Should I hire a personal injury attorney?

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Q. I was hit by a car and broke an arm and a leg. I know most personal injury attorneys take a third of your settlement, so I’m wondering if I can sue without an attorney? I work as a gardener so these injuries are bad for my career. Pros and cons?
— Unsure

A. We’re sorry to hear about your injuries.

It’s true that personal injury attorneys generally charge a contingency fee of one-third of the amount recovered.

You can go it your own, but having an attorney might be worth the cost.

“By hiring an attorney, litigants will typically receive more money with two-thirds of the recovery than they would have received by taking 100 percent of any recovery obtained on their own,” said Chris Musmanno, an attorney and head of the personal injury department at Einhorn Harris in Denville.

Musmanno said attorneys are adept at handling litigation and navigating the complicated legal system.

He said regardless of how well-versed a layperson may be with the law, being placed in an unfamiliar venue can lead to missing critical deadlines or making mistakes that can ultimately result in the lawsuit being dismissed.

“Unfortunately, self-represented litigants are also at risk of being taken advantage of by the adverse parties or insurance companies due to their lack of experience and training, which can lead to losing the case or accepting an unfair settlement amount,” he said.

Musamanno said an important part of your claim would be for lost wages – in addition to a bodily injury claim – given that your injuries are hurting your career.

Personal injury attorneys will retain the necessary experts on behalf of their clients and advance the expenses needed to litigate the case, which may include not only expert fees but court costs, deposition costs and fees for other testimony or evidence, he said.

“Just as a carpenter would not be hired to do the job of an electrician, retaining an attorney is about hiring the right person for the job,” he said. “There can be no greater benefit to a layperson than to have a keen attorney to advance and protect one’s interests in order to achieve the greatest financial award.”

Good luck with your case.

Email your questions to moc.p1571552525leHye1571552525noMJN1571552525@ksA1571552525.

This story was originally published on June 27, 2019.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.