You may know that if you’re left seriously injured after a car accident, you should hire a personal injury lawyer to help you get financial compensation.
Or you may even be wondering,
“Do I need a personal injury lawyer?” But what exactly does a personal injury lawyer do, and how can they help you?
You may not realize how many types of accidents and wrongdoings could entitle you to financial compensation. Many people aren’t aware of how many legal rights they have when they sustain an accident or injury.
If the victim of a negligent act does not get the compensation they are owed, they may suffer lifelong consequences. A personal injury attorney is an expert that studies your case and navigates the legal system so that you don’t have to.
If you are undergoing medical treatment, you likely don’t have the time or energy for the research, investigation, and negotiation that a lawyer will conduct to ensure you get the compensation you are owed. A personal injury attorney will interview witnesses, compile evidence, and build a comprehensive case to win a settlement or court ruling.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
If you’ve suffered an accident or injury, your lawyer will begin by discussing your case with you. Their job is to understand and represent your side of the story, and then offer advice on what legal rights you have. They will act as a barrier between you and the insurance companies, medical providers, and other lawyers involved in the case, allowing you to rest and recover in peace.
Your personal injury lawyer takes on a range of responsibilities to ensure you get your compensation. Most of the time, your attorney is preparing a case that will settle outside of court, but they can also represent you on trial if your injury claim is not settled before a lawsuit is filed.
Depending on the details of your case, your lawyer may perform some or all of these tasks:
Conducting an Investigation
Your lawyer prepares for a settlement or trial by thoroughly investigating the incident of injury. Many personal injury attorneys are retired police and detectives who have vast experience with examining crime scenes. The lawyer may visit the location of the accident themselves or hire a photographer to document its conditions.
Your personal injury attorney will conduct interviews with police, employers, and witnesses, as well as gathering camera footage and evidence of property damage. This process compiles evidence for insurance providers or a judge to review.
Your lawyer will also collect your medical bills and records to determine liability for your injuries. By studying pre-existing conditions and other critical medical histories, they can find out how the accident will affect your livelihood in the future and demand compensation accordingly.
Negotiating with Medical Providers and Insurance Companies
Your lawyer understands the amount of financial compensation an insurance provider should offer and will spot and reject any lowball offers. They will use your medical records, bills, and the evidence they’ve gathered from the scene to negotiate with the provider until you get your due compensation.
A personal injury attorney also works closely with medical professionals and may be able to recommend a specialist to treat your medical issues.
Assessing Damages and Lost Income
In addition to property damages and medical expenses, your lawyer can prove that you are owed compensation for other types of losses. These cases include loss of income or future earning capacity due to disability. You may even be able to collect payment for emotional distress or loss of companionship.
While you may worry about the short-term impact of an accident to your property and paycheck, your lawyer thinks of the big picture and may consult with an economist to determine how the accident will impact your life going forward.
Sending Demand Letters
After investigating your claim, your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company that presents all of the evidence and the compensation you are owed.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The vast majority of personal injury claims settle outside of court. If you want to avoid going to trial, your case may require mediation with your insurance company. Your lawyer will meet with you and your insurance provider in an informal setting to work toward a settlement.
Representing You in Court
If the settlement negotiation does not reach a fair outcome, your lawyer will file a lawsuit to bring your case to trial. They may hire expert witnesses to testify before the judge and will present all the evidence they’ve collected to support your claim.
What Type of Cases Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Take?
You may be surprised by how many types of cases a personal injury attorney will take on. They specialize in tort law, which covers all injuries or wrongdoings caused by the negligence of others.
Negligent accidents often involve modes of transportation, like truck accidents and motorcycle accidents, as well as aviation accidents, boat accidents, and pedestrian accidents. Many injuries caused by negligence are related to the workplace, where a personal injury lawyer can assist employees in demanding worker’s compensation.
Injuries caused by negligence can also include slip and fall accidents that happen on another person’s property. Animal bites and attacks fall under the same umbrella. Many people hire a personal injury lawyer when they are harmed by a defective product, in which case they may demand compensation from the manufacturer.
If you’ve sustained an injury from medical malpractice, a personal injury attorney can assist with these cases as well. They even cover claims of abuse and neglect in assisted living facilities like nursing homes.
A personal injury lawyer is not limited to cases that involve significant physical damage. Many people are entitled to financial compensation after an accident leads to the loss of a loved one or life partner. They can also build a case around emotional distress or for general pain and suffering after an accident.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, most of the cost covers the attorney’s time and legal expertise. There are other expenses that the lawyer will need to be reimbursed for while working on your case. Obtaining medical records and police reports, as well as hiring professional investigators and expert witnesses, are all costs that factor into the total price of a personal injury case.
A personal injury lawyer typically charges a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the payment you receive from a settlement or court ruling. The portion of the fee varies. It depends on how straightforward the case is and whether it’s settled outside of court or not. You can negotiate the contingency fee upfront, even using a “sliding scale” to dictate the lawyer’s percentage based on how much compensation you receive.
Most lawyers negotiate contingency fees between 33 and 40 percent. After the personal injury lawyer takes the contingency fee, they will charge you for expenses incurred during the investigation, negotiation, and trial. An excellent personal injury lawyer will win an amount of compensation that covers the cost of hiring them.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
If you’ve suffered an accident, you can assess the damages and ask yourself, “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?” If you did not sustain any severe injuries, and the liable party offers you a reasonable settlement, you may be able to handle the case without legal counsel.
However, a personal injury lawyer protects you in case things get more complicated. If the insurance provider denies your claim or offers a settlement that you suspect is too low, legal counsel is essential to get your due compensation. Some minor injuries also become chronic or worsen over time, and a personal injury attorney anticipates these possibilities while they build your case.
A personal injury lawyer can help you get the best medical treatment at the most affordable cost while giving you peace of mind to relax and recover while they handle your legal case. They will negotiate with insurance to get you the best coverage. A lawyer will get you the most compensation you are entitled to by thoroughly researching the accident along with your medical history.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident in Fort Worth, find a personal injury lawyer to support you during your medical treatment while helping you navigate the legal system. Make sure to consult with the attorney about how complicated your case is likely to be, and negotiate a contingency fee that works for you.
At Hutchison & Stoy, you can schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer who will get you your compensation. Hutchison & Stoy is a Fort Worth firm that specializes in car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Find out how hiring a personal injury attorney can make your recovery and your life much more comfortable.