Whether you need a lawyer depends on a number of factors, including your degree of injury. My job is to help accident victims in Columbia and around the state. Sometimes that help comes in the form of representation. In other instances, the best thing I can do is provide free copies of my books and guidance on how someone can settle the case themselves.
Let me first discuss situations where hiring an attorney on a contingency fee may be the better option:
1. The insurance company denies liability.
When the insurance company disputes who was at fault, you are unlikely to receive fair compensation without a lawyer who can study the facts, investigate the incident, hire experts, and prove that you are not to blame for your injuries.
2. The case is complex.
What do I mean by “complex?” I mean the case involves medical, engineering, or other scientific issues which might require expert testimony. Hiring an attorney with the resources and contacts necessary to prove your version of facts in a complex case can prove critical.
3. A serious injury has been sustained, and future medical care could be necessary.
When it comes to broken bones, long hospital stays, or the possibility of future surgery, a lawyer will help ensure all medical bills are identified and all future medical care is taken into account. Any settlement or verdict in South Carolina should factor in not only past medical bills, but every expense that may be incurred down the road.
Now let’s talk about the type of case where you might not need to hire a lawyer.
1. A minor accident resulted in a minor, temporary injury.
If you are involved in a low impact collision, you might need to get checked out at the emergency room or by your family doctor. You will probably be sore for about 1 week while muscles heal from the accident. If you make a quick and full recovery after only 1 ER visit, and possibly a follow-up visit to your primary care physician, you might not need a lawyer. In these smaller cases, you can simply request your medical bills and any lost wage information, then forward those documents on to the at-fault party’s insurance company. The insurance adjuster will not offer you the world, but you should be compensated for your losses. Though an attorney might be able to get you more money than you would get on your own, once the contingency fee (often 33%) is paid, your net recovery may be no different - and in some instances - actually less.
I hope this information helps you in your decision to either hire a Columbia, SC injury attorney or settle the case on your own. If you still have questions, don't guess. Instead, call me at 803-790-2800.