This article provides answers to many questions our viewers ask on this site like What does a personal injury lawyer do for you? and when do you need a car accident attorney? Apart from injuries due to car accidents, what other personal injuries require you to hire a personal injury lawyer? Do you need a personal injury attorney for whatever gravity of injuries suffered? How much will you pay as lawyer fees?
A personal injury lawyer gathers information and evidence regarding the injuries suffered, offers you legal advice, and assists in negotiating your compensation for the losses you suffered.
Want to know what a car accident attorney does?
A car accident attorney helps in gathering necessary information including evidence for the accident, offers you pieces legal of advice, and assists in getting you the fair compensation you deserve from the insurance company or the at-fault driver.
There is more to it than what the above paragraphs explain. You should definitely read this article to find out everything your lawyer does as far as personal injuries are concerned. Go through the contents of the article below and look at sections you may be interested in. Alright, here we go!
What are personal injuries?
Personal injuries can be defined as all varieties of injuries that affect the human body, reputation, and emotions. Property damages are not part of personal injuries.
In case you do not know examples, here are the most common personal injury cases:
- automobile or car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- slip and fall accidents
- Product liabilities eg ineffective drug
- Workplace injuries and many others.
According to WHO, more than 1.3 million people die yearly due to car accident injuries. From the same report, more than 20 and 55 million people suffer non-fatal accidents with many of them ending with many disabilities.
According to CDC, more than 1.35 million people are killed on roadways yearly. Also, more than 3,720 people die every day due to automobile accidents involving cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, and many others.
According to CDC, personal injury victims due to car accidents are not only drivers but also motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians walking up and down the streets.
What is a personal injury lawyer?
According to Wikipedia, a personal injury lawyer is the type of lawyer that offers legal services to any person who claims to have been injured physically, emotionally, and psychologically due to the negligence of another party.
If you were involved in a car crash and suffered injuries at the expense of another at-fault party, you may be entitled to damages and other financial losses. Taking to a personal injury lawyer helps you explore all possible damages you could be entitled to.
How to become a personal injury lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers deal with people’s physical and psychological injuries. Your work involves protecting your client’s rights and negotiating on their behalf for a fair settlement if they are injured due to another party’s negligence. You will find yourself locked up in negotiations with car insurance companies, employee organizations, and many others of the like.
You will need at least 7 years or more to become a lawyer and extra years to gain a good experience in personal injury law practices. An aspiring lawyer needs 4 years bachelor’s degree in any field of their choice. Having certain bachelor’s degrees like social sciences, English, political science, and others increases uptake.
After your 4 years bachelor’s degree, you will sit for the LSAT and get admitted for your 3 years of Juris Doctor. Then after, to practice as a lawyer you are required to take and pass the lawyer’s bar exam which paves way for the license to practice as a lawyer.
If practicing as a personal injury is your goal, you should take multiple placements in firms that specialize in that field or get a signed personal injury lawyer to gain valuable experience. Some states require you to take some certifications and continuous education to keep abreast with legal changes in the area of your Jurisdiction.
What can a personal injury lawyer do for you?
A person who sustains injuries due to the negligence of another is entitled to fair compensation. Common damages you may be compensated for if you are unlawfully injured include the following:
- Medical treatment bills
- Lost wages
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional damage
- Other injury-related damages like loss of consortium
You will agree with me, that both of us who are not lawyers do not know how to table claims for some of the mentioned damages. In any personal injury case, you will need to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care he/she had towards you. You have to prove that, breaching the duty of care negligently caused the accident in which you got injured.
If you are not a lawyer, you may not be knowing the duties of care the defendant breached so you do not know how to prove that the defendant exhibited a high degree of negligence which caused an event that lead to your injuries.
You will not get any settlement or compensation unless you prove the other party’s negligent acts led to your injuries. You also need proof to show that you suffered the injuries otherwise you get nothing. For instance, how do prove to the jury that you suffered emotional damages? Only lawyers are experts in proving such damages.
A personal injury lawyer will gather all the necessary information and evidence, offer you legal advice, and fight for fair compensation for your damages. If you are currently injured and receiving treatment, having a personal injury attorney on your side allows you to concentrate on recuperating while your legal issues are being handled.
