You need a personal injury lawyer if you have been injured in an accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue a case against the negligent individual(s) who caused your injury.
Today, there are no lack of commercials on TV and billboards advertising personal injury services. Most people probably associate personal injury attorneys with car accidents, as many of these advertisements focus solely on who to call after a car accident.
Reputable personal injury law firms handle a wide range of injury cases—beyond just car accidents. The lawyers at Penney & Associates, for example, provide services for many personal injury practice areas, including car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites, slip & falls, wrongful death, and more!
Let’s take a closer look at what personal injury lawyers do after they are approached with a case.
Personal injury lawyers help people who have suffered a physical or phycological injury as the result of negligence.
Personal injury lawyers are civil lawyers that primarily deal with cases of negligence and intentional tort. Generally speaking, a ‘tort’ is a legal term that refers to an act that causes injury or harm to another individual. Personal injury lawyers can be retained to recover money, or damages, from a negligent individual responsible for causing an injury. These cases typically involve the injured party seeking medical expenses, personal suffering, property damages, lost wages and other things arising from their injury.
Once retained, a personal injury lawyer can advise and help you negotiate a settlement. If the settlement amount is not reasonable given the facts of your case and injury, a personal injury lawyer should be prepared to take your case to court.
It is the personal injury attorney’s job to help identify the negligent party.
Sometimes, negligence cannot be clearly assigned to one individual. This depends on the facts of your case. In general, assigning negligence from injuries stemming from a clear liability car accident, for example, is relatively straightforward. In many cases the driver of the vehicle that was involved in the accident and caused your injuries may admit fault.
But this is not always the case. For instance, if you purchase a product and subsequently use the product as designed, but sustain an injury, it can be difficult to determine who is negligent. This specific type of negligence is known as product liability. Product liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture for a product that causes injury. In any case, a good personal injury lawyer is trained to review the facts of your case to determine who, if anyone, may be held liable.
Providing detailed information about your case is critical.
Your version of the incident that caused your injuries will help your legal team pursue a settlement and/or case. You should bring all relevant documents to your lawyer at the outset. These include medical bills, police reports, correspondence with insurance, and income loss statements just to name a few. Your lawyer can advise you on what else is required to pursue compensation.
After case facts are provided, a personal injury lawyer may decide to launch investigation and filing a lawsuit.
Preparing for a settlement or trial often involves doing an investigation of the case and filing a lawsuit. Your personal injury lawyer will begin investigating your case. The scope of the investigation will depend on the facts of your case. Some lawyers conduct on-site, in-person investigation themselves. Other lawyers hire independent investigators. Experts may be hired to serve as a witness and to help shore up your case.
In general, investigating your claim consists of:
- Interviewing witnesses
- Taking photos and video of the scene
- Creating diagrams, if necessary
- Collecting records, like police reports
This process is all about uncovering the relevant facts that will help win your case
Injury lawyers can represent you with insurance agencies.
Lawyers can help by dealing with insurance companies. This is especially true if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Both your insurance and the insurance of others involved in the accident will want to talk to you and possibly take a recent statement. Be careful. Consult with a lawyer before doing so.
Dealing with an insurance claim can be difficult to navigate on your own. After all, you want to receive compensation equal to the damages you have experienced.
A few ways attorney can help you deal with an insurance claim by:
- Controlling the flow of information so that the insurance company does not undermine your claim
- Supervising statements that you provide to insurance
- Advising on what to say and when
- Talking directly with the insurance company on your behalf
At this stage, your lawyer may attempt to negotiate a fair settlement that avoids court. If the terms offered by the insurance company are not satisfactory, your attorney will more than likely file a lawsuit.
If a settlement is not reached your lawyer can file a lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit signals a new phase in the pursuit of compensation. A personal injury lawyer will file a lawsuit when they formalize their legal theories, understand allegations, and have some of the information needed to pursue damages.
In general, after a lawsuit is filed, a judge will push both sides to come to a settlement. The court encourages mediation and settlement conferences to resolve issues early in the litigation phase. In fact, the majority of cases are settled out of court.
Simply stated, if after a lawsuit is filed and discovery is pursued, the courts will generally attempt to get the parties to settle. If this does not occur, then a court date is assigned, and a trial commenced.
A typical personal injury trial can last between one day and several months, depending on the factors surrounding the case.
It is important to note that many personal injury lawyers do not have the experience to take a case to trial. Some lawyers take your case initially but then refer it to outside firms. In general, it is best to retain a lawyer with experience taking cases to trial. Read our blog to learn more about finding and hiring a personal injury lawyer.
The lawyers at Penney & Associates have helped thousands of people with their personal injury case. Penney & Associates is a highly experienced personal injury firm made up of highly accredited personal injury trial lawyers.