1. Who is a Personal Injury Lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer provides legal representation to people who have been injured psychologically or physically because of the negligence of a person, government agency or company. They are knowledgeable in a special kind of law called tort law, which deals with non-economic or economic damages and civil wrongs done to someone’s property, rights or reputation.
2. What is a Personal Injury Attorney?
A personal injury attorney is an attorney who specializes in working with clients who have been mentally, emotionally and physically hurt by a third party. Personal injury falls under Tort Law.
3. What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
A personal injury attorney has a number of responsibilities in serving her clients. These responsibilities cover both ethical and professional rules and codes of conduct set by the state bar association where the attorney was licensed. Once they acquire their license from the state bar association to practice law, the attorney is allowed to offer legal advice to personal injury victims, draft legal documents, argue cases in court and file legal complaints.
They are also responsible for evaluating prospective clients’ cases to identify the main issues, research on the issues and build a solid case and to determine the legal matter.
They help personal injury victims get justice and compensation that they deserve through legal advice, client counseling, oral arguments and advocacy.
If they cannot reach a settlement, a personal injury lawyer is supposed to take the case to trial. This means that they must work to protect the client’s best interests by protecting their loyalty and confidentiality.
4. What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?
If you are a personal injury victim, you must be wondering what a personal injury lawyer charges. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis so they risk not being paid if they don’t get the settlement check. Contingency cases are cases where they are only paid if you receive compensation.
Your personal injury lawyer will receive the settlement check. This will ensure that they are paid for their legal services. They will get in touch with you as soon as they receive the check. They will explain to you how much they will be subtracting from your check to cover their lawyer’s fees and expenses. If you dispute any of the charges, the money will be put in a trust fund and the rest of the undisputed amount will be sent to you.
5. What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
The biggest question most people have is what does a personal injury lawyer cost. Most personal injury lawyers prefer to use a contingency fee arrangement. In this arrangement, your lawyer will deduct his fees from the final settlement in your case. The contingency fee percentage will depend on the stage at which your case is.
If everything goes as planned and your lawyer settles your case before going to trial, they will deduct no more than 33% of the settlement amount. If both your lawyer and the insurance company fail to come to an agreement and the case goes to court, your lawyer will deduct no more than 40% from the final settlement amount.
6. What to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
What should you ask a personal injury lawyer when you finally meet with them? Here are a few questions you should ask:
- Which areas of law do they specialize in?
You wouldn’t expect a gynecologist to do a brain surgeon’s job even though they are both doctors, would you? Similarly, you shouldn’t work with a lawyer who does not specialize in personal injury law. And even if you find one that specializes in personal injury law, make sure they specialize in areas related to your case.
- Have they handled similar cases in the past?
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results but you will have a better feeling hiring a lawyer who has a record of accomplishment.
- Who else will be handling this case?
The reality is that when a law firm takes on your case, there will be other people who will be tasked with handling your case. If you are more interested in a particular attorney handling your case and not the law firm then you should ask them this question.
- How frequently do they go to trial?
This question is important because you want to ensure you are not dealing with a settlement mill. Lawyers who work for settlement mills rarely take a client’s case to trial. They’d rather settle the case than go to trial even if the settlement amount is not fair.
- Do they have references?
Talking to previous clients just to find out if they were satisfied with the lawyer’s service can help you decide if they are right for you.
7. What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
A personal injury lawyer specializes in tort law. The main aim of tort law is to compensate the injured person and to discourage other people from engaging in similar behavior. Your personal injury lawyer will help you get compensation for your losses including pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, loss of companionship or consortium, emotional distress, medical expenses both expected and present, attorney fees and legal costs. He will also work to protect you from being harassed by the legal system and insurance companies.
8. What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You have been involved in an accident and someone recommends that you hire a personal injury lawyer. If you have never hired one, you might be wondering, what is a personal injury lawyer? Also known as a trial or a plaintiff lawyer, a personal injury lawyer is a civil litigator who provides legal representation to people who have suffered a psychological or physical injury because of someone else’s negligence.
9. When to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
Do you need to call a personal injury lawyer and when should you call them? Not every case requires a lawyer but you may need to hire one if your injuries are severe or you are having trouble getting compensation.
An example of a case you can handle without a lawyer is if you live in a no-fault state. No-fault states do not allow you to sue unless your injuries are serious enough. If there is a possibility that your injuries are serious enough to allow you to sue, then you can call a personal injury lawyer.
Another example of a situation where you don’t need to call a personal injury lawyer is if the insurance company is already paying you the maximum amount available.
You should always call a lawyer if:
- No one wants to admit liability and as a result, they are refusing to compensate you.
