More than 700,000 personal injury lawsuits are filed each year in the United States. If you have recently been injured, you might wonder if you have a claim. When is it time to hire a personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg?
Any one of these nine (9) signs can be a good indication you could use the services of a personal injury lawyer. If you notice one or more, then it is high time to get in touch with a personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg.
1. You Need Expert Advice
If you have asked, “Do I need a personal injury attorney?” recently, that may be the first sign you need one.
Many people fail to file a claim, even in cases of serious injury. They may believe they do not have a strong case. They may also believe the insurance company, business or employer will offer a fair settlement.
They may also not be sure when it is appropriate to file a case. You may not need to have suffered a physical injury to have a claim.
If you are unsure or the case seems complex, getting the right advice is crucial. Consulting with a personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg can give you peace of mind. Consultation can also help you pursue the right course of action.
2. You Have Been Seriously Injured
Some people hesitate to file claims, even when their injuries are serious. If your injuries are serious, though, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer.
Why? Serious injuries have serious consequences. Some injuries leave lasting damage that could affect you for the rest of your life.
Consider someone who suffers a broken leg in a car accident. They may heal from the injury, but may be left with pain or experience trouble walking for years after.
Serious injuries can result in lost time from work, emotional damage, and more. They could affect your relationships, or even affect your employment prospects.
Serious injuries may also result in high medical bills. Those bills may keep coming, long after the accident. If you experience ongoing health issues as a result, this is especially likely.
If someone else’s actions resulted in your being injured, then you may have a claim against them. A personal injury lawyer is the best person to assess the strength of your case.
3. You Cannot Afford the Medical Bills Upfront
As mentioned, if you have serious injuries, you may be faced with some hefty medical bills. If you have to miss time from work, you may find yourself struggling to pay these bills.
You may struggle to pay medical bills even if you have good insurance and are able to work. Some injuries need ongoing treatment.
The costs of treatment like physiotherapy may not be covered by your insurance. This may leave you on the hook for the fees.
There are many ways a personal injury lawyer could help you in this situation. Keep in mind that filing a lawsuit may not be the fastest way to receive compensation for your injury. It may take quite some time to reach a settlement, and it may take longer if the case is actually tried in court.
A personal injury lawyer can help you find medical professionals who specialize in the treatment of your injuries. In this way, you can receive the care you need in a timely manner.
4. Liability is Not Clear-Cut
If the waters of your case appear somewhat muddy, it may be time to hire a personal injury attorney.
Many people do not receive the compensation they deserve because they choose not to file a suit. They may be unsure of who was liable for the injury. They may even blame themselves.
There are very few cases where liability is cut and dried. In some cases, it is very obvious that someone else’s actions resulted in the victim’s injuries, while in other cases, the at-fault party may try to blame others, including the victim.
If you slipped and fell at a retail store, though, you may feel responsible. After all, you were the one who walked across a wet floor without taking proper precautions.
However, the business may be liable as well. Was the wet floor clearly marked? If the risk was not communicated, you cannot be expected to take the same precautions.
Other cases may be even more complex. If an elderly relative is being abused in a nursing home or while receiving care, there may be several parties that are liable. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can clarify the situation and strengthen your case.
5. You Are Missing Work without Compensation
Another sign it may be time to hire a personal injury lawyer is that your injuries are causing you to miss time from work. This is particularly important if you are not being compensated for this missed time.
In some cases, you may not have any paid leave to use in the event of an injury. You may lose compensation from the moment you are injured.
Even people who have insurance may miss time without compensation. If your injuries are serious or complex, you may miss more time than is covered by your insurance.
An example makes this situation easy to see. Suppose you suffered a head injury after slipping and falling at a local store. Head injuries take a good deal of time to heal, and their symptoms can interfere with day-to-day tasks.
Someone with a head injury may suffer from loss of focus. They may also have headaches that make it difficult to read or look at screens. They may suffer from vertigo, which could prevent them from completing tasks like climbing ladders.
Both an office worker and a construction worker may need to miss more time than anticipated due to this type of head injury. Symptoms can take quite some time to resolve. Your insurance may not provide enough compensation.
