Getting injured can be an unpleasant, and sometimes scary, experience. It's especially upsetting if your injuries are the result of another person's intentional or negligent actions. If you believe your injuries are someone else's fault, a lawyer can give you information about your legal options. Most personal injury attorneys provide prospective clients with a free initial consultation. Personal injury lawyers also usually work on a contingency basis, meaning that they only get paid if your case results in a judgment in your favor or a settlement agreement. FindLaw's Using a Personal Injury Lawyer section provides articles and resources to help you determine if you need an attorney for a personal injury claim and how to proceed if you do. You can also find sample documents such as an attorney intake questionnaire and attorney agreements.
How an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
An experienced attorney can be helpful for a variety of reasons. First of all, an experienced personal injury attorney will have experience assessing claims similar to yours. An attorney can help you decide if you should pursue legal action by assessing the strength of your case. It's in the attorney's best interest to give you a true and honest assessment of the strength of your claim because usually personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. So, if you don't win, they don’t get paid.
Dealing with injuries can be very emotional, which could prevent you from seeing the facts clearly. An attorney can provide an objective opinion about your situation. For example, you may want to make a rash decision if you're offered a settlement, but an attorney will be able to stay objective and give you advice on if you should hold out for a better offer.
An attorney will be able to work though the often complicated legal procedures, confusing medical terms, and paperwork that are common to many personal injury cases. In addition, an attorney will often have a team of investigators and support staff to help him or her with preparing your case. With the attorney and his or her staff working on your case, you can focus on getting better and returning back to your normal life.
An attorney will also have experience working with other lawyers and insurance companies. Many times if the opposing side has an attorney, you're at a disadvantage if you don't have one as well. Although an attorney is required to be ethical, that doesn't mean that they can't use legal tactics to put them at an advantage over a non-lawyer. Similarly, insurance companies can be difficult to work with and an attorney wouldn't be confused by their tactics or feel pressured to settle for an unsatisfactory amount.
Finally, laws and legal procedures can be confusing. Personal injury laws vary from state to state, and an experienced personal injury attorney will be familiar with the laws in his or her state. In addition, an attorney has the experience and tools to interpret and apply those laws to your particular case. The lawyer will also know the proper legal procedures to build the best case for you.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone close to you has been injured and you believe that someone else is at fault, you may want to meet with a local personal injury attorney. The attorney injury intake questionnaire and checklist of documents to bring to your meeting available in this section can help you prepare for your meeting.