How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle crash or some other accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you want an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side. However, not all personal injury lawyers, and not all lawyers in general, are the same. You want a lawyer on your side who is used to negotiating personal injury cases with insurance companies and has a strong track record of successfully taking these cases to trials, mediations and arbitrations.
If you suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from negligence, a personal injury attorney can answer all of your questions and advocate for your legal interests, both in and out of the courtroom. An experienced team of personal injury attorneys can assist you with every aspect of your personal injury case, from beginning to end, and can bring it to a favorable conclusion on your behalf. Reach out to a trusted law firm to find out more about how we can assist you with handling your legal matter.
What Does Personal Injury Law Cover?
In a personal injury case, an accident victim claims they suffered injuries because of another person’s negligence. To prove that someone else, such as a motor vehicle driver or a property owner, was negligent, the accident victim must demonstrate that the at-fault person behaved unreasonably under the circumstances. This typically means that the person did something that a reasonable person would not have done or they failed to do something that a reasonable person would have done.
The accident victim has the burden of proof in personal injury cases. In other words, the at-fault person does not need to prove anything in the case. Rather, the burden rests entirely with the accident victim when it comes to proving that the at-fault person was negligent—and that they are entitled to recover monetary compensation and damages in the case.
Personal injury cases arise from various accidents.
The most common accidents that lead to personal injury claims and lawsuits include:
- Motor vehicle accidents (including those that involve cars and large trucks)
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and falls and other premises accidents
- Product liability cases
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Dog bites
If you suffered injuries in any of these accidents that resulted from another person’s negligence, a personal injury lawyer in your area can assist with investigating the cause of your accident. In some instances, the cause of a particular accident is relatively clear cut, while at other times, the cause is difficult to determine.
If the cause of your accident is unclear, your attorney can retain the necessary experts, such as an accident reconstructionist, who can help piece together exactly what happened. Your lawyer can take additional steps to help you file a claim or lawsuit and get you the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Qualities of a Good Personal Injury Attorney
Not all attorneys are the same, and if you are attempting to select a personal injury attorney to handle your case, you want to make sure that you are retaining someone who has the necessary qualifications and experience. First and foremost, the attorney handling your case should have a significant amount of experience handling your type of personal injury case.
Ideally, if you suffered injuries in a car accident, such as broken bones or soft tissue injuries, you want a personal injury attorney who has handled a significant number of similar car accident claims and lawsuits. If you are thinking about retaining a particular personal injury lawyer, you should ask them how often they handle personal injury cases similar to yours.
In addition, you want an attorney on your side who has a good track record of personal injury case successes, both at the settlement table and in the courtroom. While some personal injury attorneys settle most of their cases, other attorneys regularly litigate cases at trial. You want a personal injury attorney representing you who has a strong record of obtaining favorable settlements and trial verdicts from insurance companies.
Significant experience handling alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as mediations and arbitrations, is also a plus when hiring a good personal injury lawyer. If you want to retain a specific attorney, ask them about their win/loss record and whether they have taken similar cases to trial successfully.
Finally, you want to make sure that the personal injury lawyer you retain has a good reputation in the community. For example, you can check reviews about the attorney online or ask friends/relatives if they know anyone who has used the attorney for a case in the past. You need a personal injury attorney on your side who is committed to excellence and who will fight to recover the compensation that you need, either through settlement or litigation.
A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney should have a strong track record of success when settling and litigating personal injury claims.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Throughout Your Personal Injury Case
There are several ways that an experienced personal injury attorney can help you throughout your claim. First of all, your attorney can investigate the accident if the insurance company is disputing fault. Your attorney, for example, can hire an investigator, such as an accident reconstructionist, who can piece together how the accident occurred and attempt to show that the other person was at fault. In addition, your attorney can retain a medical expert to connect your injuries to the accident.
In addition, your lawyer can help you by filing a personal injury claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf. Your attorney will begin the claims-filing process by gathering the necessary documentation, including medical documentation, to present to the insurance company. Important documents that form the basis for a personal injury claim include a settlement demand letter which makes a monetary demand for settlement, along with copies of all of your medical records and bills. In addition, your attorney can include lost wage documentation from your employer, as well as a victim impact statement, photographs of your injuries, photographs of the accident scene, expert reports and witness statements.
Once the insurance company receives the demand package from the accident victim’s lawyer, the insurance company will decide whether to accept fault for the case. If the insurance company accepts liability, the adjuster assigned to the case might offer an initial settlement.
Your personal injury lawyer can then work to negotiate a favorable settlement offer with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf. In many instances, initial offers that adjusters make are far below the actual value of your personal injury case. Therefore, your lawyer will likely need to negotiate with the adjuster several times before a favorable offer comes on the table. Even then, your attorney might recommend that you litigate your case in the court system in hopes of getting a better offer from the insurance company. Negotiations will typically continue until the case resolves by settlement or the parties reach an impasse.
When the insurance company refuses to put favorable settlement compensation on the table in a personal injury case, a lawyer can assist by filing a lawsuit on the accident victim’s behalf. Filing a lawsuit in the state court system begins the litigation stage of the personal injury case. Once that happens, the accident victim’s lawyer (with the accident victim’s permission) can still resolve the matter with the insurance company.
However, the court will establish deadlines by which the parties must meet certain milestones in the case. For example, the court will establish deadlines for discovery and will also likely schedule a settlement conference and/or a trial date for the case. Obviously, if the case settles, it will not need to go to trial. However, if the matter goes to trial, a jury will decide all of the disputed issues in the case, including the amount of damages to award the accident victim.
A personal injury lawyer can help you decide whether to accept a pending settlement offer or take your case to trial. A lawyer will have a good idea of the likely value of your case if it goes to trial and a jury has to decide the outcome.
In addition, the parties may decide to take the case to an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as mediation or binding arbitration. At a mediation hearing, the mediator will facilitate settlement discussions between the parties, while at arbitration, a neutral, third-party arbitrator will decide the case’s outcome. A lawyer can help you decide whether to take a case to a mediator or arbitrator. If you decide to use alternative dispute resolution or trial, you can rest assured that your attorney will zealously advocate for your legal interests and work to get you the compensation that you deserve.
Potential Damages in Personal Injury Claims
Victims of accidents that result from someone else’s negligence can be entitled to recover various damages. The damages that an accident victim can recover will depend on the seriousness of the injuries, the extent of the medical treatment and the severity of the injuries. For example, in cases where an accident victim suffered a permanent injury, they will likely be eligible for more compensation than if the injuries were not permanent.
An accident victim might be eligible to recover compensation for all related medical expenses, including the costs of doctor visits, physical therapy appointments, and medical procedures, including surgeries. If the accident victim had to miss work because they suffered a serious injury, the accident victim can pursue lost wages and other out-of-pocket costs.
In addition, victims of accidents that resulted from negligence can pursue non-economic damages, including compensation for mental distress, emotional anguish, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of earning capacity, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of family support and loss of spousal consortium. The right personal injury lawyer can explain your eligibility for these damages and will pursue the compensation that you need for the injuries you suffered.
Speak With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Your Area About Your Legal Matter Today
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, pedestrian accident, slip and fall, or another incident that occurred because someone else was negligent, you have a right to monetary compensation. There are numerous ways in which a personal injury lawyer can be helpful to you in your case. Our legal team will thoroughly review and investigate your claim, explain your options and help you decide on the best way to proceed forward with your claim.
For a free case evaluation and consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, reach out for help today. Ask the right questions and this first meeting will tell you a lot of what you need to know regarding whether the law firm is a good fit for you and your case.