Feb 20, 2024

The Essential Guide to a Successful Personal Injury Lawsuit

Lawyers in meeting

Sustaining an Injury that Resulted from the Conduct of Another is Frustrating and Potentially Life Altering.

Many people can’t afford to pay for medical bills and repairs on top of normal expenses, especially if an injury affects a person’s ability to work.

This is when the insurance you’ve been paying for all these years is supposed to finally become useful.

However, if you file your claim with the insurance company by yourself, you are in for a complex and exasperating process. Your claim will vary depending on the state you live in, and the type of accident you were in. If you manage to file the claim correctly, you will then have to spend time collecting evidence to support it.

After that, you will speak with a pushy insurance agent who will try and take advantage of your emotional, physical, and financial state to get you to accept an inadequate settlement.

After dealing with the insurance company yourself, you might wonder if you should have hired a lawyer in the first place. However, you may have questions about hiring an attorney, like:

  • When do I need an attorney?
  • How will an attorney help me?
  • How much does an attorney cost?
  • Is it worth hiring an attorney?
  • If I hire an attorney do I have to do anything?
  • Do I need to bring anything to my consultation?

In this Post We will Aim to Answer Your Questions about Hiring an Attorney after a Personal Injury Incident.

You will also find out the situations in which you would need an attorney the most, as well as what your attorney will need from you in order to make the best effort to recover the compensation you deserve.

Situations That May Require A Personal Injury Attorney

When the Circumstances Are Complex.

Not every insurance claim that you make will be best served by hiring an attorney. However, if you decide not to hire an attorney, you may still get compensation you are entitled to, but you will have to put in your own time and effort to get it. Even if you do obtain compensation, it might not be as much as you could have secured with the help of an advocate.

Filing an insurance claim on your own involves taking time out of your day to pore over complex laws and gather evidence to prove you deserve every cent of your claim.

After various kinds of accidents, you may need time to recover from your injuries or just find a new way to get to work.

Therefore, you may not have the requisite amount of time needed to file an insurance claim, and deal with all that process entails.

Making even one mistake during this process could give the insurance company grounds to dismiss your claim entirely based on a technicality.

When You're Seriously Injured.

Another situation where you may want to hire an attorney is when you are in an accident and sustain a serious injury. When you sustain a serious injury you are generally entitled to more compensation than if you suffered a minor injury, but the insurance company will want to pay you as little as possible.

Hiring an attorney might be the difference between being properly compensated for your claim and drowning in debt from medical or repair bills. In the event you sustain a serious injury, there are a few factors that will determine the compensation you receive.

The insurance company will consider factors, such as where you sustained the injuries and the length of your hospital stay, but if your injury is severe enough, you may be entitled to more than just compensation for medical expenses. Depending on the severity of your injury, you could be eligible to receive compensation for your lost wages, decreased earning potential, and pain and suffering.

However, not everyone knows that they are entitled to all of these damages or how to calculate them. Medical bills or lost wages are calculated simply by adding them up, while damages for pain and suffering have no clearly defined way to be calculated.

A lawyer with previous experience calculating damages for pain and suffering will know the right amount to ask for so you get maximum compensation for your claim.

When There's a Dispute Over Liability

When you are injured and liability is disputed, you may want to hire an attorney. This is common in car accident cases that happen in states with at-fault or “tort” laws.

However, other cases, like slip-and-falls and dog bites, also hinge on proving liability. In those cases, the property or dog owner must be shown to be at fault in order to be held liable for your injuries.

When liability is disputed, the other party’s insurance company will not only refuse to compensate you for your damages but may even try and prove you were the one at fault.

Hiring an experienced attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve, and prevent you from getting blamed for something you didn’t do.

When There's Medical Malpractice

Cases involving severe injury or disputed liability are not the only situations you don’t want to delay reaching out to an attorney. Medical malpractice cases are some of the most difficult personal injury cases to handle, because of the intersection of law and medicine, and will likely require an attorney with experience handling medical malpractice cases.

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional provides treatment below the accepted standard of care in the medical community, putting the patient at risk of injury and death. In order to prove medical malpractice, your attorney must be able to decipher medical documents and prove that your healthcare provider failed to act where others with similar training would have.

Still, even when the practice area doesn’t seem particularly complex, when liability is clear, and no severe injuries occurred, it may still be in your best interest to hire an attorney.

Although insurance companies may try and take advantage of you, they will know not to play games with an experienced attorney.

When Is It "Worth It" to Hire an Attorney?

Prior to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer, Each Person Involved in an Accident Must Ask Themselves, "Is it Worth it?"

After you hire an attorney to handle your claim, you will have to pay the attorney fee and any expenses your lawyer incurs while obtaining medical records, police reports, or other documents relevant to your claim. Therefore, for small claims where you weren’t injured, hiring an attorney might not be necessary.

However, when you are involved in an accident that requires an extended hospital stay, frequent visits to the doctor, missing work, or involved extensive property damage, you may be entitled to a far larger paycheck.

Yet, the more compensation you may be entitled to, the more reluctant the insurance company will be to pay you. Under these circumstances, in order to maximize your compensation, it may be in your interest to hire an attorney who only gets paid when you do.

You Don't Pay Unless Your Attorney Wins

Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they win your case. Typically, a personal injury lawyer will receive a reasonable percentage of your settlement or jury verdict.

Despite how contingency fees are supposed to unite your interests with your attorney’s interests, this is not always the case. Some firms or attorneys may only work to get you a settlement offer, limiting your ability to get maximum compensation for your claim. In order to avoid this, ask your prospective attorney about how many cases they have taken to trial and how they have fared in those cases. This will let you know if you are hiring an attorney who is just looking to settle, or an attorney who is willing fight for you using all the options at their disposal to get you maximum compensation.

