Personal Injury Law is the division of law that protects the legal rights of those who’ve been involved in an accident resulting in an injury. Personal injury lawyers focus on cases or legal disputes that occur when a person or group of people suffers harm or injury and someone else could be legally responsible.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury lawsuits typically begin when a person or group of people, known as the plaintiff, files a civil complaint against a person, business, corporation, or government agency. The person or group that the complaint is filed against is called the defendant. The personal injury complaint alleges that the defendant’s carelessness, negligence, or irresponsibility has a connection with the accident or injury that caused the plaintiff harm.
Most instances of personal injury lawsuits are resolved by reaching a settlement that both parties can agree to. To reach a settlement, both parties, their insurers, and their legal representation such as a personal injury lawyer, will meet and negotiate terms in an effort to resolve the matter. If the plaintiff and defendant aren’t able to come to an agreement, then the case would escalate to civil court.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve been injured and believe that another party is to blame for the injury, then you should consult with a personal injury lawyer. It is not recommended that you attempt to represent yourself due to the complex nature of personal injury law. A personal injury lawyer will evaluate your case and advise what action they recommend you take. In some cases, you may not be able to take action due to the statute of limitations or other factors. However, if they believe that you do have a valid case then they may help you on your quest to hold the other party accountable.
In order to find a personal injury lawyer, you can speak with friends, family, and acquaintances to see if they have any recommendations for a lawyer experienced in personal injury law. You can also search lawyer directories or ask other lawyers if they have any referrals for personal injury lawyers. Most local bar associations will also have referral lists. It’s a good idea to read any online reviews about the personal injury lawyers you’re considering to see what experiences other people have had.
After you’ve narrowed your list down to a few personal injury lawyers, sit down with a few to discuss your complaint and ask how they would handle the case. Be sure to bring all your paperwork to the appointment including police reports, medical bills, and any other expenses or income loss information that was a direct result of the accident or injury. Most lawyers will not charge anything for an initial consultation so this should not add to your expenses.
In addition to discussing your case, you’ll also want to ask your potential persona injury lawyers about their experience in personal injury law. Ask how long they’ve been practicing and about what percentage of their cases are involving personal injury law. You’ll want a lawyer who has had significant experience with personal injury law so that you can feel confident that they will do the best job possible. It’s also important to ask who they represented in the personal injury cases. Depending on if you’re the defendant or the plaintiff, you’ll want someone who has experience representing your side of the case. You’ll also want to ask if they’ll be handling your case directly or if it will be passed onto another lawyer. You don’t want to go through all the effort of picking out the attorney that you feel will represent you the best only to find out that they’ve passed the case on to someone else in their office. If the case will be passed on to someone else, be sure to meet with them as well to make sure that they would be a good fit.
Personal Injury Law Settlements
During your initial consultation, personal injury lawyers may be able to provide a rough estimate of what they believe you will be able to get out of a settlement. Be sure to let them know what kind of settlement you’re hoping for and find out if they feel that it’s a reasonable goal. There are also different settlement options that you and your attorney can try to achieve. You can tell your personal injury lawyer that you’re interested in a specific settlement amount as quickly as possible and with as little cost as possible. You can also ask for a higher amount than what the insurance company typically offers as soon as possible. Or you can ask for as much settlement money as possible no matter how long the proceedings take. Higher settlements often take more time and attorney costs than smaller settlements do so make sure you discuss this with your attorney.
Many of the choices surrounding personal injury law come down to what you want to do and how long you’re willing to wait to get your settlement. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to provide an estimated value and timeline for your case.