Most personal injury claims settle without a trial. In cases that do not, an attorney will prepare a complaint which identifies the facts of the case and outlines the legal arguments to support the claim for damages.
Ask your lawyer whether they regularly try cases to a jury and what their policy is on expense reimbursement if the case is lost.
A personal injury attorney provides clients with objective opinions that are not clouded by the fear, anger, frustration and stress that accident victims understandably experience. They can help you decide whether to settle or take a case to trial. They can also advise you on how to talk with insurance companies and how to handle your medical treatment.
A lawyer with a good reputation will have a history of successfully handling personal injury cases. The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled without the need to go to trial. However, a lawyer with experience litigating personal injury cases is important because litigation is complex and requires close adherence to legal procedures.
Most personal injury attorneys provide prospective clients with a free consultation and will not charge a fee unless there is a recovery in the case (this is known as a contingency agreement). It is best to bring any documentation that may be relevant to the case to this initial meeting, such as photos of the accident scene, police reports, documents detailing injuries, medical records and insurance policies.
Once lawyers pass the bar exam, they can choose to focus on any area of law. Personal injury law covers a wide range of cases including car accidents, medical malpractice and wrongful death. By limiting their practice to personal injury, attorneys acquire specialized knowledge and expertise in that field.
Attorneys can help clients gather information and documents to support their claims. This can include police reports, medical records and photos. In addition, lawyers may work with outside experts like accident reconstruction specialists to develop theories on how the accident occurred.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will understand the importance of documenting a case and will direct their clients to record as much information as possible before memories fade and evidence disappears. They will also explain that statutes of limitations limit the time in which a person can take legal action.
When you meet with a personal injury lawyer for the first time, the attorney will likely be talking about money. This is because they should be able to tell you the pros and cons of your case (again, keep in mind that they cannot promise a certain outcome).
Most attorneys work on contingency. This means that they get paid a percentage of the compensation that they win for their clients. This percentage can vary, but it typically falls between 33 1/3% and 40% of the final compensation award.
To win a case, the personal injury lawyer will need to advance funds for things such as hiring investigators and engineers to document an accident scene, filing a lawsuit, taking depositions, and creating demonstrative evidence. Generally, these expenses are repaid at the end of the case, when the settlement or verdict is awarded. This arrangement makes sense for injury victims who may not have the disposable income to pay hourly fees.
Many accident victims are already stressed and dealing with a range of issues such as harassing calls from bill collectors, making up for lost income and paying for vehicle repairs and medical care. A personal injury attorney can ease their burden by providing valuable information and guidance regarding how much a client might expect to recover in compensation.
A lawyer will review the client’s losses, which could include medical bills and other expenses related to the accident as well as non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. A New York personal injury lawyer will be able to help their client calculate the value of each of these losses so they can pursue maximum compensation.
When a client meets with a personal injury lawyer, they should bring any relevant documents such as police reports, insurance documents, medical records and income loss statements to the first consultation. This will allow the lawyer to provide a more accurate assessment of the case’s merits.