingency fees are subtracted, you will have less money than if you would have taken the insurance company's offer to begin with. However, this is seldom true, but insurance companies are quite fond of telling people this. Yes, the insurance representative will say, they will have to pay more if an attorney gets involved, but an attorney will take this money along with money that belongs to you. It is better for you if you accept the insurance company's offer. This claim may seem reasonable, but it is simply a self-serving statement from the insurance company.
You don't want to go to court
Although there is never a guarantee that you won't go to court, most cases are settled out of court. An insurance company will negotiate for the best deal they can get, but going to court only adds a lot more to the final settlement amount. If they can't get you to accept an offer, they will negotiate with your attorney for the best deal.
Under no circumstances should you ever sign any documents from an insurance company. Even a check that is offered with a promise of future payments may be the only check you get because your endorsement releases the insurance company from any future claims. If you're not sure how good of a case you have, you don't need to be. Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so they can look at the strength of your case and any offers you have been presented.