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When You Do and Do Not Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Child Injury

Lawyer for a Child Injury

If your child sustained injuries due to someone else's negligence, you likely have numerous questions. You might be wondering who will pay for their medical expenses, how to pursue a claim, and whether you need to hire a lawyer. In most cases, hiring a lawyer is the right step. However, there are limited situations where you don't necessarily need to hire an attorney and are better off trying to resolve the claim on your own.


When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Whenever your child's injuries are severe or they have a permanent disability, you should consider hiring an injury attorney like Harrell & Harrell who can help.  Injuries involving a minor child are handled differently. Any settlement you make on behalf of your child may require approval from the court since a child cannot agree to a settlement on their own. 

Insurance companies sometimes like to try and settle these cases early on so they can limit their exposure. Before accepting any settlement or signing a Compromise of a Minor's Claim, you should at least speak to an attorney to confirm you are settling for a fair amount.

In personal injury cases where liability is disputed or multiple parties are involved, speak with an attorney to discuss the best course of action. Some personal injury claims, such as those involving defective products or medical malpractice, could have a few potential defendants. Don't attempt to figure out who the responsible parties are on your own; let an experienced lawyer help.

If your child has a valid claim and the defendant's insurance company refuses to offer you a fair amount or won't make any offer at all, discuss your case with an attorney. There's a chance that the insurance company could be acting in bad faith. If so, you'll want a lawyer who has experience pursuing a bad faith litigation action.

When You Don't Need to Hire an Attorney

Although it never hurts to consult with an attorney, there are some situations where hiring one may not be necessary.

No Injuries

In accidents that involve only property damage, you don't need to hire an attorney. Personal injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis. That means they will take a percentage of your settlement to cover their legal fees and court costs. In a property damage claim, the recovery amount is minimal and not worth taking away a portion of your settlement.

If you are already in negotiations with the insurance company and are not too far apart, you may not need an attorney. Remember, the attorney will take a percentage of your settlement. In most cases, that is around one-third of your payment. To make hiring an attorney worthwhile, you would need to get about 50% more than you hope to recover. That is likely with a serious injury accident, but not with one that just involves car repairs.

You Were at Fault

Some states are comparative negligence states. This means that you can collect a portion of your damages even if you were partly at fault, provided your negligence is less than the defendant's. If you are the primary cause of the accident, however, you wouldn't have a valid claim or a need for an attorney. Your child likely wouldn't have a valid claim either as children can't pursue a claim against their parents for ordinary negligence—only if the parent’s behavior was intentional or at least reckless. 

But don't just rely on the other party's insurance company telling you that you can't recover due to your fault. It is in their interest to make you believe you don't have a claim or to put the majority of liability on you. Let an attorney review your case before you give up.

Your Child's Injuries Are Minor

If your child has minor injuries or saw a doctor only one or two times, hiring an attorney may not be necessary either. However, before you determine that their injuries are not serious enough for a lawsuit, you should at least speak with a lawyer. 

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Before Making a Decision

Personal injury law firms almost always offer a free initial consultation. That means you have nothing to lose by scheduling meetings with a few firms. It's best to speak with a lawyer first before deciding whether your child's case warrants hiring a personal injury lawyer.