If you have been involved in a serious accident, or if someone you love has, you know it’s tough to move forward, especially if the accident was someone else’s fault. At some point after a traumatic event of this type, many people wonder, “Is it worth it to hire a personal injury attorney?” The period following a serious accident is a confusing, emotional, and vulnerable time, as victims and their families navigate a complicated maze of accident reports, insurance claims, medical bills, and the like while also trying to focus on recovery. If the accident was someone else’s fault or happened due to another’s negligence, hiring a personal injury attorney who can draw from specialized knowledge and resources can help you file the strongest claim possible on your behalf.
Whether to hire a personal injury attorney following an accident always depends on the unique situation—what happened, which factors contributed to causing the accident, who was ultimately responsible, and whether negligence played a role in the event. Thus, a smart first step is to contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation. During this conversation, the attorney will discuss your situation with you to learn as much as possible about what happened in order to determine whether you have sufficient grounds for a claim.
If you are seeking to file a personal injury claim against a large company or corporation that has extensive legal and financial resources at their disposal, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to go up against these parties is particularly critical. The same is true if your situation is complex, which is often the case with people who have suffered severe injuries or worse in aviation, trucking, oilfield, or construction accidents. These types of accidents are more complicated due to the special laws regulating these industries, including the companies, machinery, employees, and general operations. In addition, you may be in a position to file your claim in a different geographic area, based on the laws in different jurisdictions.
Whether or not your situation falls into any of the categories we mentioned, if you believe you have grounds to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, it is likely in your best interest to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you rather than enlisting the help of another type of lawyer. Filing this type of claim is a complicated process that requires deep knowledge of specialized areas of the law. Anyone who has been involved in an accident that occurred due to someone’s negligence, or who has lost a loved one due to such an accident, would benefit from skilled legal representation to help them pursue justice.
To understand how crucial an experienced personal injury attorney can be in your case, it’s important to know all of the nuances of what a personal injury attorney is and what these types of lawyers can do for their clients.
What Is a Personal Injury Attorney?
A skilled personal injury attorney can make all the difference between an unsuccessful claim and an outcome in which the victim receives the compensation he or she rightfully deserves. But what is a personal injury attorney, exactly, and what do they do for their clients? In short, a personal injury attorney is a lawyer who specializes in an area of the law that involves private or civil harm or injury cases, including physical injury and wrongful death.
Personal injury attorneys handle claims for clients who have been harmed in some way due to someone else’s wrongful actions or negligence. Often, the goal of this type of claim is not just to secure compensation for the client, but also to prevent these accidents from happening in the future. Personal injury cases have been responsible for causing new laws and regulations to be put into place in order to prevent others from being harmed in similar ways. Therefore, this area of the law can have a wide-reaching positive impact not just for the individuals who were involved in the accident and their families, but for others who will be protected as a result.
After determining that you want to file a personal injury claim, it can be hard to know where to begin to find the right personal injury attorney for your particular case.
How To Find A Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve never been involved in a serious accident before, you may have no idea about how to find a personal injury attorney. Thankfully, finding the right attorney to represent you and file your claim, particularly under difficult circumstances, does not have to be a difficult process. Ideally, hiring a personal injury attorney should take a lot of worry and stress, along with administrative tasks like contacting insurance companies and filing paperwork, off your plate. Most of all, investing the time in finding the right personal injury attorney is worth the effort. In the sensitive, vulnerable months following an accident that led to severe injuries or even the tragic death of a loved one, having a competent professional handle your case can be a great source of relief, as it frees you to focus on recovery as best you can.
The very first step to take after an accident is to seek appropriate medical treatment for your injuries, or professional counseling support if you have suffered the loss of a family member to a catastrophic accident. Taking this step is essential for your physical and mental health, since immediate treatment will give you the best chance at recovery, but it will also be extremely important for your personal injury claim. Personal injury cases are weakened when the accident victim delays a doctor or hospital visit, as failing to seek treatment can make it appear as if your injuries aren’t as severe.
The next step after seeking appropriate treatment and support is to consult with a personal injury attorney who handles your type of case. There are many types of accidents that fall within the scope of personal injury; examples include:
- vehicle, boating or aviation accidents;
- slip-and-fall accidents;
- workplace accidents;
- dog or other animal bites;
- medical malpractice; and more.
Furthermore, as we have already mentioned, laws vary from state to state related to negligence, statutes of limitation, and other factors that will affect your case. Depending on the specific circumstances of your injury or loss, you’ll want to hire an attorney with experience and a track record of success in settling similar cases.
