Personal Injury Lawyers: What You Need To Know
If you suffered an injury in an accident, you might be hesitant about seeking professional advice. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to think that their case has no merit, or that it’s not worth the hassle of hiring trained legal counsel over. However, this is a mistaken belief that could mean missing out on receiving the compensation that you rightfully deserve.
In order to file for an injury claim, you’ll need to hire a firm of professional personal injury lawyers to facilitate the process. This is mainly because the process requires specialized skills and training, along with a thorough knowledge about how the legal system works. You should never attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit on your own without a lawyer.
This guide discusses some of the scenarios that will most certainly require you to hire personal injury lawyers, and how to go about choosing the right lawyers. And even if your case doesn’t fall under any one of the following categories, you have nothing to lose consulting professional solicitors in your area. Many reputable personal injury lawyers provide their prospects with a free, confidential consultation about their case.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
A personal injury lawyer specializes in helping people who were injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault recover compensation. They can represent you in negotiation with the insurance company of the party at fault, or represent you in a court of law.
When you and your attorney determine that filing a personal injury lawsuit is worthwhile, they will represent you in all matters of the case. They will also gather the facts and evidence on what happened in the accident, and determine how much compensation you should receive.
When You Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
You may need to hire an attorney because you’ve suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence, or if the legal rules implicated by your claim are too complex. The insurance company might also refuse to settle in good faith. If you have been involved in any of the following accidents and/or suffered serious injuries, you should consult a personal injury attorney immediately.
1. Permanently Disabling or Long-term Injuries
If you were involved in an accident that caused serious injuries, ones that left you with permanent disabilities or will require long-term care, hiring a personal injury is your best bet at being awarded full compensation. Only experience personal injury lawyers can calculate how much your injuries are worth.
Furthermore, trying to determine how the injuries are going to affect your earning capacity over time is very difficult, and often requires expert assistance. If you want to get the most out of your personal injury claim, you should get an attorney who can pursue all of the available forms of compensation for your injuries and other losses you incurred.
2. The Injuries are Severe
The total amount of compensation that you’re likely to receive will be dependent on how severe the injuries you incurred are. In most cases, the insurance companies estimate the severity of your injuries based on the kind of injuries you sustained, the length of recovery time you need, and the amount of medical bills you incurred. As you potential compensation amount increases, the more you’re likely to reach the policy limits of the insurance policy of the party at fault.
In such a case, the insurance company might only be able to pay you a fraction of the amount you deserve. Under these circumstances, you need to have the services of a personal injury attorney handy to ensure that you receive the full compensation amount.
3. Liability isn’t Clear and there are Multiple Parties Involved
If multiple parties may be liable for the injuries you incurred in an accident, hiring a lawyer is crucial. In these kinds of cases, it can get quite complicated when dealing with the insurance companies. Since several people might have been injured, there might not be enough compensation money to go around. As such, they may go out of their way to have your settlement reduced to nothing, or at least decreased, pointing to your proportional fault for the accident.
If you were involved in an accident and you think that you were partially at fault for it, you should consult a professional attorney for help. An attorney can protect you against cross claims and counterclaims from the other parties who were involved in the accident.
4. The Insurer Engages in Bad Faith Tactics or Refuses to Pay
In some cases, the insurance companies simply refuse to make any settlement offer at all or refuses to reach a fair settlement offer. If you have been unable to secure fair settlement offers from the insurance company of the party at fault on your own, or the negotiations that you were having with the insurance company just broke down, hiring a personal injury lawyer is your best bet.
5. Insurance Companies Have Experts, Why Shouldn’t You?
Insurance companies usually have the decks stacked to their favour. They have lots of legal resources, and even money to help their cause. In that case, you want to ensure that you’re going on an even playing field when dealing with these companies. As such, you want to have your own team of personal injury lawyers in your corner to represent you when dealing with the insurance company. You don’t want to do anything on your own rather than reporting the fact that you had an accident.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Even if your personal injury lawsuit doesn’t end up in court, your personal injury attorney can help in a number of ways:
1. They Understand the Law
Personal injury attorney will have the training, education, and experience to help them have a clear understanding of the law. This way, they’ll be able to review your case and establish the best course of action that warrants the best outcome.
