Do I need a lawyer for a personal injury case?

Published on December 2, 2022

By Joshua Schwadron

What You’ll Learn:

  • What does a lawyer actually do in a PI case?
  • Do I still need one if my case doesn’t go to trial?
  • How much more of my settlement can I keep if I don’t use a traditional lawyer?

A stack of unnamed books on top of a deskY
ou’ve probably seen billboards and commercials for car accident lawyers all your life.

This is especially true if you live in certain states. You barely need to search if you’re looking for, say, a car accident lawyer in Georgia or you’re looking for a Texas car accident attorney because they’ll be a billboard if you just look up.

It may, as a result, seem obvious that you need one if you get hurt. And while oftentimes this is true, there are situations when a traditional law firm might not be your best option.

Consider the following before deciding how to pursue your case:

What does a lawyer actually do in a personal injury case?

Once you hire a personal injury lawyer to take your case, their first step (after conducting discovery and determining that you rightfully deserve compensation) is to file a demand letter with the insurer of whoever hurt you. This is a complex document that establishes the facts of your accident, and shows the insurance company that you are a serious plaintiff with a real case.

Personal injury lawyers are experienced in drafting these letters in an airtight fashion with all the right information to get you a settlement. 

Do I still need a personal injury lawyer if my case doesn’t go to trial?

This is where things get interesting. Most people don’t know this, over 99% of personal injury cases never go to trial at all. Instead, they settle out of court after a demand letter has been filed. Yet, despite this, most personal injury lawyers charge accident victims the same 33% of their settlement whether a trial is needed or not. 

Some cases are straightforward and you may not need a lawyer. Some cases, like those that involve motorcycles may be more complex and require you to choose between the right motorcycle accident lawyers to properly represent you. 

How much more of my personal injury settlement can I keep if I don’t hire a lawyer?

Personal injury lawyers typically charge a 33% contingency fee which is paid out at the end of your case if you win. But 33% is a lot, and if you don’t use a lawyer you could presumably keep that 33% for yourself. 

Of course that assumes that the amount of money you get with a lawyer is the same as you could get on your own. And that sometimes could be the case, especially in certain cases where the injuries are so clear and liability established that the insurance company on the other side is forced to pay the claim. In other cases, though, having a personal injury lawyer in your corner will help ensure you get the money you deserve.


This post was written by Joshua Schwadron of Mighty.com, which has a business relationship with FairShake. Josh is passionate about civil justice and reimagining how the personal injury industry should work. Josh has three kids and lives in the Hudson Valley, NY on Etts Farm

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