Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
You probably hire many people to perform work for you. If your dishwasher broke, would you fix it yourself? If the IRS audits you, would you hire an accountant? If you’re severely injured in an accident, getting the most compensation for the harm done also requires specialized knowledge and experience. Why risk mistakes that could end or limit your recovery?
If you or a close family member is involved in a motor vehicle accident and suffered serious injuries, you need to know your legal rights and the best way to proceed. Not everyone injured in a vehicle accident benefits from legal representation, but you may. Contact the attorneys at Callaway & Wolf at 415-541-0300 to schedule your free case evaluation. After talking to us, you can decide if hiring a personal injury lawyer is right for you.
What are the Consequences of Not Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You’ll have to deal with many issues that an attorney could address. Instead of focusing on recovery, your family, and getting back to work, you’ll be dealing with an insurance company. You’ll have plenty of paperwork to work on, phone calls and emails that need responses, and the stress of knowing a misstep could potentially cost you a lot of money.
If you don’t know California negligence and insurance laws, you’ll fly blind through the process. Are you a skilled negotiator? If not, you may agree to a settlement far less than what your case is worth.
The Biggest Misconception about Hiring an Attorney
You may think personal injury attorneys don’t do much but collect a large share of your insurance settlement. Are there unethical and incompetent attorneys just pushing paper and doing this? There are, but you won’t find them at Callaway & Wolf.
Boone Callaway and Vadim Nebuchin have many years of experience with litigation and helping clients with personal injury claims. Unlike attorneys new to accident cases, they’re not learning the basics while working on clients’ cases. They’re highly efficient and effective in representing clients while getting them through negotiating a settlement or taking a case to trial. The firm handles a small caseload so that all clients get the personal attention they deserve. A good question for a prospective attorney is how many files he is handling—the answer will help you understand how much of his or her time you will receive.
Successful clients pay one third or 40 percent of their recovery to the firm, but that doesn’t just pay for the work on your case. It also compensates the firm for the knowledge and skills which were developed over the years. If there’s no settlement or the jury verdict goes against you, you won’t pay for the services. That risk of earning nothing for our work, and the deferred compensation are reasons for the fee. If you have a very small case, or one which easily exceeds low policy limits, it may be impossible for any lawyer to add value and earn their keep. There is no point in peeling off a third of your recovery to a lawyer who has not added value to make it worthwhile.
How much time and effort a case takes depends on its unique circumstances. A pedestrian suffering limited injuries after being struck by a driver who stopped at the scene and acknowledged their mistake is a simpler case. If you’re catastrophically injured in a multi-vehicle highway accident involving a mix of personal and commercial vehicles, your case is more complex, deserving more effort and planning.
Insurance Carriers Don’t Usually Take Unrepresented Injury Claimants Seriously
But for cases much beyond the small claims court limit, a good personal injury lawyer will most often be able to get you much more in your pocket than you could achieve on your own. Insurance carriers just don’t take unrepresented injury claimants very seriously. They know that they won’t be able to evaluate the true worth of the case, and that they will probably just settle for what they can get. Most of us who don’t do it for a living are poor negotiators — just look at what happens at car dealerships. The major auto insurance carriers also rank lawyers, and settlements can vary depending on who you choose. They know that some lawyers like to settle other cases, and that others will take them to court and fight until their client’s claim is compensated fairly.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
In addition to spending your limited resources on your case, not on recovery, you’ll miss out on one of a lawyer’s most essential tasks: investigating your accident. Hiring experts and developing the facts surrounding your accident, gathering the evidence that will be the foundation of your claim. Without a thorough, professional investigation, you may have a weak case that won’t justify a high settlement. The insurance company will investigate your claim and come up with every reason why it should be denied or your recovery limited. How will you respond?
Most personal injury cases settle without going to trial. If you don’t settle, will you represent yourself during the process? Will you write and file motions, argue them before the judge, and respond to the insurance company’s filings? What will your trial strategy be?
If you don’t settle, you could then try to retain an attorney, but you most people who delay have made critical mistakes by the time they hire counsel. You may have unknowingly set your case back so far, and there may be little this attorney can do to turn it around. This legal help may be too little, too late. Attorneys aren’t magicians. They can’t make problems disappear.
Insurance Companies Have Lawyers. You Should Have One Too.
Insurance companies are many things, but generally, they’re not stupid. They appreciate the complexity of the law and the importance of legal representation. They employ attorneys and hire outside counsel. In addition, many employees may have law degrees but not practice law. Insurance companies protect their interests with the help of attorneys.
If you represent yourself, the insurance company attorneys you’ll contact may be friendly and treat you professionally. But they’ll never help you or cut you a break on any critical issue. If they did, they’d act unethically, given their client’s the insurance company. By representing yourself, you’ll have a seat at the table, but the cards will be stacked against you.
Get the Help You Need from Lawyers You Can Trust
If you’re severely injured because of another’s negligence, the attorneys at Callaway & Wolf can help. Your consultation will be free, and since we work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no risk to you. Call us today at 415-541-0300 and schedule an appointment at our San Francisco office or with our Oakland personal injury attorneys. We can discuss your case, your options, and how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Boone Callaway is a personal injury & medical malpractice lawyer in San Francisco who has been working with clients in the Bay Area for over 25 years. Mr. Callaway is one of only a few personal injury litigators in San Francisco who is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated and is also a member of ABOTA – American Board of Trial Advocates.