If you’ve been injured due to the fault of others, you may have a person injury lawsuit on your hands. These suits can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your property damages, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
Many people hire personal injury lawyers to help them navigate the legal process, but is it really worth it? You may be wondering what exactly they do over and above what you can do on your own. We polled a panel of legal professionals on the topic. Here’s what they had to say about the merits of hiring a personal injury attorney.
Boris Lavent, a graduate of the University of Chicago School of Law, is the founding partner of Lavent Law in Miami, FL. Since opening the firm in 2014, he has been committed to helping accident victims assert their rights and obtain the money they deserve.
PROTECT LEGAL RIGHTS
Personal injury lawyers are first, and foremost, responsible for protecting and upholding a client’s legal rights. Accident victims often have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit to recover compensation from the person (or people) who hurt them. However, asserting this right can be a challenge. A personal injury lawyer helps to preserve this right by making sure claims are filed on time and that defendants and insurance companies are held accountable. Without an attorney, others involved in an accident (and their insurers) are less likely to fork over a deserved payout. They’ll try to strip you of your right to get money for your injuries.
COPING WITH AN ACCIDENT
Personal injury lawyers know how devastating an unexpected accident can be. We understand the toll an injury can take on your physical and emotional health. We’ve seen it before. We’ve helped other clients navigate these rough waters. When appropriate, we can offer advice and connect you with specialists and experts who can be of assistance.
Personal injury lawsuits aren’t just about the money you need right now. They’re also about the money you’ll need in the future. Attorneys recognize this and work with experts to make sure that clients’ future needs are addressed.
- LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD. Accident victims are much more likely to get the money they deserve when they hire an attorney to handle their injury case. Why? Most injury claims involve insurance companies. Insurers will try to take advantage of the fact that an accident victim isn’t intimately familiar with their rights and the claims process. A personal injury lawyer changes things and forces insurance companies to consider a claim seriously.
- GIVE TIME TO RECOVER. An accident can be overwhelming. If you’re entitled to money, you may not have the time nor the energy to fight for it. Personal injury lawyers give you the time and freedom to focus on getting better. Your lawyer will handle the complex legal claim and work toward getting you the money you deserve. Having time to recover without any added stress or distractions can be invaluable.
- MAKE A COMPLICATED SITUATION SIMPLE. Personal injury cases can be incredibly complicated. You need to be aware of all of the laws, procedures, and regulations that affect your particular situation. Personal injury lawyers take care of the complicated aspects of your case and make sure that you’re fully aware of your rights.
Sherwin Arzani is a founding member and partner of Citywide Law Group, a personal injury law firm in Los Angeles, CA. For the past 15 years, he has been committed to helping accident victims assert their rights and pursue compensation for their injuries.
Evan Oshan is a high profile personal injury attorney. He graduated from UCLA cum laude and the University of California Hastings College of The Law. He is a member of the Washington and New York Bars as well as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Tax Court, and Western District Court in Washington. He has an active personal injury practice in both Washington and New York.
A personal injury attorney must be able to put themselves in the shoes of their client. This is done by getting to know the client and understanding their injuries. To be a good advocate, one must be able to convey the injuries which the client has suffered.
Every case has two parts—one is liability (or the fault). After liability is determined then the damages are assessed. Damages are then determined by loss of property or injury to the person. The injury to the person can be psychological and physical. Psychological injuries could be a person who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which is basically the fear from the accident or injury causing [people] to relive the traumatic injury event over and over. A mild traumatic brain injury is a common injury which is caused by a head injury. Those injuries could be manifested in one’s lack of ability to reason at a level which they were at prior to the accident. Physical injuries can take many forms from broken bones to spinal disc bulges to accidents requiring surgeries.
In bringing a personal injury claim one can bring up current, present, and future loss of earnings which were sustained as a result of the underlying claim that results from an injury. One can also bring a claim for loss of current and future enjoyment of life which is the result of the underlying injury. Often times, a life care planner is utilized, and rehabilitation professionals determine what the future has in store for the injured party. Medical experts are used to assist in determining the severity of injuries and the future implications of those injuries.
At trial during settlement negotiations, the personal injury attorney would use lay witnesses, which are usually friends or family that can attest to the harm suffered by the injured party.
It is essential that a good personal injury attorney orchestrate all of the above moving parts and advocate for their client’s case as though it is their own. This is the essence of being a good personal injury attorney.
While some people think that they can handle their personal injury claims on their own (especially after a car accident), a personal injury attorney adds immense value to a personal injury case. First, the personal injury attorney takes over communication with the insurance companies. This is important because insurance companies, whether it’s your own insurance company or that of the other driver who hit you, are looking for any reason to deny your claim or not provide coverage to you. It’s how they make money. Typically this is done when the insurance company calls you immediately following the accident to take your “recorded statement.” Hiring a good personal injury attorney right away will get the law firm involved (hopefully before the statement has been taken) and will force the company to communicate with the firm/attorney only, protecting you from yourself or any statement you may have otherwise given.
Second, a personal injury attorney knows what type of treatment plans insurance companies will compensate you for based on your specific types of injuries and will work with the doctors’ offices to make sure they are providing coverage that will lead to compensation. For example, if you were involved in a minor accident and waited 2 weeks to seek treatment for your injuries, the insurance company would hold that against you and use it as a reason to devalue your claim or deny it altogether; or, if you were involved in a minor accident and sought too much treatment for what were only minor injuries, the insurance company would also use that as a way to argue that you are exaggerating your injuries and would try to avoid paying for all of the bills you accumulated during the treatment process. However, if you hire an attorney early on in the process, he can assess the damage and severity of your injuries, guide you with legal advice through the treatment process and protect you from accumulating medical bills which may ultimately come out of your own pocket.
Third, the attorney would be the best person to negotiate settlement of your claim once treatment is finished. During this process, the attorney submits all of your medical records and bills to the insurance company, along with what is typically referred to as a “demand letter.” The demand letter contains the attorney’s view of your case (strengths and weaknesses) and presents the case to the insurance company to convince them that it would be more beneficial to them to settle the case “prelitigation,” or without the involvement of the Court. Then the attorney will begin to negotiate the claim with the insurance company’s claims adjuster in hopes of obtaining a settlement that is fair and compensates for the medical bills, but also for your pain and suffering. If a settlement is obtained, the attorney will also negotiate your medical bills to ensure that you get the most money in your pocket!
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the attorney is in the best position to recommend to you whether a lawsuit is necessary if the insurance company is not making fair offers to settle your claims. Lawsuits are costly and risky for all parties involved so it’s best to avoid them when possible, but having a good attorney on your side is important to guide you through this very complicated process when it becomes necessary.
Of course, the more serious the injury the more crucial it is that you hire an attorney as only the attorney would know the true value of your claims and would help you get the compensation you deserve.
Steven Soliman is a passionate and dedicated attorney with litigation experience in complex personal injury and employment cases. Born and raised in Southern California, Steven is committed to serving the people of this great State.
This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.