FAQ: Why Hire an Attorney?

In these challenging economic times, one might be tempted to handle legal matters on their own trying to avoid paying attorney fees or having to share a percentage of a potential recovery. Do not be penny wise, but a dollar foolish! The law is complex and there are many subtleties that a non-lawyer is likely to be unaware of. Rarely do you find the law to be black or white. It tends to operate in shades of grey. Having practiced law for over two decades, I can tell you first hand even the simplest and most straightforward of cases have unique nuances.

Recently, a client came to me after unsuccessfully trying to handle his own car accident claim. I explained to him that having previously been in house counsel for a major insurance company, I am well aware that insurance companies have specially trained adjustors to handle the claims of injured persons who decide to represent themselves. Typically, these insurance adjustors do not have your best interests at heart. The average claimant is unaware of how much monetary compensation he or she is entitled for such things as physical injury, pain, anxiety, suffering, loss of earnings and future earnings, loss of use of one’s vehicle, diminution in value of the vehicle, future medical needs, etc. It is highly unlikely that the insurance adjustor is going to educate you or make you aware of these factors. In fact, they often try to get you to settle your claim with no right to reopen it before you even know the full extent of your injuries or damages.

Due to ongoing tort reform in California, the insurance company for the other party no longer has a duty to treat you fairly or handle your case promptly. Often times, even your own insurance company needs to be reminded that it cannot act in bad faith. These days, filing a lawsuit and going to court seems to becoming more of a necessity in order to get a fair resolution of one’s claim. Once in court, you better have familiarity and a good grasp of not only the law but also the local, state, and federal rules or you may find your case dismissed.

“Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.” Use good judgment and hire a competent attorney and let the attorney’s knowledge and experience be your guide.