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On February 13, we blogged about one frequent question we get: “What will I have to pay an attorney?” Today we’re blogging about another frequent question, “Do I even need an attorney?”

The answer is, not always. And the answer is also, as always: it depends.

Let’s take a simple example: a car accident. If you just have property damage, it’s minimal, and you’re sure that all the people involved aren’t hurt – you can probably handle this one on your own. Most property damage settlements (now, we’re just talking about a car here – if you’re driving a Porsche or a tractor trailer, that will be a different kettle of fish) are fairly straightforward.

If you just have a bruised knee and your doctor says that you’re fine, you also probably don’t need an attorney. If, however, you have a significant injury, it’s time to call an attorney. If your case is complicated by multiple parties with potential liability, it’s time to call an attorney.

Somewhere in between these two extremes is a gray area, obviously. While it is difficult to provide a clear and complete cutoff, as a heuristic, it may be useful to note that to take a case to trial, it often costs around $5,000 for a typical personal injury case. Generally, an expert is needed (that creates the bulk of the cost) and filing fees, depositions, medical records requests all add up. What that means in simple terms is that if the damages are not above $5,000, we generally will not take that case on. It is not worth either your time or ours. Calling an attorney to determine if your case is one an attorney is necessary on, however, is never a bad move. If we are unable to help you, we either provide a referral or a list of suggestions as to ways you may be able to handle it on your own.

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