When should I get a personal injury attorney?

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When to get a personal injury attorney - Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C.Basically, personal injury involves suffering harm due to someone else’s negligence; the term covers a lot of different circumstances. Personal injury can include auto accidents, dog bites, falls, and much more. Generally, since the injury is due to someone else’s negligence, the person at fault or his or her insurance company should pay for your medical bills and potentially other damages as well. When you have suffered an injury, it can be difficult to know when it is time to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney. Here are some tips for navigating the stressful situation surrounding an accident-related injury:

1.) Hold your tongue! When you suffer an injury, let’s say as the result of a car wreck, be careful what you say to the other individual(s) involved as well as the insurance company. Sometimes, injuries aren’t immediately apparent, and if you say you are fine at the time of the wreck, that may come back to haunt you later on.

2.) Know your expenses. When an individual or insurance company offers you a settlement, don’t automatically take it. Make sure you know what all of your medical bills and other related expenses add up to.

3.) Evaluate the potential pay-off. If you are considering hiring a personal injury attorney, consider what you stand to gain versus what you will have to pay. Basically, if you were in a car accident with no damage to your car and only suffered a bruised arm, it probably isn’t worth hiring an attorney—you will likely end up paying more in legal fees than you will recoup.

4.) Seek a free consultation. If you aren’t sure whether or not you should hire a personal injury attorney, remember that many offer free initial consultations. Take advantage of that. Find a reputable and professional personal injury lawyer and set up a meeting. Ask lots of questions to ensure that you get a clear understanding of how he or she may be able to help you.

According to Attorney.com, you will probably want to at least consider hiring a personal injury attorney if:

  •      Your injuries require surgery.
  •      Your injuries require long-term treatment (ex. physical therapy).
  •      Your injuries may result in some type of permanent impairment.
  •      You have a prior injury or condition that has been aggravated by this new injury.
  •      You have been contacted by the other party’s lawyer to discuss a settlement.

In addition to those circumstances, it’s typically a good idea to consider a personal injury attorney if you received serious injuries and:

  •      The other individual involved is uninsured.
  •      The other individual involved is under-insured.
  •      There is a dispute as to who was at fault for your injury.
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By George Vourvoulias

George is a founding member and managing member of Harmon, Smith & Vourvoulias L.L.C., a New Orleans law firm. George concentrates his practice in maritime personal injury, construction litigation, personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice, and DUI defense. George Vourvoulias's Google+ Profile