When DIY Won't Do It: 3 Personal Injury Situations That Require A Lawyer

If you've been hurt under relatively straightforward circumstances, such as a run-of-the-mill fender bender, you can probably file your own claim to get the financial compensation you need -- but don't wade too deeply into these legal waters. Certain types of personal cases require the attention of an experienced personal injury attorney for you to have any chance of winning your claim. Here are three scenarios that don't respond to the "do it yourself" approach.

1. Long-term Loss of Income

It's one thing to sit at home for a few days or weeks, possibly using paid medical leave or vacation time, to recuperate from a mild to moderate personal injury. But if your injury will keep you out of the workplace for weeks, months, or even for life, you'd better make sure you receive maximum financial compensation -- and that requires a personal injury lawyer who knows how to make it happen.

Your attorney will prove especially invaluable in valuating your case -- calculating the total dollar amount of your claim. This is a complicated process that factors in such variables as current lost income, anticipated future lost income, medical expenses to date, and the cost of any long-term medical care that might be needed going forward. Your lawyer can also recommend an acceptable settlement amount in case the defendant wishes to avoid going to trial.

1. Dealing with Medical Malpractice

When you put your body in the hands of a physician or medical institution, there's always a chance that something might go wrong. But even if your personal injury can be traced to medical malpractice, you'll have an uphill battle meeting all the legal and administrative requirements of filing a claim. You have to establish that you received sub-standard care, and this may require sworn affidavits by medical experts. Additionally, you may need to show that the necessary informed consent for a medical procedure never took place. 

Don't even attempt to bring such a complicated action against a medical institution by yourself. Attorneys have the skills and knowledge to arrange for expert medical testimony on your behalf. They know which documents to obtain and where to get them, and they know how to spot omissions in consent or other details that support your claim.

3. Taking on a Major Industry

The bigger your opponent in a personal injury case, the more resources you need to fight and defeat that opponent. If you seek compensation from a major representative of a big industry, such as an auto manufacturer or a chemical company, be aware that these industries have very deep pockets. It's in their best interest to keep possible legal precedents from opening the doors to a flood of similar lawsuits. You'll also be faced with the difficult challenge of proving that the company or its products actually caused your injury. In other words, this is a job for a lawyer!

Say you were injured due to a defective component in your car, for example. You may have a legitimate case against the manufacturer, despite the manufacturer's efforts to block consumer lawsuits. But you must stake your claim within 180 days, and every detail of it must be filed correctly, for you to have any chance against such a behemoth. A skilled auto accident lawyer can make sure you file your lawsuit in a timely and proper manner, or advise you to join similar complaints in a class action lawsuit instead.

Sometimes it pays to invest in the best legal support you can get, especially when the stakes involve life-altering injuries. Fortunately, many law firms are willing to work on contingency, taking a percentage of whatever they can win on your behalf. Talk to a trusted local attorney about your options -- and good luck with your personal injury case!