If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. But getting properly compensated usually requires an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Keep reading to learn why hiring a personal injury attorney is so important after an accident.
They Handle Insurance Negotiations
Insurance companies have teams of adjusters seeking to minimize payouts. They may use dishonest tactics or make lowball offers. An attorney levels the playing field by negotiating firmly on your behalf and not backing down.
They Determine the Full Value of Your Claim
Calculating damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses can be complex. An attorney will thoroughly assess how much your claim is worth using legal knowledge most victims lack.
They Prove Liability andFault
Proving the other party’s liability is key to winning compensation. A lawyer will gather evidence like witness testimony, video footage, documents, photographs, and more to build a compelling case that the other party was at fault.
Why Do We Need Personal Injury Lawyers?
Personal injury lawyers are essential for accident victims because they have the legal expertise and resources to successfully handle injury claims that laypeople do not.
They Cover Legal Costs
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing upfront. They receive a percentage only if your case succeeds. This removes financial barriers to obtaining counsel.
They Handle the Litigation Process
Few laypeople could effectively handle filing lawsuits, responding to legal motions, appearing in court, and other litigation processes involved in injury cases. Attorneys navigate it seamlessly.
They Have Investigative Resources
Lawyers have connections to accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and other specialists who can strengthen your case.
They Understand Injury Laws
Injury laws are complex and vary between states. An experienced lawyer understands the nuances in your jurisdiction and how to use them to your advantage.
They Can Take Cases to Trial
If a fair settlement can’t be reached through negotiation, personal injury lawyers aren’t afraid to take cases to trial. The threat of trial also provides leverage in settlements.
What are some common personal injuries that lawyers handle?
Personal injury lawyers handle a wide variety of injury cases. Here are some of the most common types of personal injury cases:
- Motor vehicle accidents – Cases stemming from car accidents, truck crashes, motorcycle collisions, pedestrian accidents caused by vehicles, and other transportation-related injuries.
- Premises liability – Injuries that occur on someone else’s property due to unsafe conditions, like slip and falls, poor security, unsafe stairs, lack of proper lighting, and more. Property owners can be held liable.
- Medical malpractice – When a doctor, nurse, technician, or other healthcare provider causes injury through negligent treatment, surgical errors, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or other forms of substandard care.
- Defective products – Injuries caused by manufacturing or design flaws in consumer products, medical devices, prescription drugs, children’s toys, and other defective items. The product makers, distributors, and sellers can be held responsible.
- Workplace accidents – On-the-job injuries like those stemming from unsafe working conditions, lack of proper training or protective gear, defective equipment, ignoring safety protocols, and employer negligence.
- Dog bites – Dog owners can be held liable when their pet attacks and injures someone. This covers bites and other dog-related injuries.
- Nursing home abuse – Physical, psychological or sexual abuse, neglect of residents, injuries, and other types of elder abuse perpetrated by nursing homes or caretakers.
- Assault and battery – Intentional acts of violence that result in injuries, such as physical assaults, rape, shooting injuries, and other criminal acts.
An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you and handle a wide variety of accident and injury cases to get you full and fair compensation.
How do personal injury lawyers investigate cases?
Personal injury lawyers use a variety of techniques to fully investigate and build cases for their clients. Here are some of the main ways they gather evidence and identify liable parties:
- Reviewing police reports, photographs, video footage and other documentation from the scene of the accident or injury. This provides an objective starting point.
- Interviewing eyewitnesses to take detailed statements while memories are fresh. Witness accounts help establish what happened.
- Consulting medical professionals to fully understand the client’s injuries, prognosis and need for future treatment. Medical evidence is key.
- Gathering maintenance records, inspection reports, training procedures, and other documentation if the injury occurred in a commercial/public property or workplace. This evidence helps prove negligence.
- Researching product recall notices, past complaints or known issues if a defective product caused injury. The product defect history is important.
- Hiring expert witnesses like accident reconstruction specialists, bioengineers, physicians and vocational experts who can analyze evidence and provide opinions.
- Issuing subpoenas to compel parties to turn over evidence or testify if they resist cooperating with the investigation.
- Visiting and photographing/surveying the accident scene to understand environmental factors and hazards.
- Consulting medical billing specialists to ensure the full scope of treatment costs is accurately calculated and claimed.
- Building a timeline integrating all evidence into a sequential record of how the injury event occurred and who is at fault.
Thorough personal injury investigations produce compelling evidence and strong cases. An experienced attorney leaves no stone unturned.
What questions should I ask a personal injury lawyer before hiring them?
Choosing the right personal injury attorney is crucial for getting the best results. Here are key questions to ask during an initial consultation:
- How many years have you practiced personal injury law? Look for substantial experience with accident and injury cases.
- What is your success rate for past cases? Ask for statistics on favorable verdicts and settlements obtained.
- What types of cases and injuries have you primarily handled? Make sure they have expertise with your type of accident.
- Will you personally handle my entire case? Ensure the attorney manages your case directly from start to finish.
- How will you investigate my case and build evidence? They should use a proactive and comprehensive strategy.
- What are your legal fees and when do I pay them? Most work on contingency fees paid out of settlement funds.
- What out-of-pocket costs could I incur? Understand any potential expenses you may need to advance.
- How frequently will you update me on my case? You need an attorney committed to regular communication.
- When do you think my case could reach a settlement? Get their estimate on realistic time frames.
- Are you willing to take my case to trial if needed? They should pursue a trial if settlement talks fail.
Vet attorneys thoroughly. Make sure to choose one who is ethical, communicative, and devoted to getting you the maximum compensation possible.
What can I expect if my personal injury case goes to trial?
Here’s what you can expect if your personal injury case proceeds to a trial in court:
- Opening Statements – Your attorney and the defendant’s attorney will make opening statements explaining their core positions and summarizing evidence to be presented.
- Plaintiff Testimony – You will take the stand and testify to explain to the jury what happened, describe your injuries, and detail how the accident has impacted you. The defense will cross examine you.
- Witness Testimony – Eyewitnesses, expert witnesses like doctors, and accident investigators will testify for both sides. Cross-examination of all witnesses will take place.
- Evidence Presentation – Documents, photographs, medical reports, accident reconstruction animations or diagrams, and other important evidence will be shown.
- Closing Arguments – After all evidence has been presented, both legal teams will make closing arguments summing up why their side should prevail.
- Jury Deliberation and Verdict – The jury will then deliberate in private and return a verdict on fault and monetary damages to be awarded if you win.
- Post-Trial Motions – After the verdict, the defense may file motions for a mistrial, reduced judgment amount, or new trial based on procedural or evidentiary issues. Your attorney will defend against such motions.
While trials are unpredictable, thorough case preparation by your attorney will maximize your chances of a successful outcome. Make sure they have extensive trial experience.
What can I expect during a consultation with a personal injury lawyer?
When meeting with a personal injury attorney for an initial consultation, here’s what you can generally expect:
- They will listen to you summarize what happened and how you were injured. Bring any evidence you have like medical records, photos, police reports, etc.
- They will ask clarifying questions about the accident circumstances, liable parties, your injuries and treatment, and the impact on your life and work. Answer openly.
- They will explain your legal rights and
Don’t go it alone after an accident. Contact an accomplished personal injury attorney to recoup damages, negotiate skillfully, prove fault, and look out for your best interests every step of the way. With strong legal counsel, you can focus on what matters most – healing and moving forward.