Why Pay a Lawyer?
People may suffer severe and debilitating injuries when drivers, property owners, medical providers, and others commit negligent acts. As a result, accident victims may need to undergo lengthy medical treatment, risky medical procedures, and ongoing physical therapy. They may also experience large amounts of suffering, pain, and inconvenience, including not working.
If you suffered injuries in an accident resulting from another person’s carelessness or recklessness, you have legal options. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area is in the best position to explain those legal options to you and help you decide on the best course of action for your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
In most instances, personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means they do not receive a fee unless they recover monetary compensation for you through a favorable settlement, jury trial verdict, or binding arbitration award.
Having a personal injury lawyer represent you is one of the most intelligent decisions you can make in your case. Your lawyer can assist you by investigating the circumstances of your accident, filing a personal injury claim on your behalf, negotiating with the insurance company adjuster handling your claim, and, if necessary, litigating your case in court, and bringing it to an efficient and favorable conclusion.
Types of Personal Injury Cases that Lawyers Handle
Personal injury claims and lawsuits have a basis in negligence law. Individuals or entities behave negligently when they act unreasonably or carelessly under the circumstances. In most situations, a negligent party does something that a hypothetical reasonable person should not do under the same circumstances. Alternatively, a negligent party might fail to do something that a hypothetical reasonable person should do in the same scenario.
Personal injury claims stem from various accidents and circumstances.
Some of the most common events that result in personal injury claims and lawsuits include:
Motor vehicle crashes: Motor vehicle accidents can involve a single vehicle or more than one vehicle. They can also involve cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, or some combination. Motor vehicle accidents typically result from driver error and negligence. In some circumstances, a driver is negligent when they violate a rule of the road, such as a traffic sign, posted speed limit, or traffic control device. Other motor vehicle crashes result from road rage, where a driver reacts inappropriately to a roadway situation, such as by zealously weaving in and out of heavy traffic, tailgating another vehicle, or failing to use a turn signal when changing lanes or executing a turn at a traffic intersection. Finally, some motor vehicle accidents occur when drivers fail to observe the road or operate their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent or lower if they operate a commercial vehicle or are under 21.
Premises accidents: Property owners and managers have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition at all times for the benefit of property visitors. Specifically, they must regularly inspect their properties for unknown dangers, as well as for known dangerous conditions. If the property owner or inspector comes across a defect, they have a duty to remedy the defect within a reasonable period. This typically means that the property owner either corrects the dangerous condition or warns others about it in a meaningful way. If a premises owner or occupier violates this duty of care, and a slip and fall or other accident occurs, the property owner and their insurance company may be liable for any injuries the accident victim suffers.
If you suffered injuries in one of these occurrences that resulted from another person’s negligence, you should immediately speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can determine your legal options and help you select the best way to proceed with your case. If you are eligible to file a personal injury claim with an insurance company, your lawyer can assist you throughout the claims-filing process. They can also help you negotiate a fair settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries and other damages.
The Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Case
In any personal injury case, the injured accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. The at-fault individual or entity does not have to show or prove anything in the personal injury claim.
To recover monetary damages, the accident victim must show that another individual or entity owed them a legal duty of care, that they violated this duty of care, and that the subject accident occurred as a result. Moreover, the accident victim must show that they suffered at least one injury in their accident and that their injury directly resulted from the subject accident.
Satisfying the legal burden of proof in a personal injury claim or a lawsuit is often an uphill battle. This is because the insurance company will likely try and offer the accident victim as little monetary compensation as possible to settle the claim. The insurance company may do this by denying liability for the accident and trying to shift the blame onto someone else, including the accident victim.
In some situations, an accident victim’s lawyer can retain one or more experts to help with satisfying the necessary legal burden.
First, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist to testify in support of your case. An accident reconstructionist can speak with eyewitnesses to the occurrence, review police reports, visit the scene of the event, and piece together who caused the accident and how it likely happened. An accident reconstructionist can also testify at a deposition that occurs during the discovery phase of litigation. They can further testify in court at a civil jury trial.
In addition to being an accident reconstructionist, your lawyer can retain a medical expert who can testify in support of your injuries. First, the medical provider can state, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that your injury or injuries directly resulted from the subject occurrence. Moreover, the doctor can establish that one or more of your injuries are permanent. A permanent injury is unlikely to improve over time and is likely to cause you significant symptoms going forward.
A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer in your area can help you retain the necessary experts to satisfy your legal burden of proof and help you recover the damages you need in your case.
Injuries That an Accident Victim May Suffer
Accident victims often sustain severe injuries in accidents that result from negligence. The exact injuries an accident victim will suffer usually depend upon the type of accident, the force of the accident, and the affected body parts.
Common accident-related injuries include soft tissue contusions, neck and back injuries, fractures, broken bones, traumatic head injuries, internal organ damage, cuts, bruises, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis.
Contingency Fee Agreements in Personal Injury Cases and How They Work
A personal injury lawyer can be an invaluable help when it comes to settling or litigating your personal injury claim. When accident victims retain a lawyer to represent them, they will first sign a contingency fee agreement (CFA). This agreement provides that a lawyer will be entitled to receive a certain percentage of the accident victim’s gross recovery in the case. In some circumstances, the lawyer’s fee is one-third of the accident victim’s gross monetary recovery, while at other times, the fee may increase to 40 percent. For example, a lawyer may be eligible to recover a 40 percent fee if they file a lawsuit in the case or take it to a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding.
In the event a lawyer does not recover monetary compensation for the accident victim via a personal injury settlement, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award, the lawyer will not be entitled to receive a fee according to the terms of the agreement.
Before signing a CFA, you should ask your lawyer any questions you may have. If you sign the agreement, your lawyer will assume you understand it fully. Your attorney can answer all of your legal questions and address your concerns prior to beginning their representation.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help with Your Case
When you retain a personal injury lawyer to represent you, your lawyer can help with every aspect of your personal injury claim or lawsuit from the beginning until the very end. First, your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your claim-filing eligibility.
Next, your lawyer can gather up your medical records, lost wage documents, injury photographs, and investigation documents and assemble them into a settlement demand package. Your lawyer can then send the demand package, along with a settlement demand letter, to the insurance company for review.
If the insurance company adjuster accepts fault for your accident, your lawyer can negotiate a settlement offer on your behalf. In many instances, insurance companies are unwilling to offer accident victims the fair damages they deserve. If that happens, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and assist you throughout the litigation process.
During litigation, the parties will usually answer written questions and engage in discovery depositions. Your lawyer can help you file written answers and prepare you to testify at your discovery deposition.
Finally, if your case must go to trial, your lawyer can represent you in court and advocate strongly for your legal interests. During your case, your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a particular settlement offer or litigate your case and take it to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Your Area to Represent You Today
Retaining a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer to represent you is one of the most important steps you can take to maximize your monetary compensation in a claim or lawsuit. Some people might think their case isn’t too complicated or that lawyers are too expensive, which is a mistake.
Your lawyer can file a claim and recover the monetary damages you deserve for your medical expenses, lost earnings, suffering, pain, inconvenience, and mental distress stemming from your accident.