While it may seem unthinkable, if you suffer an injury in a car accident, an accident on the job, or you are attacked by a dog, there is a good chance that you will suffer serious financial harm during your recovery. Even those of us who have a relatively stable income suffer financially when there is a crisis, which causes us to lose time from work.
Study after study shows how few Americans have sufficient savings to pay for an emergency. In fact, most of us could face financial ruin if we needed to come up with $400 to fund a repair to our vehicles, pay an unexpected medical bill, or for a major household appliance replacement.
This leaves one wondering what happens when you suffer an injury that results in your inability to work full-time. While many have short-term or long-term disability plans through our employers or, if the injury was work-related, they can collect workers’ compensation benefits.
However, these plans do not cover 100 percent of our income. This means we face a shortfall in our normal income, which could result in a struggle to pay everyday expenses. This also begs the question—how can I afford to pay an attorney to make sure I can hold the person responsible for my injuries accountable? It may be easier than you think to hire a personal injury attorney.
Free Consultations Really Are Free
Initially, you can reach out to an attorney for advice. Most personal injury firms have someone available seven days a week to offer a free consultation. In most cases, the attorney you are consulting with will ask you questions about the accident, your injury, and the long-term impact your injury will have on your ability to work.
Once the consultation is complete, the attorney will then advise you of what options you have available to help ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. You are under no obligation to hire the attorney you consult with. However, an experienced personal injury attorney could help you hold someone accountable and can result in a better outcome than if you were to attempt to negotiate with the insurance company on your own.
Insurance Company Adjusters Are Not Necessarily on Your Side
After experiencing an accident caused by another party, seek legal advice. This is a matter of protecting your right to compensation under the law. Victims of a third-party’s negligent behavior have the right to hold them responsible for the harm they have caused. However, keep in mind, the responsible party’s insurance company may try to do everything possible to help ensure that you get the minimum payout.
Some common tactics an insurer may employ to minimize the amount they pay on your claim can include:
- Claiming you were partially responsible for your injuries.
- Claiming your injuries are not as bad as your records indicate.
- Claiming your injuries existed before the injury.
Remember this: Insurance companies have a vested interest in paying out as little as possible in claims. They make money from collecting premiums, and they lose money when they pay out claims.
An attorney you hire has a vested interest in making sure you get the maximum possible settlement. The reason for this is that a personal injury attorney generally works on a contingency fee basis, which means they would get paid after you receive a settlement.
How Do Contingency Fees Work?
When an attorney agrees to work on a contingency fee basis, they agree to take their fee only if they recover compensation in your case. The difference is, unlike an attorney who charges you hourly for their services, a personal injury lawyer bases a contingency fee on the result of your case. You and the attorney agree to a set percentage of the final settlement reached in your case. Generally, this means that you would not need to pay these attorneys’ fees until a settlement is agreed upon and accepted.
If a personal injury attorney offers to accept your case but suggests they will only accept your case if you pay hourly, this may be a red flag. Sometimes, this can signal that the attorney does not have confidence in their ability to secure a settlement, or that they are inexperienced with personal injury law cases.
Can Contingency Fees Be Negotiated?
A personal injury attorney who has experience negotiating settlements on personal injury cases would be able to tell you what percentage of the settlement they would expect you to pay. These fees are based on numerous factors including how long they believe it will take them to negotiate a settlement, how complex your case is, and how likely they are to secure a settlement.
You can negotiate these fees, but your attorney will explain to you why they have determined that this amount is reasonable. You should always feel free to ask questions regarding the potential outcome of your case. Your attorney will likely advise you if they suspect your case will have to go to court. This will require more time from your legal team. This may factor into the fee.
Money Should Never Be a Barrier to Justice
You have the right to hold someone accountable when they are responsible for an injury that eats away your income. Losing 20 percent or more of your income because you suffered an injury can be financially devastating to your family. When you have suffered an injury and a third party is responsible, you have the right to try to ensure that you are made financially whole. An experienced attorney who understands personal injury statutes can help you recover financially while you focus on recovering physically.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today if you or a loved one suffered an injury because someone else acted negligently. Discuss your options, and find out what you should do to preserve your rights throughout your case.