6. The Insurance Company Gives You the Runaround
Many people assume that cases of personal injury will be resolved by insurance companies. If you slip and fall on the floor at a local store, you can file an insurance claim. The business should have liability insurance to protect them from such claims.
This is true of many accidents and injuries. In the case of a car accident, you may file an insurance claim with your own company. You can make a claim with the other driver’s insurance company as well.
In any of these cases, the insurance company may decide to deny your claim. In the case of the car accident, they may deny that their client is liable for your injuries. The same may be true of the slip and fall at the local store.
In other cases, the insurance company may hold up payment. They may also deny or reduce payment if they believe you have coverage from another company.
In any of these cases, you may need a personal injury attorney to help you seek the compensation you are entitled to. If the insurance company is giving you the runaround, it is time to contact a lawyer.
7. Your Settlement Offer is Not Fair
Another possible outcome is that you negotiate a settlement out of court. An insurance company may act as the broker, or they may pay the claim. In some cases, a business may negotiate a settlement.
Settlements may seem like a good outcome. You will receive compensation, and you will not need to hire a lawyer or go to court.
When you look at the offer, though, you realize the other parties are not playing fair.
Most businesses will try to negotiate settlements as a way of reducing costs. They may offer you an amount that is just a fraction of fair compensation for your suffering.
A business may also negotiate a small settlement to stay out of court and avoid the publicity of a trial. They may not offer fair compensation because they do not believe they are liable.
For the injured party, this can be difficult to deal with. You may be talking to experienced insurance adjusters or professionals who are convinced you do not have a case.
Having a lawyer on your side is important whenever you negotiate a legal settlement or contract. They will be able to assess whether the settlement offer is fair. They are also better positioned to negotiate for a better deal for you.
8. A Defective Product Played a Role in Your Injury
Personal injury lawyers also deal with product liability suits. If you were injured because of a defective product, hiring a personal injury attorney is a smart move.
Product liability comes in many forms, and it can also make it more difficult to discern liability. Take, for example, the infamous case of the McDonald’s coffee. An elderly woman was severely burned when the coffee melted through its container.
Liability was not immediately clear. Who was at fault for the failure of the cup? Was it McDonald’s, for holding the coffee at unsafe temperatures?
Or was it the manufacturer that supplied the cups? Perhaps the cup melted because it was defective, not because the coffee was too hot.
In the end, McDonald’s was found liable for the injuries caused to their customer. They had been negligent in their duty to warn customers about the injury risk associated with hot beverages.
A more recent example could be the faulty vape pens that sent hundreds of people to the hospital in 2019. Many people assumed that the users were aware of and accepted the risks of using these products. In reality, many parties, including the manufacturer, may actually be liable.
A more common example is a car accident where a defective part may have played a role. Auto manufacturers issue recalls all the time. Not everyone takes the opportunity to have unsafe parts replaced.
Who is at fault then? Is it the auto manufacturer? The vehicle owner?
A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate these complex cases.
9. Your Health is Worse After Treatment from a Medical Practitioner
Medical malpractice suits can be difficult to win at the best of times. If you suspect medical malpractice has hurt your health, then it is time to call a personal injury lawyer.
Medical professionals such as doctors and nurses have a duty to deliver care that reaches certain standards. Incompetence or negligence can result in worse outcomes for patients.
Medical malpractice suits are often complex, so you will want to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. They will be able to provide more than just legal expertise. If your case must be supported by expert witnesses, for example, then a lawyer will find those experts.
If you think you have a malpractice suit on your hands, your next question should be, “How do I find a personal injury attorney?”
Find a Personal Injury Attorney in St. Petersburg
If your case has one or more of these signs, your next steps should be to find a personal injury attorney.
You can start with an Internet search. Check reviews from current clients. If you know anyone who has filed a personal injury claim, then you can ask them for recommendations.
You may also inquire with other legal professionals you have worked with. Someone in your network likely has a recommendation.
Remember to look for an attorney who has experience and expertise. Be sure to read their policies about consultation and fees. The best personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg should only charge you if you win.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
No one wants to be injured. If someone else’s actions have resulted in your injury, then you may have a case. You do not have to struggle with uncooperative insurance companies and huge medical bills on your own.
If you notice any of these signs, it is time to consult with the best personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg. Getting in touch will bring you one step closer to receiving a better settlement.