How to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
The term “personal injury law” refers to a large body of law. There are many types of personal injury cases. For instance, car accidents, slip and falls construction site accidents and medical malpractice are all considered personal injury cases. And there are many more. With this in mind, the common thread in these cases is that someone has been injured because of the negligence of another person. Therefore, if a negligent person injured you, you need to hire a personal injury attorney.
When Should you Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
The answer is-immediately! As soon as you can!
Let’s say you were stopped at a red light, and another driver rear-ended you. In that type of car accident, the negligence of the other driver seems pretty clear.
Conversely, what if you were in a car accident that was caused by the faulty design of the roadway? How would you prove that?
As another example, what if you had a slip and fall accident in front of an office building because of ice. Who owns the building? Who was responsible for keeping the sidewalk clear of ice?
For simple cases, where the negligence is clear, an experienced personal injury attorney can easily put a claim together and send it to the negligent person’s insurance company.
However, many, many personal injury claims are not simple. Investigators have to track down witnesses. Experts have to examine defectively designed machinery, structures or roadways.
The sooner you hire a personal injury attorney, the sooner that attorney can collect evidence and build a strong case in your favor.
What is the Best Way to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
There are plenty of attorneys to pick from. However, to hire a personal injury attorney, you may have to do a little research.
Perhaps the lawyer who represents your business or who did a will for you can refer you to a motorcycle accident attorney.
Of course, state and local bar associations have lawyer referral services. Consequently, you can contact them for the name of local motorcycle accident lawyers.
Searching on Google for a “personal injury lawyer near me” will get you a long list of personal injury lawyers.
Martindale Hubbell and Avvo are two of several online lawyer directories. Indeed, they help you find local lawyers based on their area of practice. Some directories offer client and peer reviews and ratings of the attorneys.
In fact, you will see multiple listings for personal injury attorneys.
What Are Some Tipson How to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Of course, interview any personal injury attorney you are considering in his or her office. You should get a free consultation.
Is the office neat? Does the staff seem competent and professional? Are phones answered promptly?
If the answer to these questions is “yes,” that’s a good sign.
Additionally, there are several questions you should ask the attorney before you hire them. For instance, ask how long have they been an attorney. Also, you can ask how many personal injury cases have they handled?
Also, personal injury attorneys handle the cases involving many types of personal injuries. But has the attorney ever handled a personal injury case like yours?
Likewise, you will want to know if the attorney you are interviewing is the attorney who will handle your personal injury claim.
Last, before hiring a personal injury attorney, ask the attorney if he or she has dealt with the insurance company for the negligent person before.
Do Indiana Personal Injury Claims Usually Settle Before a Lawsuit Is Filed?
In fact, many personal injury claims can settle before a lawsuit is filed.
For instance, in the example above, if a car rear-ended the plaintiff at a red light, the negligence of the other driver is pretty clear. The only genuine issue in that personal injury claim would be how much money the insurance company would pay the injured person.
However, other insurance claims are not so simple. Therefore, if settlement offers are not forthcoming, the injured party’s lawyer may have to sue because there is a statute of limitation issue.
FAQS About Personal Injury Cases
Why is having an Indiana personal injury important?
An Indiana personal injury attorney will know how to build your case. For instance, she will gather all relevant evidence, such as police reports and pictures of the accident scene. In addition, she will direct you to doctors who can treat you and testify about your injuries.
Moreover, she will hire the right expert witness, if necessary.
Likewise, she will collect all your medical bills as part of your claim.
Lastly, she will prepare your case for trial. Of course, most cases settle before trial. But hiring a personal injury attorney who can negotiate a settlement from a position of strength will level the playing field for you. After all, insurance companies use experienced defense attorneys to represent their insureds. Therefore, shouldn’t you also have legal representation for your claim?
How do personal injury lawyers get paid?
Almost all personal injury lawyers get paid a contingency fee. That means that they get a percentage of the settlement or jury award.
Therefore, you do not pay a fee upfront when you hire an attorney for a personal injury case.
However, if there is no settlement or award, you don’t pay them any legal fees.
In short, they only get paid if you get a settlement or win your case at trial.
Is insurance coverage very important in a personal injury case?
YES! Insurance coverage is very important in a personal injury case.
The first thing to remember is that all insurance policies have limits to their coverage. In a personal injury case, the insurance company will only have to pay up to the policy limit.
For example, let’s assume someone seriously injured the plaintiff in a car accident. A jury awards the injured plaintiff $400,000 in damages against the negligent driver.
However, the negligent driver’s auto insurance policy has a limit of $300,000 for personal injury claims against the insured driver. Consequently, the insurance company will only pay the $300,000 policy limit to the plaintiff.
As a result, the plaintiff’s attorneys will have to try to collect $100,000 from the negligent driver. However, most people do not have $100,000 lying around. They may have to take a mortgage on their home-or sell it.
Or they may have to sell other assets to raise cash.
But if they don’t have $100,000 to pay, the injured plaintiff only gets the $300,000 from the insurance company.
As a result, yes, insurance coverage is very important in a personal injury case.
What kinds of claims can a personal injury attorney help to settle?
All kinds. Car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, truck accidents, and medical malpractice. You name it. Of course, an experienced personal injury attorney has handled many different personal injury cases. Therefore, he can help you get the compensation you deserve.
How does the personal injury claim process work?
Once you hire a personal injury attorney, she will investigate the incident which caused your injury. She will determine who is at fault.
Then she will send a letter to the negligent party, advising that they injured you because of that person’s negligence. The letter will tell the person to forward the letter to his (car, homeowners’ or business) insurance company.
Once the insurance company gets the letter, they will open a claim file and assign an adjuster. That adjuster will collect evidence, such as witness statements, police reports, etc. He will send a letter to your attorney asking for your medical records. Your attorney will send those records.
Additionally, your attorney will send any other evidence she thinks is helpful to your case to the adjuster.
When all the evidence has been reviewed, your attorney will try to settle with the insurance company. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes not.
Therefore, if the case doesn’t settle at that stage, your attorney will sue the negligent party.
Of course, most civil cases settle before trial. As a result, the case may settle after discovery is completed or the parties agree to mediate the case.
How much is my personal injury case worth?
That is hard to say. There are many factors that go into determining the value of a personal injury case. For instance, how bad are your injuries? Sprains and strains aren’t as serious as broken bones and torn ligaments.
As another example, did you help cause the accident? Were you speeding when the car accident happened? Likewise, had you been drinking alcohol for two hours immediately before you tripped and fell?
Those and other factors play into evaluating a worth of a personal injury case.
Is my personal injury settlement taxable?
No. As a matter of fact, The IRS does not consider a personal injury settlement income to the injured person. Rather, it is compensation for your injuries caused by a negligent person.
If Someone’s Negligence Injured You, You Need to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
If someone’s negligence caused an injury to you, a close friend or a loved one, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. First, we will investigate the incident in which you were injured. Next, we will determine who caused the accident. Lastly, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Therefore, contact us at our Hammond office at 219-200-2000 or online at alexmendozalaw.com for a free initial consultation.