- The insurance company flat out refuses to pay you
- Your injuries cause you permanent or long term disability
- You suffer from severe injuries.
10. When to Get a Personal Injury Lawyer
Following an accident, when should you get personal injury lawyer? You should call them as soon as possible to avoid:
- Missing the deadline for filing a claim. Also known as government tort claim deadlines or statute of limitations.
- Losing evidence. The longer you wait to take action, the more likely evidence that could be used to support your case may be harder to document.
- Missing out on a chance for a quick settlement.
11. When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
You should hire a personal injury lawyer if you suffered from severe injuries after an accident. The severity of you injury will be measured by:
- The amount of money you spent on medical bills and estimated cost of future medical procedures.
- Length of time it will take for you to recover from your injury
- The type of injury you sustained
You should also consider hiring a lawyer if your injuries are long term or they are permanently disabling. A long-term injury is one that takes more than a year to heal while permanently disabling injuries never heal and they leave you disabled for life.
When an insurance company disputes liability for your accident, it might be time for you to call a lawyer. The insurance company may deny liability because you don’t have enough evidence to prove liability so they claim they are not responsible for paying your damages.
If the insurance company also refuses to pay a fair amount or they just won’t accept your settlement offer, you should consider talking to a lawyer.
12. Why Get a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Why should you get a personal injury lawyer instead of settling the case yourself? You should get a personal injury lawyer because they have experience with claims similar to yours. Their knowledge of the law, previous case history and insurance company tactics will help you build a solid case.
They will also save you a lot of time by handling requests for your medical records, communicating back and forth with insurance adjusters and reviewing police and medical charts. All this takes hours if not a few days or weeks.
Personal injury lawyers also have a number of valuable resources at their disposal. For example, they know reliable investigators who can investigate and gather evidence to prove your case.
They also have experience working with other lawyers. If you are going through a divorce, bankruptcy or you are facing criminal charges, they can work with your lawyers to reach a resolution that is in your best interest. They also have experience working with insurance company lawyers.
A lawyer who is experienced in personal injury knows how the personal injury process goes. They have, after all, spent years learning the ins and outs of personal injury law.
And finally, personal injury lawyers are able to get you a much higher settlement amount even after paying lawyer’s fees.
13. Why Become a Personal Injury Lawyer?
In America, the ambulance chasing personal injury lawyer is depicted as the aggressive and ruthless lawyer who only sees dollar signs at the scene of an accident. So why become a personal injury lawyer if people think so negatively about them? There are plenty of reasons:
- Personal injury lawyers are passionate about justice. Seeing someone suffer injuries because of someone else’s negligence is injustice and it is our work to bring justice to them.
- Personal injury law is about communication. Working as a personal injury lawyer means that you have to be both an advocate and a communicator. These are all skills you can apply in your everyday life.
- It is satisfying. Personal injury lawyers prefer to work for people as opposed to corporate entities. This is why seeing a client’s case through to victory brings so much satisfaction.
- You don’t spend all your time immersed in paperwork. Ask any other type of lawyer and they will tell you they spend most of their time at work immersed in paperwork. Personal injury lawyers on the hand will handle paperwork but they will spend most of their working lives immersed in the fabric of life.
14. Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You were bitten by a neighbor’s dog, was in a car accident or some other type of personal injury but you don’t know if you should hire a personal injury lawyer. If you are comfortable and confident enough to handle your case and reach a fair settlement amount then you can represent yourself.
However, attempting to handle a claim on your own is not a good idea especially if your injuries are severe. You might come across a number of obstacles, which if not handled properly, could damage your case. The last thing you want is to complicate the claims process by tampering with your case.
15. Why Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
In an attempt to save on lawyer fees, most people prefer to handle their own claims. What they do not understand is that they stand to benefit from a lawyer’s experience and expertise. Apart from that, there are several other reasons why you would need a personal injury attorney.
First, you might make your case much worse than it already is if you decide to go at it alone. Handling your own case is like treating your own illness before going to the doctor. You might think you are helping your case but you are just making it worse. This might make the recovery process more difficult.
Second, you need time to rest and recover from your injuries. If your injuries were serious, you might not have the strength or time to run around gathering evidence or negotiate with insurance adjusters. This is not only stressful but you could end up not being compensated. A personal injury lawyer takes the stress away so you can rest easy knowing that someone else is handling your case for you.
Finally, personal injury lawyers have valuable resources at their disposal. They can use these resources to investigate and analyze your case. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident, your lawyer might hire the services of a professional who can recreate the accident scene to find out who was responsible for the accident. Your lawyer may also have access to CCTV footage of the accident among other things that can help your case.
