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Should I Hire an Attorney? Yes. Here’s Why.

Marker & Crannell Attorneys at Law Jan. 23, 2022

When injured due to the negligence of someone else, many people debate whether they should hire a personal injury attorney to represent them. They wonder if they will have anything left once the attorney exacts fees and costs from the settlement.

Perhaps you talk to the insurance adjusters and think they are nice people who want to help you. Maybe you agree to settle your claim for far less than it is worth or settle before you even know the full extent of your expenses and the long-term effects of your injuries. Perhaps you refuse the company’s final settlement offer and find yourself facing the prospect of filing a lawsuit.

Should you have hired a personal injury attorney from the beginning? The answer is a resounding “yes.” There are many reasons why this is true, including the fact that statistically, claimants represented by attorneys receive much larger settlements or jury awards than those who are unrepresented. Even after attorney’s fees, settlements can be as much as three times greater.

At Marker & Crannell, we have represented many injury victims in Naperville, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Wheaton, Aurora, Plainfield, Lisle, Woodridge, and Romeoville, Illinois. We believe that our experience and expertise gave every single one of them the best result available to them.

Common Injuries in Claims

Personal injury claims arise when someone else’s negligence causes an event that in turn caused injuries to another party. Among the common events are incidents involving vehicular crashes, premises liability, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and defective products.

Injuries range from minor cuts, bruises, and muscle strains to major injuries, such as fractures, damage to internal organs, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Injury victims often incur medical expenses and lost wages. Some never fully recover from their injuries. For some, the injuries they suffer may even be fatal.

Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

There are many reasons why you should hire a personal injury attorney to represent you in your claim. Perhaps the most important is to let your attorney do the work while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Here are five more valid reasons why you should.

  1. An attorney knows how to prove fault. Unlike some states, Illinois is a fault state. This means you bear the burden of proving the other party was at fault. In some cases, liability may be clear. In others, proving that the other person bears all or most of the fault requires an investigation of the injury-causing event and gathering evidence of the same.

  2. An attorney knows when to make a settlement demand and for how much. Although you may want to settle your claim quickly so you have some money to pay for medical expenses and living expenses you may have fallen behind on because you cannot work, that is not usually the best course of action. If you were seriously injured, it will take time and money to treat them so you can reach maximum medical improvement. It will be important to document the need for future medical expenses long after your claim or case is settled. An attorney knows how to do this.

  3. An attorney knows all of the options you have in pursuing a claim and can explain them to you clearly. Your attorney handles most of the work of investigating, documenting, and pursuing a claim or filing a lawsuit. However, you, not your attorney, are the one who makes all decisions regarding your claim. It is your claim, not your attorney’s. In order to make crucial decisions, you need accurate and complete information. An experienced personal injury lawyer will take the time to provide it.

  4. An attorney knows how insurance companies work and how to negotiate with them from a position of strength. Insurance settlements are a numbers game for adjusters. They value your claim based on industry standards, not on your individual circumstances. A good personal injury attorney can guess how an insurer will value your claim and will work diligently to document evidence that contradicts those assumptions and proves how much your case is worth. Moreover, most insurance companies get serious when a lawyer assumes representation of a claimant. They know they cannot deceive an experienced personal injury attorney.

  5. An attorney knows that proving negligence isn’t always easy. Premises liability claims, such as slips and falls, medical malpractice, and defective product claims are particularly difficult to prove. The more money that is on the line for an insurance company, the harder it will fight against a claim. A seasoned personal injury lawyer knows where to look for evidence that establishes the negligence of another party and disputes the fault the insurer will attempt to place on you.

Questions to Ask a Prospective Attorney

Personal injury claims are handled by most personal injury lawyers on a contingency basis. This means is that the attorney collects no money from you unless you settle your claim. You should be wary of an attorney who wants to charge you hourly or asks you to pay for anything if you receive no settlement.

You should also ask an attorney about their contingency fee structure. Most have a standard percentage if you settle a claim and a slightly higher percentage if you pursue or complete a lawsuit. Furthermore, ask your attorney how they handle case expenses. These are the expenses incurred to obtain evidence and copies of your medical records and bills, for depositions if you file a lawsuit, and for the work of experts, such as physicians, crash investigators, and product experts. Your attorney should be willing to front all of these expenses and await reimbursement from your settlement.

Ask the attorney about the results for previous clients with similar claims. Although the attorney can’t divulge details, they can provide the information you need to know about their record of success.

Finally, ask the attorney if you need them to represent you. With some small claims with minor injuries and few damages, a good attorney may advise you that your claim is best handled on your own.

At Marker & Crannell, We are on Your Side

If your question is, “Do I need an attorney in order to file a personal injury claim?” The answer is no. You can pursue a claim on your own, but it is likely in your best interest not to do so. At Marker & Crannell, we aren’t afraid of sharing our experience with representing clients in and around Naperville, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Wheaton, Aurora, Plainfield, Lisle, Woodridge, and Romeoville, Illinois. We are proud of the dedication and commitment we have for what we do for injury victims and their families. If you have been injured and someone else was to blame, let’s talk. Call our office now to schedule a free consultation.

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