A personal injury is any injury that was caused by the hand of someone other than the victim. It might be a slip and fall, a car accident, a dog bite, an assault, or any other injury that results from neglectful or hazardous actions.
Personal injuries are a lot more common than you might think. Since 2017, more than 47 million injuries have been reported, and many of them led to a personal injury claim.
You might know someone who’s working with a personal injury attorney to get compensation for a past injury. Has this raised questions for you?
What a Personal Injury Attorney Does
People entertain a lot of misconceptions about personal injuries, so it’s worth the effort to get your facts straight. Here is a basic overview of what a personal injury attorney does.
Represents the Victims
In some cases, a personal injury victim may choose to represent him- or herself, but it’s not advisable. An attorney represents the victim — in other words, the plaintiff — in front of a judge or jury.
The attorney also functions as a liaison between the victim and the other side (the defendant or multiple defendants) as well as the lawyer who represents their interests.
It’s a huge advantage to have a skilled and experienced attorney on your side. He or she will handle the paperwork, speak to others on your behalf, and do so much more to help you win your case than you ever could for yourself.
Many personal injury cases require considerable evidence to prove the defendant person and/or company is at fault and the plaintiff deserves compensation. Usually, with the help of a legal staff and possibly private investigators and other experts, the attorney will gather the necessary evidence to support your claim.
Your lawyer won’t handle absolutely everything for you; you will have to gather and present some evidence as well. But the attorney will keep your case organized and make sure you don’t overlook any details that might be critical for establishing your claim.
Whether you end up having to negotiate a settlement or trying to obtain a higher claim, you’ll be glad you have an attorney to handle the grunt work. Negotiation is an art form, and a skilled personal injury attorney should have enough experience and strategies to get you the best possible deal.
That can be a long, drawn-out process. You’ll find it a relief to hand it over to a professional and let him or her deal with the headaches.
When You Should Call a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve experienced any kind of accident or injury that appears to have been caused by someone else, you could well be entitled to compensation via a personal injury claim. You’ll want to call a personal injury attorney if:
You Can’t Pay Your Bills
Mounting medical bills and invoices for the repair of property damage can run into some serious money. You shouldn’t be responsible for these expenses if the incident wasn’t your fault. When you can’t pay your bills, contact a personal injury attorney to see if you have a solid case.
The Responsible Party Isn’t Stepping Up
In a perfect world, the person who caused the accident would offer to pay immediately following the incident. He or she would cover all your medical expenses, repair the damage, and even throw in a little extra to square things away.
If this should ever happen for you, you needn’t file a personal injury claim. Honestly, though, this doesn’t happen very often.
Even people who are clearly responsible for whatever happened will try to hide from their responsibilities, and leave you to try to make up the difference. If the blameworthy party or parties do not step up and cover the costs, a personal injury attorney will help you track the responsible party down and obtain satisfactory monetary compensation.
You’re Dealing with Long-Term Suffering
Unfortunately, some personal injuries involve much longer-lasting damage. You might suffer a long-term disability or emotional harm as the result of an untoward incident.
This may prevent you from holding down a job, and thus reduce or eliminate your ability to make a living. If such is the case, an attorney can help you attain compensation beyond what would cover your standard medical bills and repairs.
A lawyer who is accomplished with personal injury suits can help you recoup damages for pain and suffering, which will support you if you’re unable to work.
Your Insurance Company Won’t Pay
Too often, a personal injury case must be filed against an insurance company rather than an individual. This is because those companies may try to deny coverage for damages suffered in an accident.
If your insurance company refuses to pay you the full amount to repair your property or pay your medical bills, an attorney will fight for your rights. It can be a difficult process, so you’ll be grateful for an experienced legal representative to take you through it.