Personal injury lawyers are attorneys who specialize in representing people who have suffered a personal injury. They are known as “tort” lawyers because they represent injured parties in a tort action, or lawsuit, against the person or entity responsible for the injury.
There are a lot of personal injury lawyers out there. This section will look at some common factors that an individual should consider when hiring a personal injury lawyer.
What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer helps people who say they have been hurt physically or mentally because of someone else’s carelessness or that of a business, government agency, or other organization. Tort law is the primary field of practice for personal injury attorneys. Personal injury lawsuits often happen because of incidents like slip-and-fall injuries, car accidents, faulty products, work-related injuries, and professional misconduct.
Personal injury lawyers are called “trial lawyers,” even though many other types of lawyers, like defense lawyers and criminal prosecutors, also testify in court, and most personal injury cases are actually settled without going to trial.
A personal injury attorney must be licensed to practice law in the state where they operate. In several states, they are also required to pass a written ethics exam.
Continuing legal education (CLE) courses allow attorneys to learn about new developments in the law and new practice areas. In states that require attorneys to attend CLE, personal injury lawyers may, but are not obligated to, participate in relevant CLE courses.
What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
A lawyer specializing in personal injury law has numerous vital responsibilities:
- Informs you of your rights.
An individual’s legal rights in the aftermath of an accident and their related legal difficulties can be explained by a personal injury attorney. The statute of limitations and the application of comparative negligence vary from one state to the next.
- Represents you in court.
Settlements are reached in the vast majority of personal injury claims before lawsuits are even filed, so the cases never go to trial. However, in the event that insurance for a personal injury claim is rejected, a full civil trial may be the only option for the victim to obtain compensation.
Because of its complexity, litigation calls for strict respect of the standards of evidence and process. This is not a job for a first-timer.
- Gives legal advice.
A skilled personal injury lawyer will guide you throughout the legal process for their injured client. Personal injury attorneys are there to guide you through the tangle of paperwork, legal procedures, and medical insurance for injuries that accompany such situations.
It is commonly advised that you should not speak with the other party’s insurance company; they will use any statement you give them to try and avoid paying for any damages. A personal injury lawyer may tell you to see a doctor after an accident to show that the accident caused your injury.
Many victims of personal injury suffer a range of negative emotions, including fear, anger, annoyance, stress, and others, that can make it difficult to think clearly and choose the right option.
- Assesses damages.
Victims of accidents often focus solely on their immediate circumstances. After all, they may be getting harassing calls from debt collectors, trying to catch up financially after being out of work for a while, and needing to pay for car repairs before they can get back on the road.
However, a personal injury attorney routinely handles such situations and may help determine a more precise assessment of the true and lasting impact of injuries, for example, the victim’s lost earning potential.
- Oversees and completes the investigation.
Investigators hired by personal injury law companies may take photos and statements from witnesses at the site of an accident to determine what happened and why. It’s possible that these people are retired police officers taking on a new career as investigators.
When the cause of an accident is contested, it may be essential to bring in outside specialists, such as those trained in accident reconstruction. Your lawyer will have a trusted team of consultants that they often employ and can recommend to you if you need help.
5. Guides in legal processes.
A personal injury attorney can represent you in many courts. For instance, before or after a case is filed in court, the lawyer may assist with informal negotiations with the insurance company for personal injury. If the client is unhappy with the settlement offer or if the claim is denied, they can also assist in taking the issue to court. Lawyers that specialize in personal injury law can be useful in traditional court settings as well as in less traditional ones like alternative dispute resolution.
Tips For Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
- Confirm if the attorney is authorized to practice law.
Before agreeing to meet with a lawyer, you should verify their membership in good standing and their permission to practice law in their respective state.
The website of the Bar Association includes a “Find a Lawyer” section. You can use that to look for the lawyer in question. The search results will give you the lawyer’s bar number, postal address, and phone number.
You can view the lawyer’s 10-year discipline record, as well as information about when they were first allowed to practice law, where they attended law school, and when they graduated.
- Meet for consultation.
Please call the office if you would like to speak with the attorney. It shouldn’t cost you anything to speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss your case, as most of them provide free consultations.
During the initial, cost-free consultation, you and the attorney can get to know one another. Both you and your attorney will gain valuable insight into each other’s perspectives during this phase.
Maintaining solid communication with your lawyer is essential in personal injury cases. Successfully communicating with your attorney is crucial for the outcome of your case. If you don’t feel at ease, it’s best to keep looking for another personal injury attorney.
- Prepare your questions.
Have a list of questions ready for the attorney to answer during your consultation. You should feel free to inquire about the attorney’s past successes and failures, as well as their level of experience with situations comparable to yours.
Your attorney’s availability to personally oversee your case is a crucial factor to consider when hiring legal representation. It’s encouraging to see that the law office has enough people on hand to handle all of the cases they get. When you engage an attorney, you want that attorney to handle your case personally, not delegate it to an associate or paralegal.
Do not go to the attorney without bringing copies of any relevant paperwork, such as police reports, hospital bills, insurance claims, and so forth.
- Be clear about the fees.
It is common practice for personal injury lawyers to work on a contingency fee basis. That implies you can retain legal counsel without having to front the money for their services. Lawyer costs are contingent on the success of your personal injury claim.
The payment is a proportion of what is won for you. In the event of a legal challenge, it is important to specify whether or not the percentage will change.
The question of who foots the bill must also be addressed. Costs are handled in a variety of ways by lawyers. Many attorneys front the money while the case continues, then get paid back out of the settlement.
Make sure you clarify who will pay for the attorney’s fees if they are unsuccessful in getting you compensation for your claim. Hold off on signing a retainer contract until you’ve had a chance to ask all of your questions about fees and expenses.
- Think thoroughly before making a decision.
You shouldn’t make judgments about selecting an attorney from your desk. You should give yourself at least a day or two to think over the consultation’s takeaways. When you’ve made your decision and are sure you want to hire the lawyer, you should call the business to schedule a consultation.
It’s a good idea to carry out some web investigation into the lawyer. Explore the lawyer’s website and look for testimonials from satisfied clients or other professionals. You should phone the lawyer to discuss any concerns or questions you have before you sign the retainer agreement in person.
FAQ Personal Injury Law
- What percentage do most personal injury lawyers take?
The personal injury attorney will get 33% of the case’s total settlement. However, trial costs might vary widely depending on the nature of the case.
- How long do most lawsuits involving personal injury take to settle?
Settlements in personal injury claims typically take six months to three years.
- What is a personal injury claim?
You can file a personal injury claim if someone else caused your accident. It’s the formal process of suing the party who injured you. Insurance companies generally provide this.
- What’s personal injury protection?
Personal injury protection (PIP), often referred to as no-fault insurance, helps offset expenditures such as medical bills, missed earnings, and funeral costs, regardless of who is at blame in a car accident. The qualifications for this coverage differ by state.
- Can a personal injury lawyer help me get more money?
Accidents are expensive for accident victims, but research has shown that engaging a personal injury lawyer helps you obtain more out of an accident settlement.