A lawyer provides many benefits, so in most situations you would benefit from a lawyer. However, you should closely analyze your situation to see if a lawyer is absolutely necessary. In a few cases, you might be able to represent yourself.
How Injured Are You?
The purpose of suing or filing a claim with someone’s insurer is to receive compensation for your injuries. The greater your injuries, the more money you will be entitled to. At the same time, however, the more money you want, the greater the likelihood that the defendant or their insurer will fight you.
To calculate your injuries, collect the following:
- Medical bills and receipts for medical treatment
- Amount of lost wages for missed work
- Estimates for the cost of fixing or replacing damaged property, such as your car
If your injuries are worth a few hundred dollars, then you can probably get by without an attorney. However, people with thousands of dollars in damages will probably need a lawyer since insurers will fight the claim. If your injuries fall somewhere in between, then read on.
How Much Time Can You Dedicate to Your Case?
To make a claim with someone’s insurer, you will have to fill out dozens of forms and stay very organized. You will need to keep copies of everything and follow up to make sure that paperwork has been received.
Filing a lawsuit takes even more time. You need to learn the rules and procedure of the court and attend many different court hearings. If you are someone who can get a lot of time off from work, then you might be able to stay on top of everything. But many people soon feel overwhelmed.
Helpfully, Washington has a small claims court with simplified procedures designed for people without lawyers. But the maximum amount you can sue for in small claims court is $5,000. If you want more money, then you’ll need to go to regular civil court, where you must learn all the rules that a lawyer knows.
How Complicated is Your Case?
Personal injury lawsuits run the gamut from simple car accidents and dog bite cases to complicated products liability cases. In order to win a negligence case, for example, you must show that the defendant did not act with reasonable care. In some situations, this will be easy—a person who runs a red light and runs into you has not been careful.
Conversely, showing negligence is harder in other cases. Do you know what a product manufacturer should have done when testing its product? If not, you might need an expert witness to testify on your behalf. A lawyer will be very helpful in finding experts and pulling together a compelling case.
Speak with a Yakima Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Kapuza Lighty, PLLC we advocate for injured clients daily. Our team can assess your situation and identify whether you have a valid personal injury case. Reach out to us today to schedule your consultation.