2. Collecting the supporting evidence
If the party at fault is clearly identifiable, and you have plenty of information to support your claim, the filing process is easy. However, most of the personal injury claims are not that cut and dry. Fortunately, an injury attorney can make things a bit easier for you. They’ll work with eyewitnesses, local authorities, medical doctors, Reconstructionists, and legal experts to collect a strong evidence on your behalf. This information will be used to seek higher payout for your pain and suffering, injuries, loss of wages, etc.
3. Assistance with Complex Cases
If your case is a bit complex, it can take months to resolve, often taking a lot of back and forth with negotiations and evidence. This is quite a lot deal with, especially at a time when you’re still recovering from your injuries. If you do decide to file a lawsuit, your lawyer will ensure that you have filled out the required paperwork using the correct verbiage to assert your claim as valid.
4. Experienced Negotiators
If your personal injury claim will be settled out of court, it’s vital to have a personal injury lawyer by your side. Keep in mind that the insurance company is looking to pay the least amount of settlement possible. On your own, you could easily settle for a number that appears fair but doesn’t cover your expenses and your losses in full. On the other hand, a lawyer is an expert negotiator, and will use the evidence, laws, and proof of losses to ensure you’re offered a fair amount.
5. Representation in Court
When your case ends up in court, it’s important to have an experienced lawyer represent you. Although you can try to represent yourself, the complexities of the case and/or the aggressiveness of the other party could be more than you can take. The lawyer knows exactly what to expect, and how to say things in a way that gets the judge and jury to put themselves in your shoes. Personal injury attorneys are at a better position to question the witnesses, talk to the judge, and deal the legal experts on the case.
How to Go About Choosing the Best Personal Injury Lawyers
Get recommendations from Friends and Family
If you have a friend or family member who’s been successful in making a personal injury claim in the past, it’s worth asking if they can recommend the law firm they had. A recommendation from a person you know and trust is usually a great starting point. While you want to exercise caution and ensure you make your own decision when hiring an attorney, a family member or close friend will ideally give an honest account of the pros and cons of the firm.
Online Reviews and Ratings
Before hiring a personal injury lawyers, it’s important to do some due diligence online. For the more established firms, you’ll be able to find online reviews and rating from their past clients quite easily. However, you have to be very careful when reading reviews because sometimes there’s no guarantee that they’re genuine. However, these should give you a general idea of the kind of service to expect from an attorney, and point out potential red flags.
Does the Lawyer Specialise in your Accident Type?
It’s important to find a firm that has experience dealing with similar cases as yours. Some personal injury firms will be experienced in a variety of accident types, while other firms specialize in specific areas such as clinical negligence. The kind of accidents that a lawyer can help you with is usually made clear on their profile page and website. Therefore, it’s wise to check this first before contacting the attorney.
Do they Offer a No-Win-No-Fee Service?
No win no fee service is widely known in legal matters that most people who are looking to make a personal injury claim will probably want to do so on a no win no fee basis. That’s because when you make a claim on the no win no fee basis, you won’t be under any financial risk should the claim be unsuccessful. Most injury attorneys provide the no win no fee service, but it’s always wise to confirm this beforehand so that you’re on the same page.
FAQs About Hiring Personal Injury Attorneys
How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?
Most personal injury lawyers represent their clients on a no win no fee basis, otherwise known as a contingency fee basis. If the claim is successful, you’ll pay your attorney a percentage of your settlement or judgement amount as agreed. This amount is known as the success fee. If the claim is unsuccessful, you pay no fee.
The success fee is usually pre-agreed between you and your lawyer before embarking on the case. When your claim is successful and you have been awarded compensation, your lawyer will deduct the success fee and pass on the remaining compensation.
The success fee charged will vary based on the lawyer you’re working with. It’s therefore wise to compare the charges with at least three different firms before you hire one to make sure that you’re getting a competitive and fair rate.
How long does a personal injury case take to settle?
Since there are so many factors that influence the amount of time it’ll take to resolve a personal injury claim, it’s not possible to give an exact estimate of how long it’ll take. Most lawyers will not start engaging in serious settlement negotiations with the party at fault until you’re sufficiently recovered from the injuries.
How long the insurance company takes to investigate and resolve your claim will also play a huge role in determining how long the case will take to resolve. Overall, the more the evidence you provide to the company about the accident, the easier it will be for them to offer you a fair settlement amount in a reasonable period.
Experienced personal injury lawyers are able to provide a rough estimate of how soon the case may be resolved. Be wary of anyone who guarantees resolving the case within suspiciously short time periods, such as a month. Even the most professional and experienced attorneys can’t predict how long resolving a claim will take.