Q & A: SHOULD I WAIT TO SEE IF I NEED TO HIRE A LAWYER FOR MY ACCIDENT CASE?
No, it is almost never a good idea to wait to hire a lawyer. An experienced competent attorney can do a lot of good early in a case. Since most attorneys handle injury cases on a contingency fee, you don't save any money by waiting to hire a lawyer. It is critically important to preserve evidence, locate witnesses and document the case properly from the beginning.
You don't know what you don't know. Most people are not capable of handling the complex legal aspects of personal injury case on their own, especially after going through a serious and traumatic life event. I have spoken to numerous people who were slow to hire an attorney and who really messed up their cases in the meantime. These unrepresented people make every mistake in the book and insurance companies really prefer to keep injured people unrepresented because they easily take advantage of them. Sometimes these people unwisely settle their cases for pennies on the dollar after speaking with unscrupulous insurance adjusters. I have been contacted by others who settled their cases not knowing that they actually owed more in liens and reimbursement to a hospital or their health plan, than they received in the settlement.
I frequently take cases that were inadvertently fouled up by my client's with the best intentions before I got involved. I am happy to solve these problems, but it is usually easier and the results are better if the lawyer goes to work from the beginning. Since most personal injury and wrongful death attorneys give free consultations and work on contingency fees getting paid only when they win, it makes sense to get legal help early.
Jay Ciulla is a Phoenix personal injury and wrongful death attorney. Call (602) 495-0053 for a free consultation - preferably before you mess up your own case.