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Is It Worth Getting an Accident Lawyer?

A Lawyer Leaning Against A Row of Bookshelves
Pianko Law Group 
February 17, 2022

We'll answer this question with a question. How much is your pain and suffering worth to you? If it's not worth much, than no, getting a lawyer isn't worth it. Any settlement will do. But if your pain and suffering means something to you and your family, than yes, getting an accident lawyer is definitely worth it.

Taking on an insurance company is a classic David vs. Goliath matchup. Insurance companies have almost unlimited financial resources. They collected almost $1.3 trillion in premiums during 2020. Those tiny auto insurance premium refunds they offered during pandemic lockdowns were not even a drop in the bucket. Company executives put this money to work. Usually within a few hours of a car wreck, a team of lawyers starts looking for ways to reduce or deny compensation to victims.

David only needed one well-placed pebble to take out Goliath. That's because he had right on his side. You accident claim could work out much the same way, because you also have right on your side. Think of a New York personal injury attorney as your well-placed pebble. In this situation, you need nothing else to obtain maximum compensation for your noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, and your economic losses, such as medical bills.

Victims deserve this compensation because the accident was not their fault. No one should have to endure pain and suffering that someone else inflicted on them. Victims need this compensation because the medical bills and other expenses associated with a serious accident are normally staggering. Victims shouldn't have to pay this money out of their own pockets.

What a Lawyer Does for You

New York personal injury attorneys offer a combination of legal advice, courtroom savvy, and negotiating skills that are available nowhere else.

Victims without lawyers are flying blind. Usually, an insurance adjuster almost immediately puts a settlement offer on the table. It's usually very tempting to take this offer and move on.

However, unless a lawyer evaluates their cases, victims simply don't know whether the offer is fair. Additionally, unless victims are under the care of a physician who specializes in injury-related matters, and an attorney can make that happen, victims don't know how badly they are hurt and how high their medical bills might be, now and in the future.

Once a victim signs a waiver, it's pretty much case closed. No matter how one-sided the settlement is, it is almost impossible to reopen these matters.

Courtroom advocacy is important as well. Most personal injury claims settle out of court. Therefore, many victims do not think they need a lawyer. Paying for an attorney is like enrolling in a lifeskills class coached by Ted Bundy. You'll never use either one.

True, most cases settle out of court. But most cases involve pretrial hearings over matters like motions for summary judgment, venue questions, and discovery disputes. If you don't know what any of these things are, and it's cheating to Google them, you should seriously think about working with a personal injury lawyer.

Additionally, the threat of taking a case to trial drives up a claim's settlement value. If insurance company lawyers know there is no chance they could lose the case at trial, they only make low-ball settlement offers. So, your lawyer must be willing and able to go to the mat for you.

In addition to all these things, an attorney is a good negotiator. Since they are so familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of a particular claim, lawyers know when to compromise and when to stand firm. So, victims get maximum compensation without unnecessary delay.

Choosing the Right Attorney

New York has more lawyers per person than any other state in the Union. Pretty much all of them sport the aforementioned combination of advice, advocacy, and negotiation skills. So, the selection process can be long and frustrating, unless you know what to look for.

  • Experience: Law school builds the foundation for a successful legal career. But a foundation with nothing built on it doesn't do anyone any good. So, your lawyer should have substantial experience. Additionally, for the reasons outlined above, your lawyer should have substantial trial experience.
  • Accessibility: Whoever said getting there is half the fun was not an injury victim in New York City. It's hard for many accident victims to get around, especially on bad days. Moreover, it's inherently difficult for anyone to get anywhere in the Big Apple. So, your lawyer needs to be relatively accessible.
  • Dedication: Very few personal injury attorneys get rich. They are not in it for the money. Instead, they do what they do to protect individuals from companies that would run roughshod over their rights, given half a chance. Lawyers without that dedication often look for a quick settlement and an easy way out. That's not the kind of representative you want or deserve.

Do not rush into your decision, but do not take too long either. Victims have a limited amount of time to take legal action in these situations.

The Car Accident Settlement Process

Choosing the right personal injury lawyer is a very big decision, so it takes time. Likewise, settling your case is a big deal, so it takes time.

The two biggest issues in a car crash case are usually liability (legal responsibility) for the wreck and the extent of damages. If there is no dispute in either of these areas, a car accident claim might settle within a few weeks. However, very few cases are this clear cut. Negligence defenses, which pop up in almost every case, include the emergency doctrine and comparative fault. The extent of damages could be an issue as well. A company doctor's opinion is usually much different from an independent doctor's opinion.

Therefore, most cases at least go to the pretrial stage, as mentioned above. Once a victim-plaintiff files legal paperwork, the judge usually refers the matter to mediation. During this court-supervised negotiation session, both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. That's where a lawyer's strong negotiation skills come into play. These skills are important because very few cases make it past mediation. This negotiation session is the last, best opportunity to resolve a claim on victim-friendly terms.

Accident victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact the Pianko Law Group, PLLC. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.

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