Personal injury law permits people injured as a result of the negligence of others to seek legal compensation for their injuries. If their case is successful, they can receive compensation for not just their medical bills and lost wages, but also their pain and suffering.
If you choose to talk to a lawyer about your personal injury, you’ll have the opportunity to ask lots of questions about your case and find out more about your chances. But is it worth taking this effort?
The Risks of Talking to a Lawyer
For the most part, lawyers offer an initial consultation for free. Lawyers are interested in finding cases with significant potential, so they’re willing to talk to a wide variety of people about their injuries and legal prospects. In some cases, you won’t have to pay anything unless you actually win the case.
There also aren’t any personal consequences you’ll face by talking to a lawyer. At most, you’ll need to take a few hours out of your day to schedule an appointment and follow through—and that’s a small price to pay to discover whether your personal injury could win compensation in court.
In other words, there are virtually no risks or drawbacks in talking to a lawyer.
The Nature of Your Personal Injury
You may also want to consider the nature of your personal injury before talking to a lawyer, as not all personal injuries will warrant legal action.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Was this injury a direct result of someone else’s negligence? Negligence can be a hard thing to prove, but it helps to start with some kind of basis for your claim. Can you trace your injury back to some action someone else took? Or some action they neglected to take that they were supposed to take? For example, did someone in a car fail to yield to you, or a pedestrian, when they were supposed to? Did you slip and fall in a store due to a mess that wasn’t properly cleaned up?
- How intense is your injury? Some injuries are more intense than others, and the mildest injuries aren’t worth taking legal action over. For example, if you received a paper cut due to a breach in company policy, it’s probably not worth talking to a lawyer; paper cuts don’t tend to warrant extensive medical bills, nor do they have the capacity to make you miss work or seriously change your life. The more expensive and the more subjectively difficult the injury is, the more important it is to talk to a lawyer.
- What kind of evidence do you have?Personal injury cases are more successful when they have ample evidence to prove what happened. The type of evidence that matters will vary by case, but you can loosely gauge the evidence you’ve currently collected. For example, do you have a video of the events leading up to your injury? Do you have documentation that proves the individual responsible for your injury did, indeed, have some responsibility to you? A lawyer can help you sort these things out, but an initial grasp on your situation can be helpful.
If you can answer these questions confidently and still feel like you may have a case, it’s time to talk to a lawyer.
Before Making Your Appointment
Before you make an appointment with a lawyer, there are a few important steps you’ll want to take:
- Try not to talk too much. First, try to stay tight-lipped about your case. Don’t tell the person or organization responsible for your injury that you’re planning on bringing a case against them. Don’t post about your injury excessively on social media. Instead, lay low until you have clear direction from your lawyer.
- Get medical attention. It’s important to get medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible, and to follow their advice to the best of your abilities. You’ll want to document your injuries thoroughly and prove the extent of those injuries.
- Gather and consolidate your evidence.If you have evidence that shows how you were injured, try to gather and organize it. Your lawyers will want to see it when consulting with you on your case.
- Think of questions. Your initial meeting is a great time to ask questions, so think carefully about what you might want to ask.
Most people who have suffered a personal injury will benefit from talking to a lawyer, even if they don’t end up taking the case. This is a (mostly) free opportunity to learn more about the specifics of your case, and the legal options in front of you. As long as you have some semblance of a case, it’s worth the effort.