Why is that?  The answer is attorney's fees.  In the case of a person who has been injured, lawyers typically will earn a fee that is calculated using a percentage of the recovery (the settlement or judgment amount).  This is called a "contingency fee" because the lawyer's fee is not guaranteed.  It is "contingent" on (dependent upon) the outcome of the case.  A typical contingency fee is 33%, or one-third, of the recovery.  So, if you have a case with low "special damages" (such as medical bills, lost wages, other expenses) and it is clear that the other side is responsible for the injury, you should at least try to resolve the claim directly and save on the attorney's fees.

So, what damages are significant enough to get an attorney involved in an injury case.  Every lawyer is different.  In my own law practice, I typically require medical bills in excess of $3,000 before I will agree to consider a case.  But even that depends upon the type of case, how the injury is still impacting the person, and what happened to cause the injury.  It really depends upon the circumstances.  So it is best to at least establish contact with a lawyer to discuss your matter.

The foregoing comments apply to personal injury cases.  If your case involves another situation, like a business dispute or a family estate dispute, then you most certainly will require an attorney to consult with you on your case.  Cases in these two categories are very unique and can be very complicated, and it is highly unlikely that you're dealing with an insurance claims representative on the other side.  Thus, the issue is not as much about resolving your case for a fair amount as it is understanding your rights and the other party's duties and obligations to you.  Again, these situations tend to be so unique, case-specific and complicated that you really need a lawyer experienced in these areas to help you.

Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims