Types of Cases Best Handled by an Attorney


 
There are a number of cases that must be handled by an attorney, and the sooner you can make satisfactory arrangements with an attorney, the better. You should not take on these serious cases by yourself, thinking you can obtain a settlement offer to take to the attorney in an effort to bargain for a reduction in his fee. In the first place, the nature of these cases is so complex that the value may be impaired by what you do and say on your own. So you could obtain an offer and negotiate for a reduced fee, but you would likely lose more than you gain since your actions might result in a lower overall settlement. There follows a list of some of the more frequently seen cases that must be handled by an attorney.
 

Professional Malpractice


 
Claims against any kind of professional are too complex, no matter how simple you believe them to be. Medical, legal, engineering, or any other professional will be insured, and you can bet the insurer knows how to pursue any claimant to get the value of the claim close to zero. Included in this category would be such claims as nursing home litigation and elder law, or other actions brought to protect the vulnerable.
 

Products Liability


 
These are the big verdict results that we all read about. But believe us, hundreds of hours of work by exceptionally talented attorneys and engineers are required to get any kind of result in these cases.
 

Workers' Compensation-or Industrial Insurance


 
These cases depend entirely upon the various statutes and administrative regulations in each state, and we are not prepared to offer any information on such a variety of laws and administrative rules. You need an attorney in your state who specializes in such work inasmuch as most attorneys who do personal injury work do not also take on these cases. It is a specialized field.
 

Disasters-Airplane, Train, etc.


 
These cases depend entirely upon the various statutes and administrative regulations in each state, and we are not prepared to offer any information on such a variety of laws and administrative rules. You need an attorney in your state who specializes in such work inasmuch as most attorneys who do personal injury work do not also take on these cases. Those are very complex cases which require the assistance of an specialized attorney.
 

Liability Disputes


 
If the third party** insurance adjuster does not readily admit liability, do you have to get an attorney? Probably not, unless the liability is seriously contested. In most cases the adjuster is not going to admit liability, and in fact he will make statements that tend to put much of the blame on the claimant.
 
What he is trying to accomplish is to lower the amount of the final settlement by citing ways in which you could be negligent, or ways in which you could have avoided the accident. By casting doubt on the issue of liability of his insured, the adjuster is trying to make the claimant assume some of the responsibility. Maybe he can convince you that if you had been paying attention, there is a reasonable chance you could have avoided the accident. If that is true, perhaps you can negotiate an agreement in which you assume 10% to 15% of the fault, thereby decreasing your award by that percentage.
 
You can likely negotiate such a claim on your own, or with some advice from one of the attorneys with the SCC Attorney Network who hold themselves out for hire to consult in these cases**.
 
On the other hand, if you find that the adjuster is taking a hard line on liability, and is unlikely to accept a compromise of a few percentage points, then you had best retain an attorney; members of SettlementCentral.Com have access to attorneys who have agreed to give a discount of 10% off their fees IF they decide to take the case. A first consideration might be geography, so you can check here. [Coming Soon]
 

Serious Damages at Stake or Complex Cases


 
You must retain an attorney if your case is complex, or if it involves serious damages, permanent injury, serious disfigurement, brain damage, or severe emotional distress. All of these are compensable damages, but you may lose significant value in your claim if you try to handle them yourself.
 
What is a "complex" case? We look at a case as being complex, irrespective of damages, if it involves a dispute in any two of the six following areas.

  • Do you have a prior injury for which you were actively treating at the time of this accident?
  • Do you have a subsequent accident that caused injury to the same area of your body?
  • Do you claim emotional distress or psychological damages or a loss or relationship with a spouse?
  • Is your wage loss based upon a new position of employment?
  • Is your wage loss proof dependant upon external (e.g., not readily available in the company or government paymaster's records) testimony as to either the possibilities of continued employment, or the possibilities of making a certain wage or profit?
  • Is your wage loss based upon self-employment?
  • Did the report of an investigating officer cite you at fault?

What are "serious" damages? We figure that anytime your medical expenses get in the range of $15,000 you have a claim that involves serious damages and that at the minimum, you need to consult with an attorney with the SCC Attorney Network** (6.1, page 55). Moreover, the kinds of cases listed above require an attorney from the outset.
 
With respect to all the other types of cases listed above, you should not be handling any of these cases on your own, irrespective of the total of medical costs,. There is just too much at stake, and it is too easy to make a mistake that could cost you a goodly sum in your settlement award at settlement time.
 

Liability Disputes-Legal Issues


 
You may think that this case is so clear it should be paid without investigation; but the adjuster may be looking at your case as one he could win at trial for lack of liability in his insured. Any time you have a serious liability dispute the issues will likely hinge upon some kind of legal dispute. You need to hire an attorney ASAP, whether just for consultation**(6.1 page 55) or to take over your case in representing you**(6.2 page 55).
 
When you see a full-blown disagreement on liability, recall the words of one of the country's finest attorneys, Abraham Lincoln: "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." Are you a "fool" to go on with your own representation in the face of a liability dispute? Probably only if the dispute is serious, or involves core issues that cannot be resolved by a letter or memo to you, from your own consulting attorney, which you pass along to the adjuster.
 
If the consulting attorney** believes the issue is not too hard to dispose of, let her write a memo to you, and you, in turn can forward it to the adjuster. Hopefully her memo, complete with a statement of the facts and a legal analysis will turn the tide with the adjuster, and you will be able to complete the case on your own.
 

Bad Faith Insurance Claim


 
Without a doubt these types of cases are best handled by an attorney. Do not even try to threaten bad faith to an adjuster as it will undermine your credibility.