What You Should Know When Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer
When you have been injured in an accident, your life instantly changes. Who will cover the medical bills and losses you have from the accident? What steps should you take to file a claim and seek compensation?
You could navigate these issues while recovering from your injury, or you can choose to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Working with a personal injury attorney can provide additional relief during this challenging time.
We encourage you to read the following information if you are considering hiring a personal injury lawyer. You will discover what to look for in a personal injury attorney, what personal injury lawyers can do for you, and how much their services cost.
There are times when a personal injury becomes a very complex issue. There may be multiple responsible parties for the accident, or the injuries are life-changing.
When this type of accident occurs, it will always be beneficial to have the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
Some types of personal injury cases where a lawyer would be most beneficial would include the following:
Injuries caused by medical professionals are very challenging cases. Injury victims need the experience and resources of an excellent personal injury attorney to help them build a solid case.
Catastrophic or life-changing injuries include but are not limited to traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, permanent disabilities, disfigurement, and loss of senses, such as blindness or hearing. These types of injuries often require lifetime care for the victim, and you will benefit from having an attorney manage your case to ensure a maximum compensation package.
Multiple or severe injuries may require extensive medical care and long-term healing treatments. Victims may be out of work for an extended time or unable to return. Much like catastrophic injuries, securing a maximum compensation package to cover the care of these injuries will be necessary.
If you have been injured by exposure to toxins in the workplace, you will need an attorney to help you build a strong case. Many toxic exposures can take years to show the side effects and injuries. An attorney who can thoroughly investigate your sickness and show when the injury occurred will benefit your case.
There are times when an insurance company refuses to pay for an injury or will deeply undercut the value of the settlement. You will benefit from legal representation if you have difficulty negotiating with the insurance company about your injuries and losses. In many cases having an attorney negotiate the compensation package will help you get all the compensation you are entitled to for your losses.
If you decide to help with your personal injury case, the next step will be finding the right attorney. It may take a little “shopping” to find the right attorney for your case. The best way to start is to get referrals.
An easy way to connect with a personal injury attorney in your area is to use the directory by Serve the Injured. We can connect you with local attorneys who can aggressively represent your case.
Your friends and family may have had previous experience with personal injury attorneys in your area. Ask around and see who they do recommend and who they do not.
Many areas have lawyer referral services managed by the State Bar Association. These services often refer you to firms instead of specific attorneys. It is important to understand that these services only require the attorney or firm to be in good standing with the Bar. They do not screen any of the attorneys that they recommend.
It is very important to interview an attorney before signing a formal agreement for them to represent your case. You want to ensure that you feel comfortable with the attorney and their goals for your case. Trusting your lawyer’s abilities is the only way to achieve your claim’s best possible outcome.
You should ask your attorney how they practice law and their expectations for you and your case. Some of the questions you should ask include the following:
Some attorneys will practice general law, handling any type of case that comes in. Some will specialize in areas of law, like personal injury law. You will want to work with an attorney that is dedicated to personal injury law so that you can benefit most from their experience.
When you file a compensation claim, you will be the Plaintiff. You will want to work with an attorney who has dedicated their practice to working for a Plaintiff. If your lawyer is used to working for the Defendant, in this case, the insurance company, they might not have the experience you need to win your case.
You should get a generalized opinion from your attorney about the value of your case. It is impossible to give an accurate figure, but their experience should give them a way to provide you with a generalized answer.
Your attorney should be able to provide you with detailed information on how they expect to get paid for their services and other related legal costs. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid once the case settles. Ensure that your attorney explains their percentage and other costs for their services.
You should find out if your attorney will take your case to trial if the insurance company cannot reach a fair settlement. Some attorneys will not go to trial and want to settle for a lesser settlement. Always try to find a lawyer willing to take the case to court because you know they will fight hard for your case.
Part of a successful personal injury case is to know what the attorney expects from you as a client. When you ask your attorney questions about your case and their experience, make sure that you ask them what they expect from you as a client.
In most cases, your attorney will give you the following advice:
To keep your case moving along smoothly, your attorney will want you to respond promptly to any requests they have made. These requests may include records they need for your claim, pictures or other evidence, signed documents, or just a return phone call so that they can update you about the progress of the case. Delaying your responses can make your case take much longer to complete.
Try to avoid missing any medical appointments. Rescheduling appointments not only delays your case but signals the defense that your injuries are not as severe as you say because you can delay your appointments. Even if this is not the case, they will view missed appointments this way. If there is a valid reason that you have to reschedule an appointment, make sure that you document the reason why and notify your attorney. This way, there will be no questions about why the appointment was missed.
