6 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE FILING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT
If you’ve never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you may not know what to expect. Here are 10 things you should know before filing a claim.
- Personal Injury Lawsuits Are Designed to Protect You
After an injury, you likely have a lot to contend with: medical bills, lost income, emotional stress, and the upheaval of your daily routine. Personal injury lawsuits are designed to protect the rights and financial futures of injury victims like you. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover compensation through a settlement with the defendant, or at trial.
- Don’t Sign Anything Before Consulting an Attorney
An insurance adjuster might try to convince you that you don’t need a lawyer, but remember that insurance companies often don’t have your best interest in mind. Many of them want you to deal directly with them in hopes that you’ll settle for far less than your case is really worth. It’s imperative that you not sign anything before speaking to a personal injury lawyer, as doing so could prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve.
- There Are Two Ways to Win a Case
Personal injury cases can be settled out of court or ruled on at trial. A settlement is an agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant as to how much compensation the plaintiff will receive. A verdict, on the other hand, is a decision made by a judge or jury following court proceedings. That means that even if a settlement can’t be reached, your attorney still has a viable path to recover the compensation you need. (In fact, in many cases, the jury award is significantly higher than the pre-trial offer.)
- Personal Injury Cases Can Be Time-Consuming
Personal injury cases are complex, and therefore settlements and trials can take months, if not years to conclude. To compound matters, insurance companies often try to drag out the process in hopes that the victim will cave and settle for a lowball offer. It’s important that you never settle for less than your case is worth. Our attorneys are dedicated to resolving your case quickly and efficiently, but most of all, to achieving the best possible outcome for you.
- It’s Hard to Value a Claim Without Reviewing the Facts
A variety of factors may influence the value of a claim, including the severity of the injury and the circumstances surrounding the accident. Without first reviewing the facts of the case, it’s difficult to pinpoint how much a claim is really worth. However, you can rest assured knowing that Morgan & Morgan has a long track record of success. We understand how to value a claim, and we aren’t afraid to fight for fair compensation at trial if necessary.
- You Have Limited Time to File a Lawsuit
Every state has a statute of limitations: a timeframe for filing a personal injury claim against the negligent party. Statutes vary from one state to the next, so it’s important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss the deadline for filing in your state.
IS IT WORTH HIRING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?
Suppose you needed treatment for something life-threatening. Would you trust your care to just anybody? Would you trust it to the reading you have done on the internet about homeopathy or self-medication? Do not deny yourself experience and skilled practice in the name of saving money. In the above example, a doctor would tell you you are risking more than your healthcare dollars in the long run.
It is much the same when you choose not to talk to a personal injury lawyer before you accept any settlement from an insurance company. The goal of a personal injury lawyer is to make sure you receive every dollar you are legally entitled to receive. All the other parties to the case — the other driver, his or her insurance company, his or her insurance company’s lawyers — are determined to prevent you from receiving what you are owed.
One essential thing to remember is that a reputable law firm will operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that if your lawyer is unable to recover any compensation for you, you don’t pay for the service. Without the risk of having to pay fees in return for zero compensation, there is simply no reason to forego the expertise afforded by a personal injury lawyer.
Success in accident cases is frequently reduced to one simple premise: proving which party was at fault. Establishing blame is hotly contested. Proving who is responsible, convincingly, always requires an in-depth investigation. Private detectives may be hired. Witnesses are identified. Statements are taken. Subpoenas are served and photographs of the scene are taken.
Would you know where to begin? What steps to take? What evidence to preserve? This is why hiring a personal injury lawyer can save you time and frustration and give you a better chance of a successful outcome.
5 Bad Things That Can Happen During the Injury Claims Process
- The person at fault may not report the accident to their insurance company.
- The insurance company may delay investigating the claim and accepting responsibility for the accident.
