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Facing the personal injury claim process is intimidating. Many people in this situation are dealing with a life-altering injury, have looming medical expenses, and are feeling extremely vulnerable. Knowing when to hire a personal injury lawyer or if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit might not be crystal clear.

Accidents are scary, no matter how serious they are. The legal aspects and conundrums that follow are stressful and may have life-long impacts. Personal injury attorneys represent clients who haven’t been adequately compensated for an injury. This can be a result of long-term implications of the injury, insurers refusing to pay, complicated liability, and more.

The most important thing to remember is you are not alone. In this post, we want to discuss the key signs that indicate it’s time to seek out a trustworthy Chicago personal injury lawyer.

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When to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Research shows that people who hire a personal injury lawyer to handle their injury claim recover significantly more compensation for their damages than people who choose to handle their claim on their own. Here are five situations in which you would benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer

1. You’ve Got a Significant Injury That Was Not Your Fault

Most personal injury cases arise when a person suffers harm from an accident/injury — which was not their fault. These commonly include motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidentsconstruction accidentsmedical malpractice, and more.

The main elements that constitute a personal injury claim are:

  • The damages and losses (physical, emotional, financial) suffered by the victim were due to the actions of the at-fault party.
  • The at-fault party owes the victim a duty of care.
  • The accused at-fault party did not meet the duty of care.

Not all injuries suffered constitute a personal injury claim. If you were fully or partly to blame for the accident – your claim might not be valid. Additionally, you need to have numbers for the damages suffered. This includes (but is not limited to) documentation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Cost of repairing damaged property
  • Incidental costs (renting a car, cab fares, hotel stays, etc.)

Seeking compensation for emotional damages can be tricky. Some traumatic experiences – like seeing a loved one die, PTSD from a car accident, or severe emotional distress resulting in sleep loss – may constitute a claim. However, anything less severe can be difficult to pursue.

2. The Liability is Muddled

Proving liability is the key to legitimizing a personal injury claim. In some cases, liability is clear-cut — like if the at-fault party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. Other scenarios might not be as simple.

For example, in the case of a car accident, if the driver of a vehicle does not own the vehicle involved in the accident, the owner may still be held liable in some cases. Such as if the owner negligently allowed someone with a known history of reckless driving to use their vehicle.

Or, if an accident involves a commercial vehicle or a driver who was on the job at the time of the accident, the employer of the driver may be held liable in some cases, especially if they were negligent in hiring or supervising the driver.

If a defective vehicle part or component contributed to the accident, the manufacturer or distributor of that part may be held liable under product liability laws.

If an accident occurs on private property (e.g., a parking lot or driveway), the property owner may be held liable if their negligence in maintaining the property led to the accident. And, in cases where road conditions or traffic signals contributed to the accident, government entities responsible for road maintenance and traffic control may be held liable if negligence can be proven.

The ability to prove liability depends on the evidence you have. Knowing how and where to gather it isn’t always crystal clear. If this is the situation, hiring a personal injury lawyer will be instrumental in legitimizing your claim.

An experienced personal injury attorney will help you in finding the evidence needed to prove the at-fault party is liable for your injury. This might include gathering police reports, witness accounts, security footage (if applicable), etc.

The key in this situation is to not wait. Every day you put off finding evidence and forming a case after the accident works against you.

3. You or Your Loved One Suffered a Permanent Disability

Some serious injuries can require months — or even years — of treatment. Injuries that result in chronic pain, paralysis, brain damage, etc. are perhaps the clearest indication of when to contact a personal injury law firm.

Personal injuries of this nature result in extremely high medical bills for an extended period of time. Additionally, insurance policies may only cover a certain amount of the costs. These scenarios can result in the victim having to cover the expenses of their recovery.

If you’ve suffered a serious injury (which was not your fault) and are looking at a permanent disability, you should NEVER have to cover these expenses out-of-pocket. Personal injury lawyers understand what injury victims are entitled to. Moreover, they will negotiate with the insurance companies to secure the maximum compensation for you.

4. Your Insurance Provider Isn’t Covering the Damages Adequately

Insurance is one of the biggest — if not the biggest — obstacles in a personal injury case. Several factors come into play in a settlement.

Most important is the severity of the issue. In states where the insurance company of the at-fault party is responsible for covering medical bills, treatment for minor injuries – like bumps and bruises – might not meet the limit of the policy.

To echo our last point, personal injuries that require extensive medical care tend to get tricky. Insurance company policies are filled with loopholes buried in fine print. If your insurer, or the insurer of the liable party, provides a settlement that doesn’t meet the costs of recovery, it’s time to consult a professional.

An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to fight for better compensation. Experiencing ANY issues with insurance is the clearest sign of when to hire a personal injury lawyer.

5. You’re Not Being Compensated for Lost Wages

A survey conducted back in 2020 — at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — found that 63% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. Not being able to work is one of the biggest (and most detrimental) collateral damages in personal injury cases.

Some injuries can potentially put you out of work for weeks — or even months. Your path to seeking compensation for lost wages depends on a couple of factors.

For one, if you are injured on the job, your next move is to file for benefits. A successful claim should replace two-thirds of your wages, in addition to coverage for medical care. In the unfortunate situation that you lose function in part of your body, you might be eligible for payment – depending on which part of your body was affected.

Two, if you are unable to work due to an injury caused by a different party — another person, organization, or company — you may have a personal injury claim. Ideally, the at-fault party’s insurance will cover your lost income. If the parties aren’t able to come to a settlement, the issue may be taken to trial.

Recovery of lost income is not something most Americans can afford to compromise on. If you fall into this category, consult with a personal injury lawyer right away.

Your Next Move

Personal injury is a very, very broad aspect of the law. These five signs barely crack the surface of understanding when to hire a personal injury lawyer. To come full circle, you are never alone after an injury.

Chester Cameron, Attorney for Personal injury in Chicago
Chester Cameron, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

The best personal injury attorneys got into this line of work with a genuine compassion for others. Trustworthy professionals understand the impact of personal injury accidents. They know victims often don’t know whether they need a lawyer. Luckily, most personal injury lawyers offer a FREE initial consultation to assess your case and offer legal options for financial compensation.

That is how we operate at Midwest Injury Lawyers.

Our mission is to help injured victims recover the compensation they deserve for their damages.

For questions or concerns, give us a call at 312-786-5881, email us at info@midwestinjurylawyers.com, or send us a message online. Even if your situation doesn’t meet the requirements of the law – or we’re not the perfect firm for your claim – we are happy to point you in the right direction.

Request a Free Consultation

Tell our experienced team about your accident and/or injuries. One of our personal injury attorneys will contact you to schedule a free case evaluation. Remember: you won’t pay for anything unless we secure a compensation on your behalf.

Call (312) 786-5881 or send us a message online to get started.