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Do personal injury lawyers go to court?
Not all lawyers’ work requires going to courts of law. There are law professions whose work entirely necessitates courts while others do not. Types of lawyers whose scope of work does not always require going to court include the following:
- Labor lawyers
- Estate planning lawyers
- Personal injury lawyers and
- Bankruptcy lawyers.
Personal injury lawyers’ work largely deals with negotiations for their client’s fair settlements. These lawyers largely engage with insurance companies, claim adjusters, and other at-fault parties. In the United States, more than 96% of personal injury cases are settled out of court.
If the at-fault party or insurance company denies the claim or offers what is considered an unfair settlement, the car accident attorney or personal injury usually files a lawsuit in a bid to force the company to pay a reasonable settlement.
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
There is no distinction between a personal injury attorney and a personal injury lawyer. The only difference is that as far as car accidents are concerned, a personal injury lawyer will handle claim cases related to injuries caused by an auto accident.
Basically, personal injury lawyers handle unlawful injuries irrespective of the cause. Since car accidents are by far the most cause of bodily injuries, most of the cases handled by these lawyers will be due to automobile accidents.
A car accident attorney will investigate the accident, and gather information and all necessary evidence to pin the at-fault party in a bid to squeeze out maximum damage settlements. Because insurance claim adjusters are well-trained and more experienced than the claimants, you won’t get a fair settlement unless you hire a legal officer.
Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident?
Well, this depends on many factors. I have heard of many cases where the claimant received less settlement because they hired an attorney. Despite those few cases, many cases where a lawyer is involved fetch reasonably higher settlements.
You should consider hiring an attorney for a car accident if:
- You sustained minor injuries therefore you do not expect a huge settlement.
- Do not hire personal injuries in minor car accidents but seek their legal advice.
- If you have good past experience dealing with the insurance company or their claims adjuster, consider not getting a lawyer.
- If you think your initial claim settlement from the insurance company is a fair one, there is no need to hire an attorney.
- Do not hire an attorney if you have no issues negotiating with the at-fault party.
- You have no injuries or any property damages.
According to my insurance broker, you will receive a settlement that is 3-5 times higher if you hired a car accident attorney. These lawyers know very well how to gather the necessary evidence and how best to table lawsuits. Since most insurance companies do not like the idea of going to trials, your insurance company will most likely cooperate once you hire an attorney.
Lawyer accident claim
There is no way you could predict how much you will get as a settlement after a car accident. The average settlement for a car accident where you were not injured is around $16,000. If you sustained bodily injuries your car accident settlement will fetch an average of $30,000. Lawyer accident claims usually fetch figures that are higher than the average settlements.
Do I need an attorney for a minor car accident?
In my opinion, the answer is a NO! You do not need an attorney for a minor car accident. This is because most likely your settlement will be less than the average expected settlement.
For instance, I have a friend who got an initial offer of $10,000 from her insurance company. Her attorney asked her to refuse the offer and file a lawsuit. Surprisingly, the jury awarded her only $8,000 as a settlement. Since the attorney takes 30% of the settlement, the lady ended up with less than $5,000! So, the car accident victim lost more than $5,000 just because she decided to hire a lawyer.
So not all personal injury cases require an attorney. If you think your settlement is not going to be a higher figure, hiring a lawyer is not a good decision. Some people are good at doing independent study or legal research. If you are the type of guy, do research online, read up on things, and represent yourself other than going for expensive lawyers.
When to hire a car accident lawyer?
Yes, you can do it without the help of an attorney! But, in which situations is hiring a personal injury worth it? Here are the top reasons why you should hire a car accident lawyer.
1. Severe body injuries and property damage.
Such scenarios usually fetch huge payout as settlement. This is because you will likely need huge sums of money to pay your medical treatment bills at worst surgery fees. If your damages are worth millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars, consider hiring an attorney.
2. It’s your first time with a personal injury case. They say that “Experience is the best teacher”! If it’s your first time navigating a personal injury case, you will soon be overwhelmed by the details. Save yourself the inconvenience and get yourself an attorney.
