There are a few cases where you might not necessarily need a lawyer. People represent themselves in court during simple divorce proceedings, small claims, and sometimes workers compensation cases. However, there are a few areas where it is of particular importance to retain an expert. Certain legal areas can impact your family in the very big way, and you will want someone who knows the in’s and out’s of the law and courts.
In cases where liability is evident, you probably don’t need a lawyer, such as in smaller car accident claims. You can go through the other driver’s insurance with minimal problems and have a good outcome. On the opposite end, if you have somehow injured yourself and the fault is not clear but needs to be proven, it’s a good idea to find a lawyer. Insurance companies will argue that because liability isn’t clear, so you would have a harder time submitting your claim and getting any compensation. With a lawyer at your side, they would make sure that you get the help you need.
Even in the smallest cases, you can use a lawyer, especially if you aren’t sure the best way to prove your case. The outcome of personal injury cases relies on the same two things: liability and damages. An attorney will know what to look for and what records to present to prove liability, and they’ll know how to keep even the smallest details from negatively impacting your case.
Liability: Why You Need An Expert
To go to court, you need to prove that the opposing party is at fault. It will be important to prove negligence and that as a result of that negligence, you suffered an injury. Negligence is when someone fails to show a reasonable amount of care, resulting in someone getting injured. In certain cases, the liability can be very straightforward and easy to prove, but in other cases proving liability can get complicated.
To use an example, if you were out at a restaurant and you slipped on their stairs, which ended with you having a particular back injury, then you would probably blame the restaurant owner. Your lawyer will take a look at your case and first determine how you fell so they can prove negligence. What made you fall? Now if you didn’t have an attorney, you might not know that when you talk to the insurance company and say something like “I tripped and fell,” you’re putting the fault on yourself. A good lawyer will examine the situation and send an investigator out to the restaurant to figure out why you might have fallen. Several things they will consider:
- What was the weather that day? What is rainy, snow, or slippery out?
- What is the material used for the stairs?
- What were you wearing that day? (Did you trip on yourself?)
- What are the measurements of the stairs?
It’s safe to say that the defense may argue that you tripped on your clothes, which is why your lawyer will search that avenue and prove it to be wrong just in case. Assuming none of the other situations applied, perhaps the measurements of the stairs showed that the steps were uneven. Your lawyer would prove that in court and explain how the problems with the stairs caused you to trip and fall, injuring yourself and therefore making the restaurant owner liable (for the purpose of simplicity, we’ll say that the owner constructed the stairs himself).
Now you’re proven negligence, but you were able to do so because of your lawyer’s expertise in finding what the issue was and how it directly related to your fall.
The other thing you’ll want an expert for is damages. You should be compensated if you were injured because of someone else’s negligence. Once liability is proven, the owner will owe you compensation for your injury. This includes medical bills, medical supplies, future doctors appointments, and time missed from work.
A personal injury lawyer who has experience in the field will know what damages you can recover and how to calculate the amount you are asking for. They’ll also be able to explain all of their numbers and reasonings in court. You probably won’t get the entire total amount that you are asking for, but with the help of a lawyer, you will get close to that total.
If you were on your own, you’d get much less because you don’t know what damages you can claim and what is required to claim them. Both liability and damages are things that go beyond the knowledge of the average person if you didn’t research. Even if you put in the time to research online and find out what is required, a lawyer will have much more experience in this area. They know what to say, what to prove, how to prove it, and how certain aspects of your case could negatively or positively impact the outcome. If you want to get a decent compensation, it’s a good idea to hire an expert.