When seeking a personal injury attorney to handle your case, be sure to conduct research into their reputation. Read reviews from other people who hired them in the past; during your initial consultation, ask them about other, similar cases they have handled and how those were ultimately settled. Be sure to find out about their track record, since you’ll be better off with an attorney in your corner who has experience with successfully handling your type of claim.
Tips for Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’re seeking tips for hiring a personal injury lawyer, the best advice you can follow is simply to do your homework upfront. Conduct online research to ensure the personal injury lawyer you’re considering hiring does, in fact, handle cases like yours and has successfully resolved them in the past. Read the bios on their law firm’s website, look at their site to determine what areas of the law they specialize in, and read reviews from other clients to get a feel for how a particular lawyer or firm works and what type of experience they will be bringing to the table.
Write out a list of questions you have for the attorneys you’re considering hiring and ask them during the initial consultation with each lawyer. You might also want to write out a thorough and accurate account of your accident, since the lawyer will want to learn as much about your case as possible to determine whether you have sufficient grounds for a claim. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may value an attorney who is compassionate, as those dealing with the aftermath of a tragic and unexpected accident are often overwhelmed with emotions, and a caring lawyer can be extremely valuable during this extremely difficult time. Lastly, you’ll want to consider your particular case and its level of complexity. More serious or complex legal claims often require extensive resources to conduct in-depth investigative work and enlist specialized expertise that make some attorneys and firms a better fit than others.
Personal Injury Case Checklist
Given the importance of selecting the right attorney, it can be helpful to put together a personal injury case checklist to understand the step-by-step process of hiring a personal injury attorney and filing your claim. While it’s worth reviewing a general, comprehensive personal injury case checklist, you should know that if you have grounds for filing a personal injury claim, a personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation to determine the facts of your case, including establishing negligence on the part of the person or party responsible for the accident. Your lawyer will manage all legal aspects of filing your claim, communicating with insurance companies and opposing attorneys, and following your case to its completion.
It’s also good to know how your attorney will be paid, as some people worry about whether they can afford a personal injury attorney, not realizing an initial consultation is normally free and personal injury lawyers are typically paid on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee refers to a payment that is contingent, or dependent, on the outcome of the case, and specifically on the amount of financial compensation ultimately awarded to the plaintiff (the accident victim who files the original claim). That means that you do not have to pay anything upfront, which is often very important, since victims are having to deal with costly medical bills, as well as a possible loss of income if working is no longer possible, either in the long or short term.
A typical agreement in personal injury cases is for the attorney handling the plaintiff’s case to receive a percentage of the damages once the case is either settled or resolved via court trial. What’s most important for a prospective client to know is that this agreement will be made upfront with the attorney, so the client is aware from the start of what percentage or amount their attorney might be paid. If no damages are ultimately awarded, the client will not owe anything to their attorney, and the attorney will not receive payment or be reimbursed for any expenses related to the handling of your case.
Hiring the right personal injury attorney can make all the difference in reaching a favorable outcome with your claim, and since, again, you’ll pay nothing out of pocket—your attorney won’t be paid unless you agree on a settlement or otherwise receive compensation—there is little financial risk involved in securing a skilled attorney to represent you.
These are the typical steps in a personal injury case:
- Seek appropriate treatment for your injuries, or counseling or other psychiatric support in the event of the loss of a loved one in a catastrophic accident.
- Secure a competent and compassionate personal injury attorney with deep experience in successfully handling cases like yours.
- Follow your attorney’s instructions regarding what they need from you to support your claim. You will probably need to provide copies of your medical bills and other documents or information to support your claim.
- Keep in touch with your attorney as they investigate all aspects of your claim, review your medical records, and communicate with opposing lawyers or insurance representatives.
- Once your attorney files your claim, the process of discovery, mediation, and negotiation begins.
- Although victims and their family members may wonder what happens when a case goes to trial, many personal injury cases are settled out of court. Those that cannot reach an acceptable settlement will either be dropped or taken to trial.
The timeline for a personal injury case is quite variable. Often, these claims can take months or even years to reach a conclusion. This is yet another reason it is essential to choose your attorney wisely.
Slack Davis Sanger Works Tirelessly to Bring Our Clients Justice
If you are seeking a personal injury attorney who will listen with compassion to your experience and use every resource at hand to build the best possible case for your claim, contact Slack Davis Sanger. Our personal injury attorneys are caring listeners who are dedicated to our clients and fight passionately for justice on their behalf. Our hardworking team has extensive experience and success in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.