What Do Personal Injury Attorneys Do?
The odds are good that you’ve seen ads for personal injury attorneys before. But what do they do, exactly? Unless you’ve hired one, you probably haven’t given the idea much thought.
Personal injury attorneys help people pursue compensation if they’ve been hurt in an accident caused by someone else. They ensure that their clients’ legal rights are protected. They fight for the full and fair amount of compensation that victims are owed.
In short, a personal injury lawyer is an advocate and ally for accident victims. Read on to learn more about how a personal injury attorney can help if you’ve been hurt. Contact our firm today for more information.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law is a type of civil law. Unlike criminal law, the penalties in a civil case do not involve punishments like jail time or probation. Instead, the penalty in a civil claim is a monetary award that comes through a settlement or court verdict which is usually paid for by an insurance company.
In a personal injury case, the liable party may be held accountable for the injured victim’s financial and non-financial losses. Compensation may be awarded for losses such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Punitive damages (in certain cases)
There are situations in which an accident can result in both criminal and civil lawsuits. A simple example would be a drunk driving crash. The state would likely file a criminal case against the drunk driver. A personal injury attorney would file a civil claim for compensation on behalf of the victim.
Types of Personal Injury Accidents
A wide variety of accident claims fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. Examples include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Defective products
- Premises liability
- Workplace accidents
When an accident is fatal, it may be possible for a personal representative or family member to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. Personal injury attorneys also work on wrongful death cases.
What a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do for You
A personal injury attorney will represent your best interests in your case from start to finish. This includes:
- Reviewing your case: The first thing that a personal injury lawyer can do for you is to provide you with a free consultation. During this time, the attorney will review the facts of your case and determine whether you have a valid claim for compensation.
- Explaining your rights and options: It’s also the attorney’s job to explain all possible legal avenues regarding your case. For example, your attorney may tell you that you have the option of filing an injury claim with your own insurer, filing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurer, or filing a lawsuit directly against the at-fault party. An attorney can also explain important rules, such how long you have to file a claim for compensation.
- Investigating your claim: One of the most important things that an attorney will do is investigate your case. An investigation will enable a lawyer to better understand your case and turn up critical evidence to support your claim for compensation.
- Recruiting experts: In order to prove the extent of your injuries, a personal injury attorney may call upon experts to support your case. Professionals that are often used in personal injury claims include accident reconstruction analysts, medical experts, forensic accountants, and life care planners.
- Gathering evidence: Types of evidence that your attorney may acquire includes eyewitnesses’ statements, photographs, vehicle “black box” data, and more. This evidence could be critical in achieving the outcome you’re hoping for.
- Handling paperwork: There will be numerous types of paperwork and documentation associated with your personal injury claim, such as insurance claim documents, medical bills, proof of lost income, and more. A personal injury attorney can collect and organize this paperwork so that you can focus on healing.
- Representing you during settlement talks: The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. An experienced personal injury attorney can represent you during settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Claimants with attorneys typically achieve better results than they would on their own, simply because insurance companies know that a lawyer won’t allow a client to be shortchanged.
- Filing a lawsuit: If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily in a settlement, you may have the option of going to trial. A skilled personal injury attorney can discuss the pros and cons of taking the case to court so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
When Do You Need an Injury Attorney?
Not every accident requires an attorney’s help. For example, a car accident that results in minor vehicle damage and no injuries can usually be settled effectively between you and the insurance company. However, there are cases when a personal injury attorney is essential.
Consider hiring a lawyer if:
- The injuries are severe or someone was killed.
- Your injuries linger more than a few days after the collision.
- You have suffered serious financial losses.
- Determining who is at fault is unclear or disputed.
- You know that the insurance company is lowballing you.
A knowledgeable lawyer will know how to put a fair value on your accident claim after evaluating the facts. A personal injury attorney can also help clarify questions of who is to blame for the accident, which can make or break your case for compensation.
What if I Can’t Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means the client pays no upfront costs to have the attorney work on the case. Instead, the lawyer only gets paid if the case wins. When that happens, he or she collects a percentage of the total award, subtracting out the costs and effort it took to prepare your case.
Make sure to discuss the fee arrangement with your personal injury attorney during your free consultation.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not you need a Maryland personal injury lawyer, schedule a free consultation at Trollinger Law LLC today. Attorney Matt Trollinger can tell you whether you have a case and the types of compensation that you’re entitled to.
More questions? Call or contact us for a free consultation.