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Do I Need A Lawyer To Help With A Personal Injury Car Accident?

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of th...

As a personal injury attorney, people often ask me whether they "need" an attorney to help with their personal injury case.

I always tell them the same thing: It is not a question of whether you need an attorney, the question is whether you should have an attorney. I then tell them that I can turn on a drill, but I am not about to start doing my own dental work. That is sort of a trite answer.

So here are a number of reasons you might be better off with an attorney:

  1. First and foremost, an attorney does the work for you. This allows you to focus on getting healthy, living your life, etc. Let your attorney bear the brunt of the stress.
  2. An experienced personal injury lawyer can tell you whether there is a basis for liability (i.e., whether you have a case).
  3. An experienced personal injury lawyer can tell you what your case might be worth. This is more of an art than a science, and something an attorney can do much better than a lay person.
  4. If you are able to settle the matter short of litigation, the attorney can help you reduce the medical bills/liens. In some instances, having a lawyer automatically reduces the medical bills due to various statutes.
  5. If you end up in litigation, you will need to take depositions, and the defendant(s) will take your deposition. Having an attorney help you is essential.
  6. If you end up in trial, you will be going against a defense attorney who likely has many years of trial experience and who knows the rules of evidence and procedure much better than you.

But don't take my word for it. No less an authority than Abraham Lincoln summed it up very well:

"He who represents himself has a fool for a client"

Pete Clancy is a partner at Clancy & Diaz, LLP. He specializes in plaintiff's personal injury work.