Are There Risks To Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?
by Sean McQuaid on April 8th, 2020 in Personal Injury
After an accident people ask themselves two questions-do I need a personal injury attorney and how much do they cost? Because many of our clients have never been injured and through the personal injury claim process, we take our time to answer all of their questions.
At Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, PA, we have handled virtually every type of personal injury claim that exists. We are the oldest law firm in St. Petersburg and are the legal leaders in the field. Because of our vast experience, we are able to provide tips and recommendations if you find yourself the victim of an unfortunate accident. Our goals in every case are to make sure that you recover and receive the maximum compensation possible.
Are There Risks to Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?
In every personal injury case, the biggest risk is the payment of medical bills, not the payment of a lawyer. Because personal injury lawyers charge on a contingency, you are only obligated to pay a fee if money is recovered. Therefore, there is no risk to hiring a lawyer.
As far as the medical bills go, your lawyer should be monitoring them to make sure they will be repaid out of the settlement. For example, if there is only $10,000 of insurance available, you should not be running up $20,000 in medical bills. Often, this attention to detail is the difference between a good lawyer or one who does not care about your claim. Protecting your health and also your financial well-being should be priorities in every claim.
The Pros and Cons
With every decision you make, there are always pros and cons. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is no exception, although the cons are few. In my opinion, the biggest drawback is paying a lawyer a fee that you may not have had to. In these scenarios, it is possible that the insurance company would have paid you the same whether you had a lawyer or not. This sometimes happens, although it is rare. And, the reality is that you just don’t know if or when this is going to happen. Therefore, I would give my own mother the same advice as I give to my clients, err on the side of caution and protect yourself by hiring a lawyer.
Another possible drawback is choosing the wrong lawyer. While you will not have this problem at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., I am often contacted by clients who relay complaints about their current lawyers. The unfortunate reality is that many lawyers who do not specialize in personal injury claims take these types of cases because of the allure of easy money. They then proceed to damage the claim. In fact, I was retained earlier this week by a woman who hired a lawyer that she goes to church with. He specialized in disability claims, not personal injury. When she asked him for a referral to a neurologist for her concussion symptoms, he was unable to give her a name. She promptly fired him and hired us. (Yes, we were able to refer her immediately to a neurologist.)
The pros to hiring a lawyer are numerous. Rather than list them all, I will focus on two main benefits. First, a personal injury attorney will be able to set up and monitor your medical treatment. This is extremely important because medical management of a file and the bills normally drive the direction of the case. There are many errors that people make during a claim with their medical treatment that can be easily avoided. For example, some people try to get treatment from their primary or family doctor. These appointments are often useless or, in the case of auto accident claims, the doctor won’t see them. So, getting referred to a specialist is an important area that a lawyer can assist with. The bills are another big issue. The lawyer must watch the bills and only have the client incur costs that can be recovered in the case. I cannot stress how important watching the amount of the bills can be for a case. If the bills get out of control and cannot be paid from the settlement, the client is still on the hook.
The second area where a lawyer can be of immediate assistance is when dealing with the insurance companies. At the outset of the representation, the lawyer will direct all of the insurance companies to only have contact through his or her office. This means that the lawyer will be able to control the flow of information. The lawyer will also be able to explain which adjuster is handling the property damage, the PIP claim, the Bodily injury claim and/or the Uninsured Motorist claim, etc. You can imagine that with all of the potential insurance representatives, it can get very confusing. The lawyer will be able to set up the claim properly, explain the theory of liability and then manage the claim.
Can I Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Yes. One of the benefits to hiring a personal injury lawyer is that you do not need to put any money down or make payments. All personal injury cases are taken on a contingency basis. This means that the lawyer is paid a percentage out of the money received in the case. According to the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.5, the lawyer’s fee is capped at 33.3% for most cases and 25% for a claim against a state or government agency. This fee is paid to the lawyer once the settlement check arrives from the insurance company.
I always tell people that the contingency arrangement makes it possible for a client to hire the best attorney possible. Since they are going to pay ⅓ regardless of whom they choose to hire, why not hire a great lawyer rather than a firm where you will only speak to a paralegal?
Contact Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.
Our Firm has been around for over 60 years. We haven’t survived for that long by taking advantage of our clients. We pride ourselves on being a part of the St. Petersburg community. We put our clients’ best interests first.
While our team of personal injury attorneys has unparalleled experience, accolades and results, we are ultimately here to help.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident and would like to discuss a claim, please contact us for a free consultation.