As a victim of a railroad accident, you likely have lots of things going on in your mind – your safety, medical care, and expenses, proving fault, and so on. If it is any consolation, it is entirely normal to feel this way. After all, it is not every other day that you are involved in a railroad accident, or deal with people in the same situation as you.
According to one attorney from Pottroff & Karlin, PLLC, many accident victims lose out on compensation because they are not sure about what to do following an accident. As it stands, the steps you take after an accident can determine whether or not you get a full settlement for your losses or not. In this article, we’ll focus more on whether or not you should contact an attorney after a railroad accident to help you make the right decision.
Most people only call a lawyer when they:
- Realize they have serious injuries
- Start to experience financial hardship
- Feel frustrated by the tedious tasks they are suddenly bombarded with
But you shouldn’t wait for it to get to that extent to contact a lawyer. The best time to call a lawyer or not call a lawyer is:
When you’re hurt
Accidents can happen, but not all of them lead to injuries. In cases where the only harm is on the property, then you don’t need to call a lawyer. In general, if no one is hurt or there wasn’t any damage, it might not be worthwhile pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. But while at this, you should be keen not to make the “no injuries” judgment yourself. What seems harmless now can turn into a big issue later on, and you won’t have grounds for our claim.
But when you have pain that won’t go away on its own or was severe enough to send you to the emergency room, it means they are serious and need something to be done. Your health provider may help with the healing, but you will need a lawyer to help you recover settlement to compensate you for your losses and expenses.
When the case might predictably proceed to small claims court
If the expected compensation would be small and that the case would proceed to small claims court when pursued, then it’s best not to hire a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee, but in this case, they would expect a fee considering the expected recovery is little.
But if you are staring at enormous property damage, medical costs, and lost wages due to the railroad accident, then bringing in a lawyer may go a long way. As mentioned earlier, these lawyers charge a contingency fee, meaning they will only get paid once you win the case.
When your insurer is offering a low-ball offer
If the insurance company wants to settle a reasonable amount for your damages, then you do not need to call a lawyer – because that means you do not have to pay an attorney fee. But as you would expect, insurers are always after their interest, and in some cases, it might be a push and pull.
If it’s clear that the insurer wants to settle, but are offering an unfair settlement, you should talk to a lawyer. In as much as an attorney will take up to a third of your recovery, a good one will improve your expected result by over 50% to justify your investment in them.
When you need to build a strong case
As mentioned earlier, the things you do after the accident can make or break your case. Each passing day puts your claim at risk. Remember, railroad accident cases have a statute of limitations. You also need evidence to prove that the railroad company or other parties were liable for the accident. Additionally, you’ll need to prove that you sustained severe injuries, as you claim. Taking time to contact a lawyer might mean letting evidence slip away.
When you feel overwhelmed
Chances are you will feel overwhelmed after an accident. After all, you need to take care of your injuries, among other aspects. When the phone calls, paperwork, and legwork become more than you can handle, then a lawyer can help take the stress out of the process.