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One of the most frequent queries we receive here at ‘Sinclair Law’, is people wanting to know if they need a lawyer. In the majority of cases, this question is being asked by someone who has been involved in an automobile accident and is not sure if they need a personal attorney, should rely exclusively on their insurance company or what their rights and liabilities under the law really are.

In this article, we will try to the best of our ability to explain when you should consult a personal injury attorney and when you shouldn’t.

Please bear in mind that every case is different and that these explanations are provided as general guidance only, not as a final authority on your own, individual case.

Do you need a personal injury attorney:

When the accident wasn’t your fault and you are injured?

In a case where you are not at fault and have suffered an injury, you should definitely consult a personal injury attorney.

You must remember that your insurance company’s first priority is the company coffers, not you. Their focus is going to be on recovering their own expenses and losses not on helping you recover yours. Just to be honest, they don’t really care.

It is only by retaining your own representation that you can hope to receive the full and just compensation that you have coming.

When no one was injured and there was only property damage?

No, in the majority of cases, where there are no injuries and all parties involved are carrying the required insurance, there is little to no reason to involve outside counsel.

In these cases, your interest and that of your insuring company are closely aligned and they will do what is necessary to protect both your and their own interest.

When you might have been at fault and someone was injured?

This is where things can get a little complicated. Whether you should retain your own attorney in these situations depends on a number of factors including:

  • The type and severity of the injuries.
  • The type and amount of insurance you carry.
  • The type and amount of insurance the other parties involved have.
  • Your own personal financial situation.

Again, you have to remember that your insurance carriers’ and your own interest are not necessarily the same.

If there is a possibility that you could be held at fault, the damages could exceed your insurance limits and you have assets (home, stocks, bonds, property) that need protecting, it might be in your best interest to hire your own attorney.

As stated at the beginning of this article, every case is unique and has to be judged on its own merits. The examples above are just the most common and simplest of illustrations, provided to point you in the right direction.

Anytime that you are involved in an accident and someone is seriously injured it would be best to consult with a personal injury attorney.

  • If you are the injured party and someone else is at fault, you will need them to protect your rights.
  • If you are injured and bear some responsibility, for the accident, you will need assistance in determining how much liability is yours and how much may lie with other parties.
  • If another party is injured and you may bear some accountability, you will need help minimizing your own responsibility and protecting your assets.

Only your own personal lawyer can determine the merits of your case.