Unsure if your California accident warrants a lawyer? Here’s a quick guide:

  • Minor Injuries & Straightforward Case: If the accident was minor, with little damage and the insurer cooperates, you might handle it yourself.
  • Serious Injuries, Complexities, or Unfair Offers: If you have significant injuries, disputed fault, low settlement offers, or an unresponsive insurer, a personal injury lawyer can fight for fair compensation.

Read the full article for details on each scenario and when to consult a California personal injury lawyer at GJEL Accident Attorneys for a free consultation.

A lot of people ask, “Should I even need  to hire personal injury lawyers for my accident case?” You should hire a persona injury attorney to handle your accident and injury claim if you were seriously injured in an accident. However, if the accident was minor and there were no serious injuries and only minor damage you may be able to negotiate a fair settlement with an insurance company yourself.

However, hiring a personal injury attorney can help you get more money for your case. Hiring an experienced personal injury law firm with a strong track record may even help you increase the value of your case.

When You Don’t Need an Accident Lawyer

Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?

As a general answer, for a lot of smaller personal injury cases, you probably don’t need a lawyer. This is true for several different reasons. Specifically, the presence of the following three factors indicate that you might not need professional legal help:

  • The insurer is fully cooperative: Insurance companies are generally more responsive to claimants who are seeking a small payout, rather than large settlements. Indeed, if you are seeking a smaller amount of money, there’s a good chance the insurance company will be forthcoming. There are several different reasons for this, but the biggest one is simply pure economics. Insurance companies do not want their representatives, who they are obviously paying a salary, to spend hours and hours dealing with a very small claim. They have more incentive to settle the case for a fair price and simply move on.
  • You have a simple, straightforward claim: Next, as you would probably expect, smaller cases tend to be far less complicated than are larger cases. A lawyer may simply not be necessary to build a legal case regarding liability (fault) or your damages in a small case. Of course, if you simply do not understand your claim, it is a good idea to reach out to a local accident attorney who can offer you a free review. That being said, very small cases can often be handled by claimants on their own.
  • There is no room to add value: Finally, with small claims, there may simply not be enough room for a lawyer to add any real value. This is true for the reasons already mentioned (the insurer’s high propensity to cooperate and the simplicity of the claim) but it is also true because an attorney’s time costs money. But if there are serious injuries, an experienced attorney can help maximize the value of your case.

Here is When You Do Need a Lawyer After for Your Injury Lawsuit

The larger the case, the bigger the injuries, the more damaging it is to your work life, your body, the more medical bills there are, the more likely it is that you do need a lawyer. Larger personal injury lawsuits can require a full legal team and experts, and can take a long time to complete.

When you get into a case where (the insurance company is) looking at having to really pay out a significant amount of money, you will typically find that the adjuster you’re talking to doesn’t even have the authority to pay anywhere near what the case is worth. To give you more perspective to assess this issue, we have put together a list of four signs that indicate you should hire a California personal injury lawyer.

  • You sustained severe injuries: Above all else, if you sustained major damages in an accident, you should always work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. This is especially true if you have complex damages such as long-term/likely future medical costs, lost income or pain and suffering. As these damages are inherently more difficult to value than are already incurred medical bills, insurance companies often try to take advantage of that difficulty, in order to push victims into low, unfair settlement offers. Sadly, the insurer may try to dramatically undervalue your claim. Our lawyers can help you get fair compensation that accounts for the true value of your losses.
  • Fault for the accident disputed: In California, fault for an accident must be determined under the state’s negligence standard. In many complex accident cases, fault can quickly become fiercely disputed. Further, as California is a pure comparative fault jurisdiction, multiple parties may even share liability for the same accident. If you sustained major injuries, and fault is contested, you should always contact a lawyer for help.
  • You were offered less than a full settlement: Under the law, victims are entitled to compensation that is equal in value to their damages, both economic and intangible. If the insurance company refuses to offer you a full settlement for your injuries, you should not accept their unjust offer. You are owed full compensation and a lawyer can help you take the appropriate steps to obtain the settlement offer that you rightfully deserve.
  • You are being ‘stonewalled’ by the insurance company: Finally, unfortunately, in some cases, victims may find themselves stuck dealing with an insurance company that is completely uncooperative. Indeed, you may even find that you have a hard time getting your phone calls or e-mails returned by this type company. If you are dealing with an insurer that is non-responsive or seems to be treating you unfairly, please reach out to a lawyer for immediate assistance.

Do I Need a Lawyer After You’re Injured? It’s Always Better to Check

Personal injury cases can be complex and require significant experience and expertise. The bottom line: If you have questions or concerns about your case, or your potential need for legal assistance, the best you can do is to check and make sure. What I always suggest is just give us a call. If we think you need a personal injury lawyer, we’ll tell you why. If we think you don’t need a lawyer, we’ll tell you why, and then you can make your own decision with some additional information from us.

An initial consultation with the experienced personal injury team at GJEL Accident Attorneys is free of charge, with no strings attached and no hidden obligations. Our attorneys will simply review the circumstances of your case, use our decades of experience to give you advice on how to move forward with your claim. From there, you will be able to make the decision that is best for you and your family.

Need to hire a lawyer? Check out our guide on how to hire a California personal injury lawyer here.

Guidance on Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Deciding whether to hire a personal injury attorney is a critical step in navigating your legal rights and potential compensation. These articles shed light on the importance of legal advice and representation:

Written by Andy Gillin. Last Updated 04/15/2024