Morgan & Morgan is the type of law firm that will alway try to get you maximum compensation and our staff of experienced trial attorneys proves it. We could hire deal makers who quickly settle with insurance companies at the first sign of a decent offer, but instead, we hire experienced trial attorneys who will know how to prepare for trial if you don’t get the settlement offer that you deserve.

Although it is important to be sure that your attorney has your best interests in mind, no attorney will be able to get you a good settlement offer unless you do your part first. In the wake of an accident there are certain steps we recommend everyone take to ensure their insurance claim is as successful as possible.

Post-Accident Checklist

Things To Help You Prepare for Your Lawsuit

That period after you’re injured in an accident can be whirlwind of expectations, emotions and, of course, paperwork and phone calls. However, this point in time is also one of the most important if you later decide to file a lawsuit. Completing the following steps will ensure that you can have the best case possible, should you decide to pursue legal action.

In Short:

Document Everything at the Scene of the Accident: If you were in a car accident, take pictures of your vehicle. If you were in a slip-and-fall accident, take pictures of the spill that caused your fall and of any signs in the area that may have warned of the spill. In any event, take down the date and location of where the accident occurred, and the names and contact information of any witnesses. If there is a dispute later about your accident fort claims, you’ll be happy you meticulously documented the scene of the accident.

Go to the Doctor and Follow Their Instructions: Very often injuries that occur during an accident don’t manifest themselves until hours, days, and sometimes weeks later. However, if you don’t have a detailed medical evaluation it could be difficult to prove your injuries. On top of getting evaluated, we recommend strictly following the doctor’s orders after the evaluation.

Missing a follow-up appointment or a physical therapy session could be used against you later to show that you’re not as injured as you say you are.

Contact Your Insurance Company: Although not every personal injury case involves making a claim with an insurance company, many do. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident or a slip-and-fall incident, you don’t want to wait too long to contact the insurance company and file a claim.

You can hire a lawyer at any point during the claim process, but there is always a statute of limitations for how long you have to file a claim. Each state is different, so be sure to check the statute of limitations for filing a claim in your state.

Keep Track of All Evidence of Loss: If you sustain injuries or property damage during an accident, you will be on the hook for repair and medical bills you didn’t plan for. However, if the accident wasn’t your fault you shouldn’t be responsible for expenses related to it. That means that if you don’t keep track of all those expenses, you may not get compensated for them. Make sure to keep all your receipts to ensure you don’t get stuck paying for something you shouldn’t have to.

Keep a Journal of Pain and Suffering: In the most severe accidents, additional damages may be awarded for pain and suffering in addition to tangible losses like medical bills and lost wages.

However, there is no definitive way to calculate this sort of damage, so keeping a journal of how your injuries affect your daily activities and relationships may help quantify the extent of your pain and suffering.

Don‘t Lie: It’s important to remember that filing a claim with an insurance company is not meant to be profitable. Instead, it is meant to provide you with compensation for losses you incurred because of an unexpected accident.

Insurance companies have experience dealing with scammers and may even hire a private investigator to follow you and make sure you’re as injured as you claim to be. If you get caught lying, you could put the compensation you’re legitimately entitled to at risk and end up with nothing.

What Should I Bring to My Consultation?

Although Hiring an Attorney to Handle Your Claim Seems Like the Ultimate Recipe for Success, Your Attorney will Have a Difficult Time Fighting on Your Behalf Without the Proper Evidence.

When you meet your attorney at your consultation, there are certain documents and information you should bring that will support your claim.

Providing this information during your consultation will save you money on billable hours and expedite the claim process. The following is a checklist of the most important documents and information to have on hand for your consultation.

In Short:

Document Everything at the Scene of the Accident: If you were in a car accident, take pictures of your vehicle. If you were in a slip-and-fall accident, take pictures of the spill that caused your fall and of any signs in the area that may have warned of the spill.

In any event, take down the date and location of where the accident occurred, and the names and contact information of any witnesses. If there is a dispute later about your accident claims, you’ll be happy you meticulously documented the scene of the accident.

Accident/Police Report: Although a police report is for the police, you are entitled to a copy for your own records. Bring this copy when you first consult your attorney, as this is the official report of what transpired.

Medical Records: Medical bills can add up quickly if you wereinjured in an accident, and it is important your lawyer knows exactly what is wrong with you and how much it will cost to fix it. This will help your attorney support your claim for compensation.

Statements from Third Party witnesses or Their Contact Information: Although there should be the official accident report, eye witness testimony can be very important if the official report doesn’t corroborate your story. If you are able, get the contact information from any witnesses of the accident so your lawyer can interview them later.

Information of Other Party Involved in Accident: If your accident involves another person, it is essential that you exchange information. If you don’t know who the person was or who their insurance company is, it will be difficult to hold someone accountable if you sustained an injury or property damage as a result of the accident.

Information About Anyone You Spoke With at the Insurance Company:  If you spoke with someone at the insurance company before you contacted an attorney, make sure to get their contact information. Your attorney will want to speak with that person or people to find out exactly what you told them and how that may affect your claim.

Pay Stubs and Dates You’ve Missed Work: If you are injured in an accident and will miss work as a result, you are entitled to compensation for lost wages. Bringing pay stubs and keeping track of the days you have  missed will give your attorney the ability to more precisely calculate how much in lost wages you’re entitled to.

A Copy of Your Insurance Policy: Not all insurance policies are created equal, and a copy of your policy will provide a guideline for your attorney about how to proceed with your claim. If you don’t know what your insurance policy covers, be sure to bring a copy to your consultation.