Part of the discovery process is providing the other side of the case with certain documents, signed legal forms, and participating in a deposition. Make sure that you are prompt in responding and that you prepare for the deposition. Your attorney can help you with what to expect during the questioning session. Make sure that you meet all deadlines and do not reschedule any meetings.
It is not unusual for clients to become anxious about their case and want to call the attorney for updates. The legal process does take time, and it can be frustrating if it feels like your case is standing still. Establish an arrangement with your lawyer on how and when to contact them for updates.
Attorneys that are working for the Plaintiff in a personal injury case will work under a contingency fee structure. This means they do not collect any fees for their services or related costs unless they win the case.
It is still important to ask the attorney how they will bill for their fees. There are three ways that they can bill:
If the personal injury attorney is working for the Defendant, the payment for their services comes from the insurance company. Even if the Plaintiff is suing a person individually for their case, the insurance company must cover the lawyer fees. This is known as the Duty to Defend.
Most Defendant attorneys bill on an hourly basis. These attorneys are generally on retainer for their services and then bill separately for costs and hours worked.
In most cases, the standard contingency fee for a personal injury case is between 30 and 33 percent of the settlement. If the case goes to trial, that fee can increase to as much as 40 percent. These fees do not include any other court or case-related fees.
It is essential to understand that the payment of these fees depends on the attorney winning the case and having a settlement issue. You will not have to pay the attorney fees if they do not win the case. However, you should find out if the attorney will expect you to pay any other case-related fees if the case does not win.
Every court case will have costs associated with it that are not considered lawyer fees. In a typical personal injury case, you can expect to see the following costs associated with your case:
Some fees must be paid to the court for filing a lawsuit. These fees will differ in each state. Additional fees for the process server applies. If the case goes to trial, there will be additional fees for the cost of jurors and possibly court reporting. Transcripts of any court report will cost an additional fee.
Administrative expenses will include everything from postage to making copies. If you have to request copies from medical providers, these costs will also fall under administrative costs. If there is travel involved need for displays or trial exhibits, these fees will also fall under administrative expenses.
Expert witnesses often play a large part in a personal injury case. For example, if you are a victim of medical malpractice, it will be necessary to have a medical expert testify how your injury is a result of negligence.
If you have a complex case, catastrophic injury, or are involved in a case that may have multiple defendants, the need for expert witnesses increases.
This cost will not apply to all cases. However, hiring an investigator or traveling to an accident scene is necessary to gather information. In that case, the costs for those tasks will fall under investigation costs.
A deposition is a legal proceeding where a person gives a sworn statement outside of court. The process requires a court reporter at the interview to document everything said during the questioning. The cost for the court reporter and any copies of the deposition, once it has been made into a transcript, can cost between $500 and $1,000.
Every court case will have associated costs; that is how the system works. Costs associated with filing a lawsuit, travel, and expert fees are all standard in a court case.
If your attorney tries to reduce costs for your case, they will not represent you effectively. The insurance company will question the case’s validity if no depositions or experts are called in to present evidence.
It is best to understand that costs are part of the process. Your attorney will keep these costs as reasonable as possible, so you can feel confident knowing you will not be overcharged.
A settlement check will be issued once your case has agreed on the compensation package. The insurance companies generally issue these checks about four weeks after the agreement to settle has been signed.
The check will be sent to you and the law firm representing your case. Your attorney will pay all your debts, such as medical bills and case costs, from the settlement check. They will also pay their legal fees from this check.
Your attorney will call you into the office for a final check. They will ask you to sign the check issued in both your and the law firm’s names. They will then write a new check to you for the remaining balance. The law firm will provide a full accounting of the expenses you paid.
Some law firms may retain a small portion of your settlement – from $50 to $200 for about six weeks. This ensures that any additional bills arising from your case are covered. The balance is automatically sent to you as soon as this time passes. If anything were paid from this retainer, a description of the expenses would be included.
Once you have accepted this check, the case is finalized. Your case is now over.
If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, it may be beneficial to you to speak with a personal injury attorney about your case. A personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights as a victim and represent your claim to the insurance company.
If you do not know where to start when looking for an attorney, let us help you. servetheinjured.com can connect you with local attorneys qualified to manage your personal injury case.
Personal injury claims are not cut-and-dry processes. They can be very complex issues, especially when serious injuries are involved. Don’t try to manage these claims on your own. Insurance companies are always looking for advantages to reduce compensation packages. Self-representing is usually one of their biggest advantages.
Speak with a personal injury lawyer today. Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and will work on a contingency basis. This means no risk or money is involved in speaking with an attorney about your case. ServeTheInjured is here to help you find the right attorney for your personal injury compensation claim.