What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers are attorneys specializing in cases in which one party has been injured by another, whether by action or negligence. Dealing with an injury can impact a person’s health, career, finances, and family. Personal injury lawyers file claims and fight for compensation for injured people.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
Filing a lawsuit can be hard under normal circumstances, but it’s especially taxing for someone healing from a serious injury. Personal injury lawyers make the legal process easier by gathering evidence, filing claims, consulting with experts, and negotiating with the defense.
Here is a more detailed breakdown of what personal injury lawyers do over the course of a case:
The first step is when a personal injury lawyer speaks with a prospective client who thinks they have a case. This free, no-obligation case evaluation helps the attorney decide if there are sufficient grounds to bring a lawsuit. If so, they will get to work gathering evidence and building the case.
Filing the Claim
Next, a personal injury lawyer will file a claim – a formal complaint that explains why the defendant is responsible for the injury and demands a certain amount of compensation for the injured party.
An attorney will file the claim within the statute of limitations, which is the window of time in which a lawsuit can be filed. The statute of limitations varies based on the type of lawsuit and the state where the claim is filed. After the statute of limitations expires, you can no longer file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries.
Personal injury lawyers decide how strong a case is through a process called discovery. There are many ways to go about uncovering information that could be important to the case, including:
- Consulting with experts
- Examining photos, videos, and other evidence
- Interviewing witnesses
- Reviewing police and medical records
- Speaking with the defense
This process is integral to proving liability and building the strongest case, resulting in the largest amount of money for the plaintiff.
After discovery, a personal injury attorney will negotiate with the defendant’s attorneys for maximum compensation. They will also oversee all communications between the plaintiff and defendant to prevent their client from self-incriminating or weakening their case.
Most negotiations result in a favorable out-of-court settlement for the injured party. In these cases, the plaintiff will receive the agreed-upon amount of money from the negligent party (or their insurance company), sometimes in as few as 90 days.
Trial (if Necessary)
The case will proceed to trial if the defense does not agree to pay fair compensation to the plaintiff. Your personal injury lawyer will represent you in court, arguing your case before a judge and jury who will decide if the defendant was responsible for your injury and, if so, how much money they owe you.
Though most personal injury lawsuits don’t make it to trial, a good lawyer will still be prepared to present your case if necessary.
What Are Some Common Types of Personal Injury Claims?
There are countless ways injuries can happen, and so many different types of personal injury claims exist.
Below are some common types of claims:
- Car Accidents (including auto, motorcycle, and truck/commercial vehicle)
- Birth Injury
- Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Medical Malpractice
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Slip and Fall
- Toxic Exposure (such as Firefighting Foam or Camp Lejeune Water Contamination)
- Workers’ Compensation
- Wrongful Death
Please note that the above list is not exhaustive. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence in any scenario, you may have a case.
When Should I Get a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal injury lawsuits are time-sensitive, and it’s important to file a claim within your state’s statute of limitations. You should speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to ensure you don’t miss your chance at justice.
You may need a personal injury lawyer if:
- You’ve been injured physically or financially
- Your injury was due to another person or company’s negligence
- You need compensation to cover the costs you’ve incurred as a result of your injury
How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
Every case is unique, and the amount of time it takes to resolve a personal injury lawsuit depends on many factors. Thankfully, a skilled and experienced attorney will make the process as fast and easy as possible, allowing you to focus on recovering from your injury.
A lawsuit that goes to trial usually takes longer than a case settled out of court. But most personal injury lawsuits are settled before they reach the trial stage, allowing the injured party to receive compensation more quickly.
How Much Should I Ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement?
Whether you receive a favorable verdict outside of court or your case goes to trial, your lawyer will calculate – and negotiate for – fair compensation. Through the process outlined above, the attorney will review the facts and determine a fair amount based on several factors.
Some of the key details that affect personal injury compensation include:
- Cost of caretakers
- Loss of income and/or earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses (counseling, medication, physical therapy, etc.)
- Property damage
How Are Personal Injury Settlements Paid Out?
Not all cases follow the same timeline, and not every case will result in a favorable settlement. That said, after a successful claim, you may start receiving money in as few as 90 days.
You may choose between a one-time, lump sum payment and a series of payment installments. Either way, your settlement will most likely arrive as a check (or checks).
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge?
Many people refrain from seeking legal help because they assume they can’t afford it, but the reality is that most personal injury lawyers don’t charge any upfront or out-of-pocket fees. That means you don’t pay anything unless and until the case is decided in your favor. At that point, your attorney’s fee will come out of your settlement or jury award – not your pocket.
Who is the Best Personal Injury Lawyer?
When you suffer an injury, you need a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer to get you the compensation you’re owed.
The best personal injury lawyer is one who has:
- The resources to take on insurance companies
- A winning record and a history of satisfied clients
- Years if not decades of experience handling these claims
Working with an attorney who meets those criteria can boost your chances of filing a successful claim and maximizing your payout.
How Do I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer?
There are a lot of lawyers out there, and finding the right one can seem like a daunting task. The good news is that LawFirm.com has a nationwide network of top personal injury attorneys who offer free case evaluations. Contact us to speak with a personal injury lawyer who may be able to help you and your family bounce back from your injury.
These cases are time-sensitive, so don’t wait. Reach out today.