As personal injury attorneys, we often hear about people who suffered catastrophic injuries and loss due to the wrongdoing or neglect of others – but didn’t call a lawyer. Often, these people had every reason to file a lawsuit, and extremely good chances of winning a very high settlement or court award, but declined to pursue litigation. The reasons consistently baffle us.
Here are some of the reasons we’ve heard that people don’t call personal injury attorneys – and why they don’t make sense.
1. I can’t afford a lawyer.
If you are suffering instead of calling a personal injury lawyer because you think you can’t afford one, allow us to disabuse you of that notion right off the bat. Almost universally, personal injury attorneys offer their legal services on a contingency basis.
In short, if a PI lawyer takes your case, you don’t pay a dime unless and until you win a settlement or court award. If your lawyer doesn’t win the case, you don’t have to pay anything.
Possibly you think there’s a catch. Why would a lawyer do that?
Mainly, it‘s because personal injury attorneys don’t take cases unless they are confident they will win.
When you sign a contract with a personal injury firm, you agree to allow the firm to collect a certain percentage of the total compensation. Because personal injury attorneys win most of their cases, contingency fees make it profitable for them.
Contingency fees also allow any injured victim to have high-quality legal representation, because no one needs to pay a personal injury lawyer upfront.
2. I don’t want to be one of those people who file frivolous lawsuits.
Neither do we. When a person is suffering because they were injured by someone else, we don’t consider it frivolous.
The insurance industry and other moneyed interests have spent a great deal of time and money pushing the message that ordinary people who sue for catastrophic injuries are just greedy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Take the case of Stella Liebeck, who spent 8 days in the hospital, required painful skin grafts, and spent months healing from a burn she received from a restaurant. You might know this case as the McDonald’s “hot coffee” case. Poor Ms. Liebeck was injured beyond imagining, and then, when she sued for a modest amount (it was the jury in her case who awarded her several times the amount she asked for), had her public image mocked and scorned.
If you have been legitimately injured, and someone else was responsible, you have every right to file a claim for damages. If people think that’s “frivolous,” their opinions are really not worth caring about.
3. I don’t have time.
That’s exactly why you should hire an attorney. Dealing with insurance companies is time-consuming and stressful. There are endless phone calls, paperwork, and negotiations.
When you hand your case to a personal injury law firm, the attorney and staff handle all that for you, freeing you up to focus on recovering and getting back to your life.
Additionally, because dealing with car insurance companies and defense attorneys is what they do for a living, a PI firm will obtain the maximum amount of compensation that is possible in your case. With everything you have to deal with, you wouldn’t be able to do that on your own. That’s why people who hire attorneys to handle their injury cases typically receive more money than people who don’t, even after paying the attorney’s fees.
4. I don’t know if I have a case.
That’s possible. Not every personal injury is someone else’s fault. But you won’t know for sure unless you call a lawyer.
However, if you received a significant physical injury that required hospitalization, missed work, expensive medical treatment, pain and suffering, or emotional trauma — AND the accident was caused by another person, chances are good that you have a case.
The other thing about personal injury attorneys is that they usually offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose by making a call and asking the question.
5. I don’t want to hurt someone who just made a mistake.
This comes up when a personal injury occurs between friends or acquaintances, or even family. Sometimes the injured person simply feels sorry for the nice person who made a mistake that caused a car accident.
We get it. You’re a nice person. We appreciate that; there should be more people like you in the world.
But here’s the thing: Most people have policies with auto insurance companies or property insurance companies for just that very reason – to pay out if someone is injured due to their own mistakes. When you file a personal injury claim, you are simply requesting that the insurance company honor the contract they made with the person.
In the vast majority of our cases, we settle with insurance companies. We seldom deal with the individual who made the mistake. We conduct a professional exchange with a highly profitable company who can well afford to pay for the injuries and losses you suffered through no fault of your own.
Of course, it’s possible the insurance company will raise the other party’s rates, but honestly, it’s a small price to pay. And if that consequence results in the person correcting a dangerous condition or driving habits, it’s worth it in the end.
6. I believe in forgiveness.
So do we. Forgiving the person who harmed you is emotionally healing for all involved.
But forgiveness doesn’t relieve the wrongdoer of responsibility. And it doesn’t mean ignoring your own needs.
People make mistakes. And when they harm others through their mistakes, they should be accountable for repairing the harm. When people aren’t held accountable for their actions, they don’t learn or grow as human beings. They don’t take control of their own destiny.
It’s not healthy to avoid responsibility. And it’s not good to enable avoiding responsibility.
You can hold someone responsible for their actions in a caring and compassionate way. In fact, that’s the most effective way to do it. Not everyone is able to, or chooses to forgive the people who have hurt them. If you are, that’s wonderful.
But that has nothing to do with whether you should be compensated for your injuries. You deserve care and compassion, too.
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault, contact the caring, compassionate attorneys at TorkLaw. We understand your questions, your doubts, and your concerns. We will listen to you and provide you with our opinion of your case, and sound legal advice, so you can make the decision that is right for you.
Complete the form on this page to receive a quick response, or call us now at 888.845.9696.