16. Why Would a Personal Injury Lawyer be Needed?
If you have been involved in an accident, a personal injury lawyer is needed to help protect your rights and help you get compensation.
Personal injury cases are not as straightforward as people think. There are so many factors to consider failure to which, you risk not being compensated at all. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident, the insurance company might contact you requesting that you provide a written or recorded statement, failure to which you will not be compensated. In such a situation, you will need a personal injury lawyer who will ensure that the statement you give doesn’t violate your rights.
Personal injury lawyers are also great negotiators and they know how to deal with insurance companies. They know all the tricks they use to deny or to minimize settlement amounts. Your lawyer will negotiate fair compensation for you while still protecting your rights. Besides the fact that they are focused on getting you justice, they know that getting you a high settlement amount means that they too will receive better payment from your contingency fee arrangement.
A contingency fee arrangement is an arrangement where your lawyer won’t charge you unless he is able to get you compensation. Once you have been compensated, he will deduct a percentage from your settlement amount to cover his fees.
17. How to Pick a Personal Injury Lawyer
With so many people claiming to be professionals, how do you pick a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case?
First, you need to find out if the lawyer you want to work with specializes in areas related to your case. Different personal injury lawyers specialize in different areas of personal injury. For instance, not all lawyers specialize in defamation, libel and slander cases. So if your case involves libel and slander, you might want to look for a lawyer who specializes in that area.
Second, you need to find a lawyer who doesn’t have hundreds of cases on his desk. A lawyer with so many cases may not have time to concentrate on your case. And even if they have cases, you should find out how many he is working on at the time. Ideally, you want to work with one who has less than 100 cases.
18. How to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Unless you receive a referral from someone you trust, hiring a personal injury lawyer can be a huge challenge. You should never choose a lawyer based on a fancy ad or a nice office. These two factors only reveal to you their business acumen, not their skills as lawyers.
You also, shouldn’t hire a lawyer based on experience alone. A lawyer with five years of experience might do a better job than the one with twenty years of experience. Your main aim should be to find out how effective your lawyer will be and how your case will be handled.
Your lawyer won’t be effective if he has so many cases to handle. An overburdened lawyer will likely not return your calls and may be more inclined to settle cases just to help clear his calendar. If he has too many cases to handle, his calendar may also be too full for him to schedule depositions in a timely manner. As a result, your lawsuit will slow to a crawl.
You can tell how a lawyer will handle your case by asking him when he last time he went to trial. Even though jury trials in personal injury cases are very rare, you shouldn’t dismiss a lawyer if he hasn’t gone to trial in the past two years. But if they haven’t taken a case to trial in ten or fifteen years, then you should be concerned. If they tell you that they’ve gone to trial but didn’t win, that also shouldn’t matter. What matters is that they are willing to go to trial.
19. How to Select a Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers are notorious for advertising their service on TV and on Billboards but at the end of the day one questions remains: how do you select a personal injury lawyer?
Forget about looking up where they went to school. You might be surprised that a lawyer who went to a local college will do a much better job than the one who went to an Ivy League university. You should be more concerned with whether they are licensed to practice law in your state and what kind of reputation they have.
You should also steer clear of settlement mills. They are law firms that specialize in settling cases based on pre-determined settlement amounts. Most of them have deals with insurance companies whereby they determine what the minimum and maximum amount should be for certain types of personal injury cases. This explains why most of these settlement mills emphasize that they always “win” all their cases in advertisements. If a lawyer decides to settle your case, it should be for a fair amount not just any amount.
20. How to Become a Personal Injury Lawyer
How to become a personal injury lawyer will depend on which state you live in. In Rhode Island, you will need to get your undergrad pre-law major first. Although the Rhode Island Board of Bar Examiners doesn’t need you to attend an undergraduate school before starting law school, they do emphasize that you need to graduate from an American Bar Association accredited law institution. ABA law institutions require that you at least have a bachelor’s degree prior to starting law school.
You also have to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is an entrance test for admittance into all law schools. The test is offered four times a year and it’s six hours long.
Once you pass your LSAT exam, you can apply to any law school accredited by ABA. In order to sit for the Rhode Island bar examination, you need to have a Juris Doctor degree. You will not be able to take the bar exam if you failed your JD degree more than five times.
After finishing all these steps, you will be admitted to the Rhode Island Bar. You have to be a member of the bar in order to practice law. You must also complete a bar sponsored online training course within the first year of your admission.
21. How to Find a Personal Injury lawyer
The best way to find a personal injury lawyer is through referrals. You can look for referrals from friends, relatives or acquaintances. If you know a friend who has been legally represented by a lawyer in a personal injury case, then you can ask them to recommend a good lawyer to you. Even if a lawyer hasn’t represented them before, they might know someone who has.
