The short answer to this question is when you think the personal injury lawyer can effectively help you. What does that mean, though? It means different things to different people, and for good reason. One person’s routine claim that does not require any legal intervention is another person’s nightmare that requires a team of lawyers. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are thinking about contacting an attorney about an insurance claim.
How much money are we talking? This question is not posed for the cynical reason that in the end, everyone is in business and needs to make money. This question is actually looking to the overall value of your claim and whether expending resources on an attorney will be cost effective in reaching that goal. For example, if a claim is for less than $10,000, does it really make sense to hire an attorney who may charge up to $3,000 to recoup that money? For some people it does and for others, it is not worth it.
Is the question of liability complicated? If the person who caused the accident is almost entirely at fault for the accident, then there really isn’t that much for an attorney to do in this situation. If it is clear that but for the raging hurricane force winds, the damage to the property would not have happened, then again, escalation is probably not required. On the other hand, if there are numerous factors that are present, anyone of which might tip the scale of liability in a given direction, this might call for a more nuanced and thorough review by a skilled attorney.
How many parties are potentially involved? This is where the question of liability can become really complicated really quickly. In the more complex tort cases, such as products liability or truck accidents, the number of parties involved can balloon depending upon where the fault lies. For example, it is not unheard of in a products liability case for the manufacturer, numerous sub-contractors, independent contractors, other related third parties, and employees to be implicated.
This is not to say that a routine two car accident does not require a closer level of inspection. It is possible that the real cause of that accident was not driver error, but some defect in the car, such as a poorly performed brake job the day before. It is worthwhile to investigate this even when the accident seems routine.
How well is the insurance company working with you? If you find that despite your best efforts, your insurance company is not dealing fairly with you, it may be time to call in an attorney to help. The attorneys who work for the insurance company do just that – work for the insurance company. They are not your attorney nor are they obligated in any way to give you advice. Their job is to protect the insurance company. So, lawyering up can have a substantial benefit in your negotiating power.
Even if you are unsure if an attorney can help you with a claim, it never hurts to ask.