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  • Writer's pictureMERCADO KRAMER LLP

Should I hire a personal injury attorney?

Picture of personal injury attorney meeting with client about if they should hire a personal injury attorney

You've been in a car wreck. You're in pain, but not yet sure if you're just sore or have a more serious injury. Your car is banged up. Meanwhile, you are still facing your daily obligations: taking care of your kids, getting to work, getting the groceries. Insurance companies are calling you. In all the chaos, you may wonder, do I need to find a personal injury attorney on top of everything else?

You might think to yourself, why pay an attorney if I can negotiate and keep all my settlement money for myself? Some people do handle their own personal injury claims and are satisfied with the result. This is more likely to be true if:

  • There is no dispute about who is at fault in a wreck.

  • The wreck is minor.

  • The person only experiences soreness or temporary pain. They might get checked out by a doctor once, but don't need follow-up treatment.

  • The person feels comfortable dealing with the ins and outs of contacting an insurance company and representing themselves.

The tricky thing is that when you're hurt in a wreck, you don't have a crystal ball to know what your future looks like. We see the following common issues when someone handles their own claim:

  • They think it was clear who was at fault, but it turns out the other driver has a different story. By the time an attorney gets involved, it may be too late to gather important evidence.

  • They give a recorded statement to an insurance company without proper preparation, and say something that can be used against them or hurt their case (a common example is forgetting to report all the areas of your body where you are experiencing pain).

  • They can't get the medical treatment that they need.

  • They accept a settlement offer that seems like a good deal, only to realize they are still hurt and need more medical care.

  • They can't get an insurance company to call them back.

  • They give the insurance company authorization to order to their medical records, without realizing this may give the insurance company access to past medical history and other sensitive, private information.

  • They try to negotiate a settlement on their own, and offer to settle for an amount far lower than an attorney could negotiate.

There are multiple benefits to having the right lawyer on your side from day one:

  • The lawyer deals with the insurance company for you.

  • The lawyer can help you get the right medical treatment.

  • The lawyer can investigate right away and find out if there are any issues with who is at fault, insurance coverage, and more.

  • You have peace of mind so you can focus on your medical treatment and recovery.

  • The lawyer knows what evidence to gather and when to share it with the insurance company to help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.

  • You can get significantly more money in your pocket at the end of the case.

If you're in doubt about whether to hire a personal injury attorney, the simple answer is that it doesn't hurt to do a consult and get information. Here at Mercado Kramer, it's free to speak to an attorney, and we'll be straight with you. If we don't think we can justify our fee by getting more money in your pocket, we'll let you know that. And we're glad to give you tips to help negotiate your own claim.

You might ask, why not try to negotiate my case myself and then contact a lawyer if I don't like the offer the insurance company makes? We've had many clients come to us with low settlement offers asking for help. And we've been successful increasing those offers to 10 or 20 times the original amount. But the unfortunate truth is that sometimes it's too late and people have already made mistakes that hurt their case value. That's why we want to be involved, advocating for you, from day one.

Call 888-311-4050 to talk to our attorneys today. We have offices in Salinas and San Jose, and serve clients throughout California.


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