Making a Claim
To have a personal injury claim, you must be able to show that you have been injured, either physically or emotionally, by someone else who has been negligent or has done something wrong – for example, someone who has broken the rules of the road or has designed an unsafe product.
Hiring An Attorney
If you were in an accident that caused only property damage, you may not need an attorney. However, if you sustained any injuries – regardless of how minor they are – obtaining legal consultation is vital before deciding what course of action to take. Most reputable personal injury attorneys provide initial consultations at no cost and no obligation, which means you have nothing to lose. Furthermore, an experienced personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and tell you what to expect. He or she can recommend appropriate medical treatment, negotiate a replacement automobile or car repair, and ultimately help you obtain a fair and full settlement with the insurance company that takes into account all of your damages, including your pain and suffering. Attempting to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company on your own can be risky. Keep in mind that the lawyers and claims adjustors employed by the insurance company get paid, praised and promoted for keeping their side’s costs down. They know the business, and are eager for you to settle your case as fast as possible, before any more issues arise that can potentially increase their liability and costs. In fact, dealing with an insurance company without legal counsel could also result in you unknowingly waiving important legal rights, such as filing a lawsuit in a timely manner. When an insurance company is dealing with a lawyer who has a record of success and trial experience, they are much more likely to offer a fair settlement.
After You Hire An Attorney
Just like you should follow your doctors’ advice for treatment of your injuries, you should follow your personal injury attorney’s advice regarding your case. After you hire an attorney, you should direct any phone calls or correspondence from the defendant’s insurance company to your attorney’s office. You should also make copies of any other documents related to your case and mail them to your attorney. Finally, you should always keep your lawyer informed about any changes in your medical care/treatment, condition, work, or life in general that may affect your case. Your attorney should be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the duration of your case, and should notify you of important milestones regarding your case.
Insurance companies count on you not knowing the true value of your claim. They try to tell you what it is worth and settle with you for as little as possible before a knowledgeable attorney reviews the facts of the case. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how much money will be necessary to fully compensate you for your injuries, and will typically obtain a much higher settlement for you.
Our attorneys have represented thousands of clients throughout the years with injuries ranging from minor to catastrophic. Unlike many personal injury law firms that do not have the experience and resources necessary to pursue catastrophic injury cases, we have years of experience bringing such cases to successful resolution.
Generally, after you have fully recovered from your injuries or (in the case of more serious injuries) when you have completed treatment with your doctor and he or she has stated that you are as well as you are going to be or have reached a plateau in your recovery, (what is usually called “maximum medical improvement”) you should contact your attorney and let him/her know. At that point, your attorney will get the medical records from the doctor(s) with whom you treated, and will begin the process of settling your case.