When we’re out at community events and a passerby grabs a business card off our table, they inevitably say “I hope I never need you.” Our response is always the same: “We hope you never need us.” It might seem weird to hear that personal injury lawyers in San Francisco actually would rather folks NOT be injured, but that’s how we roll. And we try to channel our optimism into practical community advocacy work to help make communities safer for you. The other thing we are known for is giving honest, straight-up advice about whether you really need to hire a personal injury lawyer if you are injured in a collision. If it’s the kind of personal injury accident case you can do on your own, we’ll tell you that and then take the time to walk you through the steps you need to take. That’s gratis. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. We’re big on that. And in big cities like San Francisco we know it’s hard to find simple, real, honest advice. So here are a few tips to help you decide if hiring a personal injury lawyer is right for you.
Were you injured?
First, let’s define a “personal injury”. Obviously, it means an injury to your person. An injury can be physical, like a broken wrist, fractured ankle or torn ligaments, or psychological, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or anxiety. Often, people who have been involved in a car accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident or injured as a pedestrian have both physical and psychological injuries. If you were injured, then move to question 2. If you weren’t injured, but your property was damaged, stay tuned for the next part of our series which will take you through handling property damage claims.
Did someone else cause your injuries?
Were you hit by car, bus, taxi, Uber, or were you injured by someone else’s actions, like a passenger flinging their car door into traffic?
Did you incur damages?
Damages can be both economic like medical bills or lost wages and non-economic like the pain, suffering, anxiety and inconvenience that come with being injured.
If you answered “yes” to all 3 questions above, then the short answer is that you may have a claim against the person who injured you. This is when it can be best to start making phone calls to get free consultations with personal injury lawyers like us in San Francisco or Paso Robles. You may not know what damages to look for: past medical bills, medical bills for medical treatment you may need in the future, lost sick or vacation time from work, future time off from work you may need to heal from your injuries or for more medical treatment, or the type and severity of your injuries. These are all factors to consider when deciding if you need to hire a personal injury lawyer.
For example, if you were rear-ended by another car at low speed, went home were a little sore, saw your family doctor to get checked out and two weeks later you were back to 100%, this is the kind of thing you can do on your own directly with the other driver’s insurance company.
On the other hand, if you were taken by ambulance to the hospital or have more serious or complicated injuries, this is when to consider talking to a professional. Other deciding factors for clients in hiring a personal injury attorney include:
- The pain and loss from the injury;
- The financial insecurity as the medical bills stack up and income is lost;
- The frustration when insurance companies don’t do the right thing; and
- Wanting to have someone on their side, making sure the case is handled right from the start.
We hope we’ve given you a few things to think about but if you want our professional opinion on your case, we’re happy to talk to you, free of charge. Just keep in mind there are time limits for filing personal injury lawsuits (statutes of limitation) so it is usually better to seek help earlier rather than later. We like to do the heavy lifting for our clients straight away so this way they can focus on what’s really important–healing.