3. You know nothing about state laws. You and I know nothing about state laws and therefore we do not know if our rights are being violated or not. You actually do not know the damages you are entitled to and later alone how to negotiate for them. A car accident lawyer has the expertise and will help you to file a claim, write a demand letter and do all the necessary negotiations.
4. Your case goes to trial. Representing yourself during trials put you at risk of walking home with nothing and at worst losing your claim case. The jurors won’t award you what you did not demand. Do you really think you can stand in front of the judge and prove the negligence exhibited by the defendant? Do know how to stage an argument stating all the traffic regulations the defendant violated? Well, I guess you definitely need a lawyer at this stage of your case.
How Long Do You Have to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Your state’s statute of limitations declares the time you have until you file a claim after a car accident. If the statute of limitations states 3 years, then you must file your claim or lawsuit before the stated time expires.
Most states want car accident lawsuits not to be filed beyond 2-3 years after the day of the accident. Should the deadline expire the claimant loses his/her right to sue. What you should know is that your insurance company could also have its own deadlines for the submission of your claim.
You should read through your insurance policy once again and also review the laws of the land so that you are not caught off-guard. Any good personal injury lawyers know all these intricacies
You should also make an early decision to hire a car accident attorney or not. Deciding later has its own complications. There is some information that if revealed earlier could affect your claim. By earlier hiring a lawyer, you will avoid giving out information that later will be used against you and affect your settlement. Be smart and decide to hire an attorney very early.
What kind of cases do personal injury lawyers handle?
Lawyers differ in the kinds of cases they handle. The 6 most common different types of lawyers include the following:
- Criminal defense lawyers
- Personal injury lawyers
- Employment lawyers
- Social security disability lawyers
- Domestic relations lawyer
- Bankruptcy lawyers.
After some bit of experience, lawyers usually chose one specialty, the reason some are referred to as personal injury lawyers. Specifically, these lawyers handle unlawful bodily injuries irrespective of any causes.
Personal injury lawyer free consultation
The majority of personal injury attorneys offer free consultation and case evaluation services. There is no fee you will be charged for taking a business prospect to the attorney, though you should first call and find out.
If you just got injured unlawfully, pick up your phone and call any law firm offices before attempting stuff that may backfire later. You do not want to complicate your case and think of hiring an attorney later.
How to hire personal injury lawyer?
If you decided to hire a lawyer, follow the best guidelines below:
1. Determine the type of lawyer you need. Chose a lawyer based on the legal services you are seeking. Go for a personal injury attorney if somebody unlawfully injured you.
2. Hire only licensed lawyers. Lawyers are usually licensed by the state in which they are operating from. Search for instance New York state’s bar association. Usually, lawyers with the biggest advertisement budgets are not always the best.
3. Choose only lawyers with the best behavior records. You do not want to hire a lawyer who has been several occasions disciplined by his state’s bar association.
4. Firms that are large in size with lots of years of experience are always better. They probably have handled many personal injury cases. But, do not underlook small firms that may be having the best customer care services.
5. Past client reviews. Ask friends, visit online forums and see what past customers have to say about a personal injury attorney. You want to avoid attorneys with very bad records of customer care.
6. Call their offices and ask for a consultation. Once you have decided which personal injury to hire, call and schedule a consultation which is always free of charge.
What makes a good personal injury lawyer?
Just like in any other professional field, there are best and worst personal injury lawyers. They are small traits that are not taught in law school but are born in person. Some lawyers highly behave and the customer is the king.
The following 5 qualities make a good personal injury lawyer:
- Is your lawyer always available if you need him/her?
- Choose only lawyers with the highest degree of professionalism
- Choose only approachable lawyers.
- Your lawyer should be frank with you.
- Make sure your personal injury lawyer has good records of success.
What percentage do most personal injury lawyers take?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency-based fee system. They only get paid if they won you a settlement otherwise they get no payment. This is a win-win situation because the hired attorney will do what it takes to win the case.
These lawyers only take 30-40% of your won settlement. For instance, if the jury awards you $100,000 in the settlement, your attorney walks away with $30,000 – $40,000 depending on the time spent on your case.
In conclusion, a personal injury lawyer, or more specifically a car accident attorney is a legal officer who gathers information and evidence pertaining to your injuries and negotiates on your behalf for the damages you are entitled to.