Personal injury lawyer
We’re with John Kelly, John is a Personal Injury Attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. He’s agreed to answer an online question, that was posted. So John, let’s get into the question. This question was posted from Samantha. It’s related to when she should hire an attorney for a car accident. So, her question was, “Mr. Kelly, “I’d like to know when you recommend hiring an attorney, “after a car accident, “and what situations you need an attorney; “and in what situations you can avoid hiring an attorney “and just work with the insurance company directly?”
Okay, thank you Samantha, for the question. It’s a good question and Samantha’s actually ahead of the game, a little bit, in understanding that there are cases and she’s smart to ask that it may make sense to represent yourself. There are a lot of factors though, that you wanna look at, before you make that decision. So I’ve kinda laid out some of these factors, that I think people who were considering representing themselves, should look at. And if they apply to them they may want to move forward in that way.
So one of the things that I first would look at is what type of case they have. So if we’re talking about an auto accident; pedestrian accident; something simple, that is very easy to explain; doesn’t have a lot of parties involved, that’s a candidate for a case that you may be able to represent yourself in. Cases that are difficult to represent yourself in, medical malpractice; you do not want to proceed forward, typically, by yourself in a medical malpractice case. Lots of times experts are needed, there’s a lot of complicating statutes that get involved in that kind of thing.
Any kind of case that’s, say a wrongful death; very serious injuries and we’ll talk about that; you know, things that probably a little bit of common sense but if it’s a simple auto accident; maybe a rear end accident, that’s a type of case that you may be able to represent yourself in. Then we gotta go to the next factor, which is, how severe are the injuries? So, if we have a case that has what we call soft-tissue injuries, as opposed to broken bones; head trauma; spinal cord injuries; severe burns; you know, anything that required hospitalization and surgery; those kind of cases, you would not probably want to represent yourself.
But if you’re talking, you know, whiplash; little back pain; something that doesn’t require a lot of medical expenses, that’s another type of case that you may be able to represent yourself and get a good result with. You always have to keep in mind these insurance companies they wanna minimize the amount that they pay out, for your claim. There’s a lotta good adjusters out there, and some of ’em are honest; but there’s a lotta adjusters that want to minimize the amount that they’re paying out so that they can save their boss money, their boss’ boss’ boss money really.
You know, and these are big corporations and they have bottom line. And so that’s what they’re looking out for. You’re looking out for your own interest and sometimes cutting out the attorney’s fees is something that you want to consider. The final thing, or one of the other ones I guess, and there’s two other things is what are the medical expenses? And we kinda talked about that, with the severity of the injuries. If you have a hospital visit, that visit alone typically is well over a 1,000 dollars and sometimes is up to 20.000, 30,000, 100,000 dollars and beyond.
Obviously if you have a hospital visit, and it’s thousands of dollars, that lean alone may warrant having an attorney get involved to see if he can reduce those bills. There’s health insurance that gets involved. The hospital has a right to try to come back to you and say, after your settlement, we received some compensation from your health insurance but we know you have an injury settlement and we want more of that money. That’s something that you’re gonna want an attorney to look at. ‘Cause that’s a lean issue, and that can get very complicated.
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From every state there’s different laws and your attorney can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars, literally in a big case; or, you know, something more practical, a couple thousand dollars more in your pocket after you had paid off your attorney and the leans were taken care of properly. You also can then feel rest assured that your attorney has looked at every possible provider and made sure that there’s no outstanding leans. So that after you’ve settled your case one of these doctors isn’t gonna come forward to you and say look I still need to be paid, and here you thought that they were taken care of.
So that’s another issue that comes up. Finally, you’re held to the same standard as an attorney when you’re dealing with these insurance companies and their lawyers. So if you’re representing yourself, you’re representing yourself as your own lawyer. If you make a mistake, that costs you your case completely, or costs you to lose a lot of money, you can’t go back and say hey, you know, I now want an attorney to look at this to review it. There’s very few instances that you’re gonna be able to do that. So it’s kinda high stakes and so you wanna make sure you’re doin’ it correctly.
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The final thing I would tell Samantha is look lawyers, almost every one of us, will sit down and at least talk to you about your case, give you the factors you need to consider. There’s cases that I talk to clients, I give ’em all the information they need, they end up representing themselves. Some of ’em come back to me and they, you know, had problems representing themselves. I’m happy to look at it then and pick up where they were but it’s a free consultation. It’s something that you should take advantage of and it may save you a lot of money in the long run. So, with that, I think that’s what Samantha should be lookin at, those are the factors. If anyone watching this wants to contact me for a consultation, on their case, my firm is the Kelly Law Team and the number is 602-283-41xx