What Does A Personal Injury Attorney Do?
A personal injury attorney or lawyer represents a person who has been injured. This injury might be physical or psychological through another’s negligence. This may be an individual person or it may be a company or even a government agency which has initiated the injury. A personal injury attorney has studied primarily in tort law even though they are able to practice in almost any field of law. Tort law includes things like non-economic or economic damages to a person or their property or rights. Most personal injury attorneys handle tort law cases like medical mistakes, work injuries, automobile accidents, defective products, and other similar situations.
You may think that if you hire a personal injury attorney you will have to go to court, but this is actually not always the case. In fact most cases are settled out of the courtroom. This is never a sure fact but it is often easier than going to court. The good thing is that you and your lawyer have some common interests. You both want a good settlement—the best possible—in as little time as possible. This often works in the client’s favor.
It may take a little time to get a settlement and your lawyer may not keep you filled in on a routine basis but you can always call in if you have questions. They will still, of course, keep you up-to-date, but events are often sporadic. The first thing they will work towards doing is gathering information. They will collect official reports, witness statements, and photographs in order to determine the events of the accident and who exactly was at fault. After your doctor says you have recovered from your injuries or at least been stabilized physically your attorney can begin obtaining medical reports and employment records. Your attorney will also have to get an offer from the insurance company. If they cannot get a fair settlement from the insurance company the attorney will then proceed by demanding arbitration or/and filing a lawsuit. In the case of a lawsuit you can probably expect more delays especially if there are multiple defendants and if any of them are difficult to locate. In some cases one defendant will introduce another defendant into the lawsuit. There are potential complexities which may arise and they will also have a hand in how long the proceedings will take. Discovery proceedings frequently take a lot of time. Finally, after discovery, a date for the trail is requested. The trial date completely depends on how busy the court is and neither party in the lawsuit can do anything to influence the date.
It is important that you do not talk to anyone about the case, with the exception of your doctors and lawyers. If you have any questions make sure to ask your lawyer. Your lawyer will tell you everything you can do, or avoid doing, for the best results in the case. It is a good idea to follow their instructions. They may tell you not to sign any document that has anything to do with the case, at least before talking to them first. If you have bills send copies of them to your attorney. When your doctor releases you, you return to work, or if you change addresses or numbers, also notify your lawyer. Before you change doctors consult your attorney.
So why are personal injury lawyers good to have around? First and foremost you can take advantage of their experience and expertise. They can tell you whether or not legal action will even have a good chance for you. Many lawyers work for a contingency fee which is nice for clients. This means if you lose the case you won’t have to pay your attorney’s fees. Of course there are often other fees involved throughout the case like those doctors charge for being interviewed. If you are genuinely interested in pursuing a case it can be very complicated. You may be confronted with confusing legal or medical terms and there is bound to be a lot of paperwork that tends to be time-consuming and sometimes complicated. An attorney can assist in much of this and make everything simple and more clear. When you get the help of a personal injury attorney you won’t just be getting their assistance in many cases. They often work with skilled and specialized investigators who can help to breakdown and analyze the more technical components. An attorney will provide an objective attitude. You are likely to be battling a host of frustrating emotions when dealing with a personal injury case, but a lawyer can provide guidance that is logical and sound.