By:  LINDSEY O'NEILL, ESQ.

If you've just been in an accident, or been injured by someone, you might be wondering whether or not you should hire a lawyer.  If your injuries are very minor, such as a bruise or a little embarrassment, you might not need a lawyer, but it doesn't hurt to contact one just in case you have a bigger legal claim than you think!

If you've suffered moderate to severe injuries, you should definitely consult an attorney for assistance.  Did you know that in most cases a good attorney can help you get compensation for your injuries without even having to go to court? Most personal injury lawsuits are based on good fact-finding and steadfast negotiation more so than on black-and-white laws. Attorneys know these rules and the tricks other lawyers use to try to get around them.  For instance, do you know which questions the other side can, and can’t, ask you?  Probably not...  But lawyers are trained on these matters and can raise appropriate objections when necessary to prevent you from having to respond when you don't need to.  While this sounds simple enough, many a case has been won or lost on simple facts.

Also, when it comes to negotiating a settlement on your own, you will almost always fare worse than if you had a lawyer’s help.  Experienced attorneys know the average settlement range for similar injuries in the courts in your area.  Also, they know how the laws would be treated in your particular case and how such circumstances would either entitle you to more or less than the average award.

Finally - let the pros handle the process.  Lawyers know the legal process like the backs of their hands.  Usually, you don't.   So going it alone would be like going from your neighborhood kickboxing class to the boxing championships...    While there certainly isn't anything wrong with being an amateur, when your legal rights are at stake your odds of prevailing are best protected if you go heavyweight-t0-heavyweight.

At the end of the day, talk to an attorney in the beginning to figure out how best to protect your legal rights. So schedule an initial consultation – most times they’re free.

Learn more about accidents and injuries in LawInfo's Free Legal Resource Center.

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