- The person responsible for the accident may not have insurance coverage. If this is the case, you will have to file your injury claim with your own automobile insurance policy. If you do not have full coverage you may not be able to make any recovery. This is why every automobile owner should always add “Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist” (UM/UIM) protection coverage, as well as “personal injury protection” coverage (PIP), when the buy automobile insurance. UM/UIM helps repay costs that the other motorist’s insurance (or lack thereof) cannot cover. PIP pays some of the out of pocket costs for medical treatment that you incur after an accident.
- If are still paying off your car loan, and you fall behind on your payments because of medical expenses or missed work after an accident, the bank or the car dealership may repossess your car.
- You may have paid too much for your car, including financing costs and the sales price. If this is the case, and your car is a total loss, you may be “upside down” on you loan. This means that the value of your vehicle is less than the amount of the loan that you still owe. In other words, you may end up without a car but still having to pay more money to pay off the loan. This also makes it very difficult to obtain another vehicle. To help protect against this there is a type of insurance coverage called Guaranteed Auto Protection (“GAP”) insurance that he is good protection to consider buying if you buy a new car. It is also a good reason to search for the best deal on a car, including buying a used vehicle to avoid paying the new car “premium” that puts your finances at risk if you have an accident.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
A good personal injury lawyer will listen to you, do thorough information and evidence gathering, talk to you about your options, and assist you in pursuing the course of action that you choose.
- Handling your case personally, listening to your needs, and responding quickly to your questions.
- Calculating and documenting all of your losses.
- Ensuring that all court documents, insurance claims, and other paperwork are filed correctly.
- Systematically gathering crucial pieces of evidence.
- Interviewing witnesses who saw the incident that caused your injury.
- Representing your interests during negotiations with insurance companies.
- Fielding prospective settlement offers and acting in your best interest.
A personal injury lawyer can help take the burden of the legal process off your plate and help guide you through this sometimes frustrating and complex process.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you are close to has ever been hit by a car, you know how disoriented one can become when it happens to them. If you’ve been hurt or injured by the negligence of another person, company, or driver; it is possible to seek compensation for your medical bills and other related expenses. You don’t have to call a personal injury lawyer after car accidents, but these are some reasons why you should.
They Are Professional and Objective
Car accidents and personal injuries cause a lot of pain and emotional upheaval. This trauma may make it difficult to make objective decisions as far as your accident/injury is concerned. A personal injury attorney will file personal injury claims on your behalf. They will also help bring knowledge, skill, and experience into your case; and this will help you get the settlement you deserve.
They Know How to Negotiate
After an accident has occurred, and personal injury claims have been filed, the offending party’s insurance representative handles these cases daily and can be very persuasive when it comes to bargaining for lower compensation. Negotiating with insurance companies can be very challenging and they have techniques on persuading you to accept their first offer. This is why you need an experienced lawyer to help you through this period. Hiring a personal injury lawyer after you’ve been injured often leads to heftier compensation.
They Help You Make Better Decisions
If you aren’t a lawyer, filing a personal injury claim may seem like a long and complicated legal process. Sometimes, the offending party owns up to their mistake and is willing to compensate you. In such cases, if the compensation amount is adequate for your injuries, it would be unnecessary to take court action. A qualified personal injury lawyer will analyze your unique situation and inform you of the options that are available to you. They can also provide counsel on the best route of action, depending on the severity of your situation.
They Can Provide You With Legal Coverage
Often, the offending parties contest personal injury claims, and this prompts you to take court action. The other party will have a lawyer, and you not having one will probably turn the odds against you. Having the support of a personal injury lawyer will help level the playing field. An experienced lawyer will give you adequate legal representation after car accidents. They will gather all the evidence you need to win your court case.
They Can Help You Get Faster Compensation
If you don’t have a lawyer, you will have to wait until you have recovered sufficiently before going to seek compensation. This implies that it will take you much longer to get your settlement. You should call a personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident. This way, they can file personal injury claims on your behalf while you are recuperating. A qualified personal injury lawyer has vast experience with similar cases to yours and the legalities involved with those cases, hence they can side-step all setbacks and help you get compensated as fast as possible.