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Do I Really Need a Lawyer for my Personal Injury Claim?

It is a very common misconception that all accident victims need to hire an attorney if they are injured in an accident that was not their fault.

The truth is, some accident victims should be able to reach a reasonable and fair settlement agreement with the insurance company without having to hire a personal injury attorney. There is no law that requires you to have legal representation for your personal injury claim.

Conversely, there are many types of personal injury cases that would warrant consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. If you hire a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case and the attorney recovers financial compensation for you, that attorney will likely collect a percentage - typically around one-third, or 33.33% - of the total settlement or verdict that is recovered.

Therefore, the decision of whether or not to hire an attorney comes down to a cost-benefit analysis of the situation. Ultimately, we believe that accident victims should only hire a lawyer if it is determined that professional legal representation could add or maintain the value of the case.

For example, hiring a lawyer is likely to be beneficial to an accident victim in more complex personal injury cases that involve a high level of damages and are more likely to go to a jury trial. This is because non-lawyers have a very limited understanding of the legal system, their own legal rights, and the intricacies of how the civil claims process works.

When is Hiring an Attorney Unnecessary?

personal injury attorneyAll cases are different, however, and some personal injury claims likely do not require the assistance of an attorney. This is largely due to the fact that an attorney is unlikely to be able to add significant value to a personal injury case that is less complex and requires less legal expertise. A large percentage of personal injury cases do warrant hiring a lawyer and the plaintiff is more likely to have a favorable outcome if they do hire an attorney to represent them.

Many law firms will accept all types of personal injury cases based solely on merit rather than taking the time to determine if the attorneys are able to provide any actual value to their clients. At Davis Law Group, if we believe we can't recover a higher settlement than the insurance company's last offer, or that paying attorney's fees will leave little money left over for you, we will typically decline to take the case and explain that you may be better off without our assistance.

A study performed by the Insurance Research Council have shown that on average, injury claimants who hired a lawyer to represent them received settlements more than three times higher than they would have if they had tried to negotiate alone.

Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.