What a Personal Injury Lawyer DoesMarch 16, 2022
Car accident claims are by far the most common type of personal injury claims. Naturally, when personal injury lawyers are mentioned, most people think personal injury pretty much comes down to handling insurance companies and filing claims.
But, there are many more examples of personal injuries that are often overlooked, such as medical malpractice and slip and fall accidents.
Spar & Bernstein Law Offices, for instance, can help you with nursing home negligence. If that’s something you’re currently dealing with, visit their website on lawsb to find out more about this particular type of personal injury.
Since people sometimes aren’t even aware that they can protect their rights, we’ve decided to start from the basics.
What’s a personal injury?
A personal injury is simply a legal term for the injury a person sustains due to someone else’s negligence or even intention. In some cases, a defendant is liable for committing an action, regardless of their intent or level of care. This is called strict liability.
Personal injuries can take many forms: medical negligence, assault, workplace accidents, product defect accidents, nursing home abuse, and more.
Since you don’t necessarily need to sustain any bodily harm, personal injuries can also arise from intentional infliction of emotional distress, false detention, arrest, or imprisonment, defamation, invasion of privacy, and malicious prosecution.
If you successfully prove that you’ve suffered a personal injury due to someone else’s behavior, you’ll be awarded money damages for your injuries. They include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, mental and emotional distress, household assistance, travel expenses, and many more.
As you can tell, there are numerous cases of personal injury that can be handled by a personal injury lawyer. Some lawyers decide to focus on specific types of injuries, while others like to broaden their experience.
Naturally, it’s best to choose a lawyer who has extensive experience handling cases similar to yours.
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How can a personal injury lawyer help you?
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you in many different ways that aren’t limited to filing a lawsuit. They can also provide you with legal advice, investigate an accident, gather evidence, assess the damages, and handle the insurance companies.
Provide legal advising
When you first schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, they will ask you to bring in all of the papers and potential evidence you may have in your possession. They will ask you when and how did the injury occur, what kind of injury was it, and how did it affect your life afterward.
It’s important to answer these questions in detail so that the lawyer can accurately assess the situation you how an accident and different legal issues affect your rights. If you’ve crossed the street looking at your phone and the car hit you, the insurance company may find that you’ve contributed to the accident.
Also, in most cases, if you’ve suffered an injury more than two years ago in California, you won’t be able to sue now. This is because each state has a different statute of limitations – a time limit for a lawsuit to be filed.
A personal injury lawyer will look at things more objectively than you since they’re not personally involved. We’re sure you don’t want to be clouded by fear, anger, frustration, stress, and other emotions when you’re deciding on how to proceed.
Investigate an accident
In some cases, it might be simple to determine how the accident occurred. Other times, it can be really difficult to figure that out, especially if a lot of people have been involved. For instance, a person may have sustained an injury due to a multiple-vehicle collision. So, which one of them is to blame?
Personal injury lawyers usually hire their investigators who document the scene of an accident, interview all known witnesses, and come up with a theory about how the incident occurred. They can also gather evidence, such as video footage, physical evidence, and obtain accident and medical reports.
These people are very good at what they do since they do it professionally. More often than not, they’re retired cops working a new job.
While this may not always be necessary, it’s good to know that this is something your personal injury lawyer can help you with.
Assess the extent of the damage
Most people focus on the immediate impact of the injury such as the medical expenses they have to pay for being hospitalized or the expenses for repairing their vehicle to get it back on the road.
Depending on the severity and the type of injury you’ve sustained, it may take you months to heal. You may have to take some special medications or go to physical therapy if you suffered a fracture of one of your legs, for instance.
The situation might be even more if there are difficult long-term effects of injuries. Sometimes, victims of car accidents are left permanently disabled and aren’t able to get back to the job they’ve previously worked at. This often causes a loss in earning capacity, which lasts for life.
A personal injury lawyer may ask a medical specialist to assess a lifetime impact of an accident and talk to an economist that can calculate the extent of the loss in earning capacity.
Handle the insurance company
Insurance companies are often involved in cases of personal injury. The first thing your lawyer will do is identify the insurance company responsible for handling a personal injury claim. They will look through the insurance policy to find information on the coverage.
Once that’s done, they will contact the insurance company and file a claim along with all necessary documentation to prove you’ve suffered a personal injury and to prove the extent of the damage.
Most insurance companies will try to avoid paying the compensation or at least try to minimize it. This is where lawyers come in handy.
The insurance company and your lawyer may negotiate for some time. It could take a couple of weeks or even months before they reach a settlement agreement. A skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to argue your case and make sure your legal rights aren’t violated in any way.
A personal injury lawyer will also handle all communication with the insurance company, preventing you from making even the smallest mistake that can jeopardize your claim, such as giving a recorded statement.
Insurance companies may try to delay the settlement, fail to conduct an adequate investigation. If that’s the case, your lawyer will point this out since insurance companies must act in good faith.
File a lawsuit
In some cases, an insurance company may refuse to settle your claim. They may argue that your pre-existing injuries caused the back pain you’ve started experiencing after the car accident. They could also claim that there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that the policyholder is responsible for the injury you’ve sustained.
If you’ve reached that point, your lawyer may decide it’s time to file a lawsuit against the insurance company. They will prepare a complaint that sets out the legal arguments and evidence proving that the defendant is responsible for the accident.
Your lawyer will appear at each hearing and properly prepare you for the trial so that you get fair compensation for all damages.
Do you always need a lawyer?
Of course not. If the injury you’ve sustained is minor, there are no long-term consequences of the injury, and the insurance company makes a reasonable settlement offer, it makes no sense to hire a personal injury lawyer.
Here are some cases when we advise you to call your personal injury lawyer:
- Your claim has been denied. If it’s obvious, the policyholder is responsible for the accident, but the insurance company decides to deny your claim, we advise you to talk to a personal injury lawyer that will look into your case more carefully.
- Multiple parties are involved. There are cases when multiple parties are involved, which means it could be difficult to determine which one of them is at fault.
- You’re not sure if you’ve been offered a fair settlement. Insurance companies will try to get rid of you and minimize the payout. If you’re not sure you’ve been offered a fair settlement, it’s best to consult with a personal injury lawyer.
Hopefully, after reading this blog, you’ve got a better idea of what personal injury lawyers do. We advise you to schedule a consultation with the lawyer and then make the decision.