Some people fear hiring personal injury lawyers because they think the lawyer will take most of the settlement.
While contingency fee percentages do sound high, the truth is that hiring a personal injury lawyer is often the difference between receiving money and walking away empty-handed. Or, in some cases, receiving sufficient money to pay accident expenses and walking away with a tiny, low-ball check that keeps you from ever receiving more.
Here’s why you should contact a New York City personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible when you’ve been involved in an accident, especially a catastrophic one.
You can’t launch some cases without a lawyer’s help.
In a car accident case, you take down the name, address, and insurance information of the other party in the accident and notify your insurance company. It’s relatively easy to launch a claim, though once you cross the severe injury threshold, it’s not easy to get fair compensation for that claim. No fault is routine, but the game changes once you can sue.
In a slip-and-fall case, you won’t know which property owner’s insurance company to send your claim to. The same is true for any product liability case. In fact, most personal injuries that aren’t car accident cases tend to require a lawyer’s help.
Suing the city? Theoretically, you can take the initial steps independently, but the deadlines are tight, and a single mistake can cost you the case. In most cases, if you’re suing any governmental entity, it’s best to get a lawyer involved immediately.
Lawyers can help you avoid major case mistakes.
We deal with insurance companies every day. We know their tricks; they usually don’t even try them when a lawyer is involved.
It’s very easy for even a highly intelligent person to make a mistake when a lawyer isn’t involved.
- The insurance company insists that you must sign a medical release form before they’ll pay you anything. What do you do?
- The insurance company asks you many leading questions. Should you answer them?
- The insurance company says they’re recording the call. Should you stay on the call?
In many cases, the insurance company is trying to gather evidence to use against you. They want to show that you were responsible for your own injuries or that your injuries represent pre-existing conditions. They often don’t even take you seriously if you don’t have a lawyer, so even if you avoid giving them what they want, they might stonewall you in the hopes that you’ll go away.
When you have a lawyer, we can file your claim with the insurance company, and you can direct insurance company representatives back to your lawyer any time they try to talk to you. This ensures you never give the insurance company a shred of evidence to twist up and use against you.
Lawyers can secure evidence you’d never secure on your own.
Want the video camera evidence from your accident? How about the truck maintenance records showing the owner of the semi that plowed into your car didn’t change its tires or its oil nearly often enough?
You’ll need a lawyer to subpoena that deeper evidence for you. In addition, if you need expert witnesses to prove your case, you’ll need a lawyer to find, pay, and make the most of these witnesses.
You come out ahead, even after you pay legal fees.
Consider these statistics:
- 91% of personal injury victims receive a payout when they hire a lawyer.
- Those who hire a lawyer walk away with an average of $77,600 in compensation, compared to an average of $17,600 for those who handled their own claims.
- Negotiating a claim can raise the average claim amount by $30,700.
A typical lawyer’s contingency fee in New York is around 33%, though there are different ways to structure agreements, and some experienced lawyers adjust those percentages.
You still come out ahead. Let’s say you get that average settlement of $77,600. The lawyer takes 33%. You still walk away with $51,216…$33,616 higher than the average settlement for people trying to go alone. And, of course, you walk away with $51,216 more than you’d have had if you were one of the people who can’t get paid without a lawyer’s help.
A lawyer’s negotiation skills make a huge difference to your bottom line.
New York’s no hard and fast rule for calculating pain and suffering awards. It’s a multiplier of your fixed economic damages: that is, your medical bills, your lost wages, and your expenses.
A negotiator who can push that multiplier from 2 to 2.5 percent has made you significantly more money.
In addition, there’s the matter of comparative negligence. The other side will push to increase your percentage of responsibility because your payout reduces by that same percentage. Your lawyer can negotiate to lower that percentage so you get to keep more of your settlement.
The other side already has lawyers.
Every insurance company, trucking company, corporation, governmental entity, and organization already has a team of lawyers ready to defend against any personal injury case. These people are trained, experienced, and ruthless.
Shouldn’t you have at least one lawyer on your side?
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If you’ve been injured in an accident, schedule a free consultation with our experienced team. We can help you get justice.