An unexpected injury can have a long-term impact on your health, finances, and quality of life. Fortunately, you have options for pursuing compensation. A personal injury lawyer can review the circumstances of your accident and identify whether you have grounds for a claim.
Often, it’s easy to identify the person responsible for hurting you, like another driver in a car crash. However, you can also receive compensation from a manufacturer for selling a defective product or from a property owner after a slip and fall accident.
Before you assume that your injuries are your problem, it’s best to consult a personal injury lawyer to learn what the law says about who’s responsible for your injuries and how to recover the compensation you deserve.
1. Attend Free Consultations
If you want to recover the compensation you deserve after a personal injury, you need a personal injury lawyer to handle your case from the start. Attempting to handle your own insurance claim is a mistake, especially if you have high medical bills or serious injuries.
Your best chance of maximizing your personal injury compensation is to pick a lawyer with experience handling your type of case. For example, if you suffered a spinal injury after a car accident, speak with personal injury lawyers with experience handling personal injury claims involving car accidents and spinal cord injuries.
Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. Do your research and make a list of a few lawyers who seem best suited to take on your case. Schedule free consultations with each and hear what they have to say about your options and likely case value.
It’s a good idea to collect and bring along as much documentation as possible to help a lawyer get a better understanding of the situation. They’ll want to learn about elements like how the accident happened, the extent of your injuries, and how much your finances have been impacted by the accident.
2. Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer
Once you’ve met with a few lawyers, it’s time to pick one to handle your case. You should consider the overall experience you had at each consultation. Before you make a selection, you should also consider factors like:
- How they estimated your case would unfold
- The estimated case value you were given
- Their client reviews and case results
- How much experience they have handling cases like yours
- How long they’ve practiced law
- How long they’ve practiced in your location
- How they communicated during your consultation
You want to know that the personal injury lawyer you’re choosing has the experience and skills to recover the compensation you deserve. You should also consider how much experience they have both as a lawyer and in your geographic location.
Finally, personal injury claims can take up to a few months to resolve, or they may take much longer if a lawsuit becomes necessary. Your lawyer’s personality, demeanor, and levels of communication and compassion are important elements to consider. You don’t want to end up with a lawyer who is difficult to contact or doesn’t take your concerns seriously.
It’s important to allow a lawyer to get started on your case promptly, but choosing a lawyer is worth your care, research, and consideration. This is the most important choice you make in the process of seeking personal injury compensation. Once you place your case into your lawyer’s hands, they do most of the work for you.
3. Conduct an Accident Investigation
Once you’ve chosen a lawyer to handle your case, they get to work investigating the accident. At this point, they have two primary goals: prove negligence and establish a compensation goal.
Proving negligence means building a case to show how another person’s negligent actions caused your injuries. Once you prove negligence, the other person’s insurance company can be held responsible for paying for your injuries.
Additionally, your lawyer will be collecting documentation to prove the extent of your losses. You can seek personal injury compensation for things like:
- Medical bills
- Medical devices
- Assistive care
- Therapist costs
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages and benefits
- Anticipated future wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
Your lawyer will explore all aspects of how your injuries have impacted you and your family. They’ll collect proof of your losses and use them as evidence of the compensation value you should be paid.
4. Send a Demand Package
When your personal injury lawyer’s investigation is complete, they’ll collect all their findings together into a demand package. This includes all the documentation they’ve collected, like accident reports, medical bills, and proof of lost wages. Your lawyer will send the demand package to the insurance company of the person who caused your injuries.
The demand package contains all the relevant details and evidence about your case. Once the insurance company receives it, they’ll review the documentation and decide how to respond.
Insurance companies are infamous for working to keep their payout amounts small. The more detailed your demand package, the harder it will be for them to try to minimize the compensation you deserve.
5. Negotiate a Settlement
Once the insurance company has had time to review your demand package, your lawyer will meet with them to negotiate a settlement. Negotiations often go through multiple rounds, especially when the compensation being requested is significant.
Eventually, negotiation ends one of two ways: with a settlement or with a lawsuit. The majority of personal injury cases end at the settlement stage. If your case falls in the majority, your lawyer will negotiate a settlement you agree to, and your case will be over.
6. Take the Case to Court
If the insurance company tries to deny your claim or refuses to agree to a reasonable settlement, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and take the case to court for a verdict.
One downside of going to court is that it will likely take much longer for your case to resolve. However, when the circumstances of the accident give the insurance company grounds to fight back, going to court may be the only way to recover the compensation you’re eligible for based on your injuries.
Fortunately, lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming for insurance companies. When an insurer sees you’re willing to take the case to court, they’ll often agree to a settlement because they don’t want to take on the expense of a lawsuit.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Are you dealing with the aftermath of an injury? The personal injury lawyers at Schiff & Associates can review your case for free and advise you on your options for recovering compensation. You don’t pay unless we win your case. Contact Schiff & Associates to schedule your free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer today.