Few things are more frustrating, heartbreaking, or financially devastating than a life-changing injury or accidental death. The damage is even more catastrophic when the injury or death is caused by someone else’s actions or inaction.
A personal injury lawsuit is not about “getting back” at someone or a company. It is about aiding the healing process by providing restitution for the loss and working to make sure that a similar incident does not happen again.
Personal injury law covers a myriad of injury types and causes but the purpose is to always help negate the incident’s adverse effects, especially in terms of the financial damage the victim suffered. We know that winning a personal injury lawsuit cannot change what happened, but the settlement or trial award will compensate the victim(s) to make them “whole” financially. This includes compensation for lost time from work, medical bills, and the often-unrecognized financial burdens associated with emotional distress.
A win in a personal injury lawsuit can also lead to future policy, procedure or legal changes that prevent similar injuries happening to someone else. Bailey & Oliver Law Firm frequently works with industry leaders in various trades to create new rules, regulations and procedures that will prevent accidents from happening in the future.
How to navigate a personal injury lawsuit
Emotions run high when an accidental death or catastrophic industry occurs. A victim and their family also have many details they must attend to in regards to recovering from the injury and getting their life back to a new sense of normalcy.
To help wade through the chaos, we have created this document to help simplify the process of a personal injury lawsuit.
In this document, we will discuss:
Types of personal injury lawsuits
How to know if you need an attorney
What to look for in a personal injury attorney
- The client’s responsibilities in a successful personal injury lawsuit
Types of personal injury lawsuits
Injuries and accidental deaths can happen many ways, but these are the most common types of personal injury lawsuits:
Do I need an attorney?
It is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident to protect victims immediately from potential harassment, and to ensure that vital information and evidence is captured. An attorney or their staff will be well-equipped to determine if an incident fits the criteria for a personal injury lawsuit. Even if a lawsuit is not warranted, assistance with the insurance companies might still make engaging an attorney a wise decision.
Each type of personal injury lawsuit has its own considerations including statutes of limitations, facts that must be discovered to prove liability, and considerations that lead damage amounts awarded. A seasoned personal injury attorney can guide you through each step of the process regardless of the type of accident involved. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible is also important because many types of personal injury lawsuits have a short window after the incident in which a lawsuit can be filed.
A personal injury attorney will also shepherd victims through the complicated insurance process to ensure they are treated fairly and spared the time-consuming and exasperating claim process.
Whether it is in the courtroom or working with insurance, an experienced personal injury attorney will make it more likely that a victim and their family is given the full amount of restitution they deserve.
What do I look for in a personal injury attorney?
Experience and focus
When searching for an attorney after an accident or injury, it is important to look for an attorney that specifically focuses on personal injury law. Each area of law has unique nuances and personal injury law can be one of the more complicated types of lawsuits. You need an attorney with experience in a courtroom and who is intimately familiar with the various laws and previous legal decisions that could sway your case.
Experience and focus on personal injury law are vital, but so is that attorney’s success rate in court. How often do they win? How much success have they had in cases that is similar to yours? Do they have a consistent history of winning fair settlements for their clients?
Another success measure is the law firm’s reputation and ranking with various industry organizations. Several of our attorneys have been named to prestigious lists within our industry, indicating our firm is respected and reputable.
Hiring an attorney is a valuable but often potentially costly investment. When consulting with an attorney, find out their payment policies and fee structure. Attorneys like those at Bailey & Oliver Law Firm operate on a contingency fee system which defers any payment until after the case is settled or a successful jury verdict is returned. This allows a client to hire an attorney immediately with no out-of-pocket costs and no incurring additional debt. The attorney fees come from the final payment.
Another reason to seek an attorney who uses the contingency fee structure is that the attorney will be more likely to only take a case they are confident they can win. That tells the client they can be confident in their attorney because their attorney has confidence in their own abilities.
Communication and personality
When searching for a personal injury attorney, ask about how they work with clients. How quickly do they return messages? How do they communicate with clients? What is their demeanor and overall tone—do they come across as compassionate and easy to work with? Is their staff efficient yet friendly?
A client’s responsibilities in a personal injury lawsuit
The client’s cooperation is vital to a successful personal injury lawsuit. We see our work with clients as a type of partnership. We both must work together to garner positive results.
Schedule the consultation
The first client responsibility is to schedule the consultation with a personal injury attorney. This may sound obvious, but it is an important first step that deserves recognition.
From there, a potential client must accumulate as much information as possible in preparation for the consultation. That information will provide the attorney with the information they need to determine if a lawsuit is warranted, and how to proceed if a lawsuit is deemed appropriate.
Information that will be helpful in a personal injury lawsuit includes:
Pictures or video of the incident involved or the damage caused if after the fact, including physical injuries
Medical records (including emergency room and ongoing treatment, as well as notes from a therapist or psychologist)
Insurance claim information
Insurance information for both all parties involved
Repair estimates or invoices
Pay stubs or other evidence of missed work
- Any other evidence or information available including conversations with medical professionals, the other parties involved, or insurance.
Continue maintaining records
Once a personal injury lawsuit is initiated, ongoing record-keeping is vital. This includes:
A daily journal of pain and suffering
Pay stubs from future lost work
Detailed records of any conversations with the insurance company or other pertinent parties
Follow doctor’s orders
Continued medical care is If the client continues to be under the care of a physician, following that doctor’s orders consistently is important. One reason is obviously to help heal, but in regards to the personal injury lawsuit, lack of compliance with physician orders could be used against the client’s case.
Do you have more questions regarding a personal injury lawsuit? Please contact us at Bailey & Oliver and our trained staff will help you.
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Jeannette Nieves, Recepton
REAL. GOOD. LAWYERS.