A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who helps people who have been physically or psychologically injured because of someone else’s negligence or malice. That person could be an individual, a company, a government agency, or anyone else. Attorneys at a personal injury law firm usually work with tort law, a branch of law that aims to redress wrongs and provide relief. Compensation is typically monetary, though only sometimes. It is easy to see the results that personal injury attorneys get for their clients, but how do they go about doing it? If you have not worked in that space before, the day-to-day activities of a personal injury lawyer may seem about as evident as the inner workings of a mysterious black box. Personal injury lawyers and their teams do a lot of work behind the scenes to get the results they do.
In the beginning, a lot of a personal injury lawyer’s job is investigative. Because personal injury lawyers usually only get paid from the settlements they have secured for their clients, they carefully investigate and screen potential clients to determine if taking the case is worth their time. An excellent personal injury lawyer will ask about the accident, what happened, who was involved, your injuries, and any other information they need to help them decide if they should take your case.
Once a personal injury attorney has decided to take your case, the investigation continues as they gather evidence to support your claim. They may employ the services of an investigator, photographer, and other team members to gather all the evidence. They may visit the site of the accident and take pictures to get a clearer idea of where the incident occurred. If a police or incident report was made, they will then get copies of those reports. Witness statements will be collected from witnesses. If there were cameras that took videos or pictures of the accident, footage and photos may also be gathered. If any property was damaged, evidence of the damage will be collected too. To help determine the initial demand, your personal injury attorney will also need information about your medical expenses and any bills you have received. All of the evidence will be used to determine liability and the extent of the damages you have suffered.
Negotiate With Insurance
Insurance companies are typically heavily involved in personal injury cases, whether the case involves an auto accident, a dog bite, or slip and fall injuries. As such, the next step in the process is to negotiate with the insurance companies. This is something you want to avoid tackling on your own. Even your own insurance company is not there to be your friend. They do not make money by giving it away, after all. They are likely to offer you a small sum as compensation for your pain and suffering, but you may need more. Fortunately, personal injury law firms are well-versed in negotiating with insurance companies, which is why it is best to let them handle all communications with the insurance company. They will use all the evidence they have gathered, including information about the company’s policies, to determine the maximum amount of compensation available. Thanks to their vast experience, personal injury lawyers will not inadvertently jeopardize the case with poorly thought-out statements recorded by the company the way that less experienced individuals might.
Given a certain amount of back-and-forth negotiations, many insurance companies will eventually offer a fair settlement. If they refuse to, however, a personal injury lawyer’s next move is to prepare a complaint against them. This is called preparing a pleading. The pleading lays out the legal arguments indicating why the defendant is at fault and the compensation sought. Once the complaint is received, the recipient usually has thirty days to answer it.
Discovery is the process of gathering evidence, including documents, interrogatories, and depositions. Attorneys for both sides will exchange information that may be presented as evidence during the trial. An excellent personal injury lawyer will have already obtained much of the evidence earlier in handling your claim, but that does not mean they have received all the relevant information. At this point, the attorney must ensure they have all the information they need to take the case to trial if necessary.
Representing Clients at Trial
While most personal injury cases settle out of court instead of going to trial, some end up in front of a judge. Every personal injury attorney should prepare to represent their clients at trial if necessary. Their experience in the courtroom and the settlements they have gotten for their clients in that setting is something you should ask about when deciding who you want to represent you for your case.
Having a competent personal injury attorney on your side can make a massive difference in the outcome of your personal injury claim. They do a lot of work to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, from when you first contact them to when you’ve received your rightful compensation. If you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney or have questions about the personal injury claims process, do not hesitate to contact Lee Law Offices. We are here to help you get what you need and deserve to make things right.