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Accidents are sometimes unavoidable. If you are seriously injured as a result of negligence or wrong-doing by an individual, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, economic loss as well as your pain and suffering. Experienced personal injury lawyers are skilled at assessing injury claims, negotiating with insurance companies, filing complicated legal documents, and trial litigation.
A personal injury attorney can determine whether you are eligible to file for compensation. If you are eligible, hiring an attorney who is certified in personal injury law is paramount to a successful outcome regarding your personal injury claim.
Advantages of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
One of the many advantages to hiring a personal injury lawyer is having a valued team member between all parties that are able to reach an amicable settlement. Other advantages to hiring a personal injury lawyer include:
- 1. Navigate the legal process of filing claims
- 2. Negotiate with insurance companies and file the paperwork required on your behalf
- 3. Knowledge of the law
- 4. Understanding protocol of accident-related injuries
- 5. Experienced court litigation
Dealing with insurance companies relating to a personal injury can be a challenge and often requires a knowledgeable attorney who can manage the claims process. While most insurance companies will offer quick settlements, these settlements may not be sufficient compensation to cover all of the damages and pain and suffering incurred.
In addition to having hands-on legal experience in negotiating with insurance companies, your attorney’s knowledge of the law specifically relating to personal injury is invaluable. It is critical to know what laws are applicable when accidents occur, and how to work within those laws on your behalf, giving you a great advantage in your insurance claim.
Third, hiring a lawyer with a great understanding of accident-related injuries can make suggestions as to what you should do regarding those injuries. Injured clients should be counseled and thoroughly assessed to see whether the settlement offered by the insurance company is thorough and sufficient.
Finally, hiring a lawyer with court experience simply seals the deal. There are multiple options when dealing with accidents and a settlement is not the only answer in auto-related injuries. Sometimes, when the insurance company is not willing to settle, a client has no other option but to go to court. In cases like this, a competent personal injury lawyer can also present your case to the judge or jury involved.
Tips for choosing Personal Injury Lawyer
When choosing a personal injury lawyer, look for a lawyer who is competent, and has a good record in representing clients and settling personal injury cases. Helpful tips on choosing the right lawyer for you are:
- Search for a lawyer that has a good record of personal injury settlements. Word of mouth is the best advertisement and a great place to start your search. Start by asking close relatives or friends, who have been in a personal injury accident recently. Inquire who represented them and whether they were satisfied with the representation the lawyer provided.
- Choose a lawyer that is board certified in the field you retain him for. Only two percent of Texas lawyers are board certified in personal injury trial law by the Board of Legal Specialization. Make sure the attorney you choose for a personal injury case is board certified in personal injury. To become board certified in personal injury, a lawyer must practice primarily in that field, as recommended by peers and judges, pass a test and have a certain number of years and trial experience.
- Narrow down your prospective lawyers and set a meeting for consultation. After getting feedback from friends or family, compile a list of names of your top candidates that you would like to represent you. Set up a consultation with each attorney to discuss your case and the potential for a successful outcome. These consultations are generally free for the majority of personal injury legal services.
- Discussing costs and attorney’s fees. In the initial meeting, it is a good idea to discuss the attorney’s fee structure as it relates to your case. Make sure you are clear on what actions will take place and what services your quote includes. You may also want to know when payment, if at all, is required, should they begin working your claim.
- Choose the lawyer who will represent you. Finally, after talking to prospective lawyers, there will always be someone who would stand out–someone whom you are comfortable with, you can be honest with, and someone with whom you can be yourself. Once you’ve decided on which attorney to represent your case, you might want to contact them as soon as possible.
Documents to submit to a Personal Injury Lawyer
Providing a detailed account of the incident is crucial in assisting your lawyer in managing your case effectively. Here are some suggested documents you should provide to your lawyer:
- Your vehicle make/model description, plate number, insurance, and your driver’s license information.
- Specific details of the accident like the date, time and location, weather and traffic conditions, as well as information about other vehicles involved, drivers and passengers in the area of the time of the accident, along with names and contact information for possible witnesses. Copies of any previous accident or incident reports filed are also helpful.
- Physician report and medical records related to the accident including but not limited to x-rays and test results related to the injuries from the accident.
- Information about pre-existing injuries and conditions that may have been aggravated by the accident.
- Record of costs for ongoing medications, treatment, therapies and other accident-related expenses incurred because of the accident including the transportation costs.
- Documentation of salary or wages due to the accident.
- Copies of all communication with insurance companies and related parties related to the accident.
The items listed above are not limited. More information may be required depending on your situation. It is advisable to keep a personal diary to note everything you can think of after the accident which includes appointments, expenses, and contacts with the insurance companies.
Personal Injury Lawyer Rates
Great service comes with a price. Thus, the rate of a personal injury lawyer can vary greatly but the cost usually depends on the following:
- The complexity of the case. If your case is new and there are no particular case laws that can be referred, charges would usually be higher than the common charge of personal injury lawyers. You have to remember that the more complicated your case is, the higher the rate will be.
- The time it takes to settle. Settlements range from months to years and if a settlement cannot be reached within a month or two, the fees these lawyers will be collecting will probably be higher than the normal fees.
- Whether the lawyer must pursue litigation. If the client wants the lawyer to pursue the case in court, there would be additional fees and expenses.
- The size of your settlement. Depending on your contract, there are some lawyers that will claim a percentage of your settlement to cover their attorney fees, especially if the other party decided to settle out of court.
Most lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases will not charge a retainer or flat fee but will work on a contingency basis meaning they get paid based on the size of your settlement.
Note that even if there is no settlement, some lawyers will charge you for costs associated with simply filing your case. In order to understand this better, you should consult with your lawyer as to how compensation occurs once the case is over. To learn more, contact the Law Offices of Juan Hernandez directly at 214.900.0000.