How Do You Know When to Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm?
According to the Department of Health for the state of Hawaii, over 1,800 people each week visit the emergency room due to injury, and another 97 have to be hospitalized due to their injury. When these injuries occur due to someone else’s lack of precaution or negligence, you’ll need to take the proper steps to ensure you get the compensation you deserve and that you aren’t the one left footing the bill for your medical expenses. To do this, many people choose to work with a lawyer, but it’s natural to still be wondering, “Do I need an attorney for a personal injury claim?” and “What questions should I ask a personal injury attorney?”
For help understanding your options during this difficult time, reach out to our team at Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law in Maui, Hawaii. We’re ready to help you put together a plan of action and move forward with confidence.
Common Personal Injuries
Accidents happen all the time, but when they result in serious injury, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Some incidents that could lead to a lawsuit are car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, slip and fall accidents, dog bites, product liability, or being physically assaulted. Because there are so many different ways you can find yourself injured, you should always work with a personal injury attorney who can address your specific circumstances and build a case based on the evidence and applicable laws.
Knowing When to Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm
Fault state vs No-fault: One of the first things you should know is whether Hawaii is a “fault” or “no-fault” state, since this will affect how you initially seek damages after a car accident. Hawaii is considered a “no-fault” insurance state. This means that regardless of who caused an accident, the injured party should first file a claim through their own insurance policy for coverage under their personal injury protection (PIP). This coverage will only pay for medical expenses or expenses directly related to your injuries (such as lost income), and it does not cover any property damage.
Injuries are Serious: Some accidents that result in minor damages an individual can likely handle on their own, especially if their PIP covers all their expenses. However, if your injuries are serious, it’s almost always in your best interest to work with a personal injury attorney. You’ll be able to rely on their experience and industry knowledge to ensure you are compensated fairly for your losses which can extend far past the initial stages of the injury. This includes follow-up care, physical therapy, or future lost income due to your injury.
You Don’t Know Your Options: If you’re at all unsure what kind of damages you’re able to ask for or how to ask for them, contacting a lawyer can help you better understand your options as well as what you can expect out of the entire process.
Dealing with Insurance: When you file a claim with an insurance provider, you’ll be contacted by an adjuster within a day or two. They will more than likely try to pressure you into making a statement or agreeing to a settlement before you’ve had enough time to get the medical attention you need or fully realize the scope of your expenses. This can be overwhelming to accident victims. If you work with an attorney, though, your attorney can negotiate with the adjuster on your behalf.
Proof of Negligence Isn’t Easy: Finally, a successful personal injury claim requires you to prove negligence on the part of another party. This is easier said than done. To do this, you need multiple pieces of evidence to back up your claim while also disproving your role in the accident. If you aren’t able to do this and a judge determines you were more than 50% responsible for the injury, then you won’t be able to seek any damages.
Things to Ask a Personal Injury Attorney
You should always start by asking your attorney to explain what cases they’ve worked on that were similar to yours and what outcomes they were able to achieve. A good attorney will never promise you a win or a certain amount of money in damages, but they can give you a ballpark idea of what you may be able to expect. Additionally, you’ll want to be clear on what their fees are and how they’ll be collected. Most lawyers handling cases like this will charge a certain percentage of your final settlement but will wait to collect until you’ve been paid. Lastly, you should ask who you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis, whether it’s directly with the attorney or a legal aid.
Protecting Your Rights Every Step of the Way
If you find yourself asking, “When should I contact a personal injury attorney?” after an injury, the answer is most likely now. To speak with a qualified lawyer in the Maui, Hawaii area, call us at Ranken, Shnider & Taylor, Attorneys at Law to schedule a consultation.