After an accident, people often wonder whether they need an attorney for an accident case. There are no hard and fast rules, but there are some guidelines. There’s no point in making “mountains out of molehills,” but sometimes what injuries don’t heal as quickly as expected, resulting in lost earnings and stress on the family, and by the time that happens deadlines have expired. When in doubt, it’s always a good idea to speak to a trusted personal injury lawyer who can advise you about whether or not you have a case.
If you have been seriously injured in any type of accident, (a traffic accident, “slip and fall,” work accident, animal attack, etc.,) it’s always worth it to find out if it’s possible to be compensated. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you figure who was at fault and whether it would be possible to make a successful claim. In cases involving the City of New York, (ie; sidewalk falls,) a Notice of Claim must be filed with the City of New York within 90 days of the occurrence. Applications for medical benefits (ie; no-fault) must be filed within 30 days. It’s never a good idea to wait too long before consulting an attorney.
Sometimes, you are injured, but not sure if the injury is serious enough to bother making a case. Neck and back injuries may seem mild at first, but worsen with time. What seemed like a simple sprained ankle, may take longer than expected to recover, and an MRI might reveal that there is a tear that requires surgery. You don’t want to be in a position to where you have missed filing deadlines and cannot make a claim. That’s why it’s generally a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney you trust after any type of accident that results in an injury.
An experienced personal injury attorney will not talk you into pursuing a frivolous action that is not likely to be successful. Personal injury attorneys work on “contingency,” and only get paid if they collect money, so it’s not worth their while to waste their time on something frivolous. They will also advise you not to make a case if they believe that the cost of bringing the action will exceed what is likely to be recovered. This is often the case with medical malpractice where the cost of expert witnesses can run over $50,000! If you had a stop sign in a car accident case, it might be possible to prove that the other car was speeding, but hiring an accident reconstructionist expert is expensive, and will cost more than what is likely to be collected unless the injuries sustained are severe.
If you are wondering, “Do I need an attorney for an accident case,” the most prudent course is to pick up the phone and call. Some personal injury attorney are better at explaining things than others, so if you are not satisfied after the first call, you can call another one. At Wittenstein & Wittenstein we pride ourselves in being excellent communicators, why not call us first!