Clients often wonder what personal injury attorneys actually do. The simple answer is that they handle the legal aspects of an accident or injury, ensuring that your rights are defended. That means that an attorney will represent you after an intentional or negligent action that caused you or a loved one harm, damage or even death.
A personal injury lawyer also works with risk management agencies and insurance companies in order to convince them to take your claim seriously and to offer you a fair settlement. Sometimes, for instance, an insurance company will increase a settlement offer as soon as managers find out that you have retained competent legal representation.
Once you hire an attorney, in general, you will not need to deal with the claims adjuster any longer. Instead, your lawyer will handle communication with the company directly. Allowing your lawyer to take on the burden of talking with and negotiating with the insurer can reduce your stress and let you focus on your recovery.
If you attempt to manage the case alone, by contrast, the insurer might try to twist your words, which could result in complications or even a denial of your claim. For instance, while talking to the adjustor, you might make an innocent seeming comment along the lines of “I’m feeling slightly better since the crash” – meaning that, on a scale of 1-10, your pain now registers as an 8 instead of a 10. But the insurance company could use that recorded statement later to build a case that you recovered quickly from your injuries and thus didn’t suffer harm.
Your lawyer will assess the facts of your claim, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, and help you determine the proper course of action – for instance, whether to negotiate a settlement or litigate the claim.
The law firm should maintain on-going communication with you, answer your questions and concerns as they arise, and point you towards other resources to aid with your recovery. The firm will use technologies and trusted experts to investigate the scene of the crash for clues about what happened and explore avenues to obtain compensation from various responsible parties, such as the driver who hit you or the maker of a defective auto part that might have played a role in the collision.
Personal injury lawyers general accept cases on what’s known as a contingency basis. This means the attorney does not get paid unless he or she obtains a positive result – such as a settlement or verdict – for the client. Attorneys look for situations in which someone has been harmed through another person or entity’s negligence, carelessness or wrongdoing — such as bad driving, criminal actions, or other unsafe behavior. The defendant (or the defendant’s insurer) also must have enough money to pay a claim or judgment. Common personal injury cases include:
If you or someone you loved has been hurt in an accident, call our seasoned legal team for a strategic consultation about your possible next steps.