Lawyer directories are also great places to find a lawyer for your case. Most directories offer a unique and comprehensive profile of all the lawyers listed in them. From their profiles, you’ll be able to learn about their experience, education, fees, and their philosophy about practicing law. The directories even check from time to time if all the lawyers listed have a valid license to practice law.
You can also find a good lawyer through other lawyers. If you know a lawyer who perhaps practices criminal law or divorce law, you can talk to them and they can refer you to a personal injury lawyer. Lawyers occasionally refer cases to one another so you are likely to find one who knows a lawyer that specializes in personal injury law.
You can check with a lawyer referral service approved by the state bar association. In fact, most local bar associations have referral services where a list of lawyers and their specialty are listed. Some referral services thoroughly screen their lawyers and only list those with particular qualifications and experience. Others will only list lawyers that have a practicing license and maintain liability insurance. Before you choose a referral service, make sure you ask them what qualifications they consider before listing a lawyer.
22. How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Make?
Personal injury lawyers are one of the highest paid professionals in the world. The most successful lawyers earn seven-digit salaries depending on the size and location of the practice. Personal injury lawyers who earn a high salary handle high-dollar personal injury cases or class action suits. And in cases where punitive damages are involved, the verdict amounts can increase by millions of dollars.
Persona injury lawyers are paid on a contingency basis. This means that they charge a percentage of a client’s final compensation, which is usually payable after the case is resolved. The client therefore does not need to pay anything unless the lawyer recovers money on their behalf.
23. How to Fire a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you decide to fire your personal injury lawyer, you should do so in writing. Your letter should clearly state your reasons. Do not threaten your lawyer with legal action or with reporting him to the bar association. This will only motivate him to intervene in your case and recover the entirety of his fee. Don’t send your termination letter to the local bar association unless his conduct was unethical or illegal.
You should fire your personal injury lawyer if:
- You and your lawyer have a terrible relationship. You lawyer does not need to hold your hand or become your best friend. Not all lawyers are warm and friendly but as long as you can do business together and you trust them to do a good job, then you can keep them. But if you feel like you need a warm relationship with your lawyer then you should consider changing lawyers.
- The lawyer does not communicate with you. If they fail to give you important updates like the insurance company making an offer, or they don’t openly answer your questions, then it’s time to move on.
- You no longer trust them. If you find yourself constantly questioning your lawyer’s judgment or ethics, then it’s time to find another lawyer.
- They are not competent. If you feel like your lawyer is not getting you the results that you want, then you should feel free to hire a new one.
24. How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?
A personal injury lawyer will charge a contingency fee to handle your case. This means that they will only charge you if they win your case. Most lawyers typically charge a contingency fee of between 33-40% but you can always negotiate the amount. In most cases, they will charge 33.3% of your settlement. This only happens when you settle your case before going to court.
When you file a lawsuit, they will charge as high as 40%. This is because filing a lawsuit demands a lot of work and it consumes a lot of time. Therefore, before declining a pre-suit settlement offer, you should consider the expenses of a personal injury lawsuit.
25. How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer
To find out whether a personal injury lawyer is right for you, you need to look at:
- Their general experience. You’ll want to find out how long they have been practicing as a personal injury lawyer. Does they lawyer represent defendants or plaintiffs? If they primarily represent defendants, then their way of thinking might be too closely related to the attitudes of insurance companies so they might not work as hard to get you the compensation that you deserve.
- Their specialization. Do they specifically specialize in personal injuries related to your case? For instance, not all personal injury lawyers focus on car accident cases and some prefer to focus on slip and fall cases.
- Their reputation. Do they have a good reputation? You can find out this information very easily by Googling it.
- Their personality. How comfortable are you talking to them? People’s personalities differ and if you find yourself unable to get along with your lawyer due to personality differences, it may be time to look for another one.
- Their dedication to your case. A lawyer who has too many cases to handle might not be as dedicated to your case as you would like.
26. What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who works with people who have been victims of physical or psychological injury due to someone else’s negligence. They will ensure that:
- They establish liability
- They get you the compensation that you deserve
- They negotiate on your behalf with the insurance adjusters to protect your rights
- They gather evidence to build your case
- They analyze your case to ensure you have a legal claim
27. Which Personal Injury Lawyer to choose
Which personal injury lawyer should you choose if all of them claim that they always win cases? These are some of the qualities you should look for:
- How well they will handle your case. They should not have more than 100 active cases.
- Their personality. Personality differences can bring about conflict in how the case should be handled.
- Their experience in handling cases similar to yours.
- If they are accredited by American Bar Association
- If they have a history of taking cases to trial