Personal injury lawyers specialize in helping injured accident victims win compensation to cover the costs of their losses. If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, a medical malpractice accident, or any other kind of accident, you have a right to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against whoever was responsible for your injury.
Most successful personal injury cases are resolved out of court with a settlement payout from the at-fault party’s insurance company. And these settlement figures tend to be higher when the injured victim hires an experienced personal injury attorney to handle the case for them. Here are five main reasons why an attorney can make such a significant difference.
Following an accident, you may not know how to proceed in order to gain financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses. Personal injury lawyers have in-depth knowledge of personal injury law and experience with previous clients. As such, an attorney can evaluate the strength and potential value of your case and explain your legal options.
The clarity this provides is often a huge relief for injured victims. It also allows them to make the right decisions at the crucial early stages of the claims process.
Your personal injury lawyer must first determine if you have a valid claim. This would require the other party to have demonstrated negligence which led directly to your injury.
For example, the driver that caused your car accident injury might have been distracted by their phone while driving. Or, in a premises liability claim, the property owner might have been aware of the hazardous flooring condition that caused you to trip but did nothing to repair it.
If proven, these examples of negligence would make the at-fault party legally liable for your injuries. You would then have a right to seek compensation from them.
Once liability is established, your personal injury lawyer can calculate the full value of your damages. These are the monies you may seek to recover from the at-fault party.
Injured victims often need a personal injury attorney to properly estimate their full damages. Apart from medical expenses, you may be able to recover damages for lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and more.
Inexperienced injury victims who lack legal guidance sometimes unwittingly leave damages out of their claims. This may greatly reduce the final compensation figure. And once a settlement is accepted, you won’t have a second chance to recover further money for the same incident in the future.
When all potential damages are established, your personal injury lawyer will write a demand letter to the insurance company. This usually initiates a period of back-and-forth negotiation.
This entire process can be handled by your attorney. It’s often unwise, not to mention stressful, for claimants to communicate directly with the insurance provider.
An experienced attorney knows how to deal with the various strategies that insurance companies commonly employ while attempting to reduce or destroy the value of a claim. Your attorney can stand their ground and negotiate hard to win you a full and fair settlement.
One reason some personal injury victims hesitate to hire a lawyer or law firm is that they worry about affording the legal fees. But most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis rather than hourly rates.
This means the client’s legal needs are met at no cost until the final settlement is won. Then the lawyer takes a cut of the final compensation figure, which is usually between 20% and 40%.
You can find out a lawyer’s contingency fee rate during the free consultation that lawyers will usually offer to potential clients. During this initial consultation, a client may ask the lawyer any questions they like with no obligation to hire them.
Despite 20% to 40% of the compensation going to the lawyer, most personal injury victims still recover a good deal more money than if they’d attempted to handle the claim alone. In fact, hiring a personal injury lawyer increases the value of settlements won by 350% on average, according to a study by the Insurance Research Council.
Without the guidance of a personal injury lawyer, the value of a claim can be diminished or destroyed by mistakes on behalf of the claimant. For example, if the victim fails to immediately see a doctor for injuries sustained in the accident, the insurance company may later argue that the injury was pre-existing and not suffered at the accident scene. Alternatively, the insurer might argue that the injury was not as severe as claimed.
Other common mistakes include failing to follow the instructions of medical professionals, failing to report everything to your doctor and keep all medical records, giving a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster, and sharing the details of the accident with friends and family members on social media. Perhaps the biggest mistake of all is accepting a settlement offer before speaking to a lawyer.
Any one of these mistakes may potentially result in less money than you have a right to recover. And if you’ve suffered severe personal injuries, this may leave you having to pay your own medical bills when the insufficient insurance payout runs out.
A successful personal injury case requires proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the negligence of the at-fault party caused your injuries and also proving the full value of your medical damages, property damage, and other damages. This requires your lawyer to collect lots of evidence, especially if the insurance company is disputing any details of the claim laid out in your demand letter.
The amount of evidence needed to win may vary depending on the type of accident, the size of your damages, the certainty of liability, the number of defendants, the complexity of the case, and other factors. Your personal injury lawyer may hire private investigators to establish the facts of the accident and then gather all the necessary evidence to strengthen and prove your claim.
The success of a case often hinges on expert witness testimony. An expert witness can be called upon to both clarify the facts of an accident and explain what occurred to a jury.
For instance, an accident reconstruction expert could give a visual presentation showing the jury exactly how the at-fault driver caused your injuries. And in complex medical malpractice cases, a specialist medical practitioner expert may demonstrate clearly how your physician failed in their duty of care toward you.
When you hire the right lawyer or personal injury law firm, you gain access to their network of expert witnesses. And if retained at an early stage, personal injury lawyers and law firms can also sometimes help find you specialist medical treatment providers, which may improve your recovery and also lower your medical bills.
As mentioned, most personal injury cases are resolved out of court. But if the insurance company refuses to pay fair compensation, it sometimes becomes necessary to initiate litigation with a lawsuit and have the case tried in court to be decided by a jury verdict.
Your lawyer might also recommend a jury trial if the defendant acted with gross negligence or willful wrongdoing. In these extreme cases, you may be able to win additional punitive damages as a disciplinary action against the defendant.
When escalating a case to be decided before a judge and jury, you may be facing formidable defense attorneys, especially if the defendant is a large business or other organization. But you can even the playing field by hiring an experienced trial attorney of your own.
For most personal injury claims, the client should ideally find a lawyer that’s certified with the state board and registered with the state bar. The lawyer should also ideally have plenty of experience winning similar cases to yours.
If you’d like to have an award-winning trial attorney fighting your corner, contact Brian C. Gutierrez at 979-271-5338 for a free consultation. With an experienced local, Texan personal injury lawyer on your side, you’re more likely to recover a fair settlement and put the entire ordeal behind you sooner.
If you have been hurt in a car accident, a fall, or another type of accident, don’t hesitate to contact a trusted law firm to help you get the justice you deserve. Call Brian C. Gutierrez at 979-271-5338 and schedule your free consultation.
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