When injuries happen, personal injury attorneys are almost always a critical part of the financial compensation process. In a perfect world, of course, anyone whose past actions cause pain or suffering to others will feel compelled to make some kind of financial improvement to the victim. Because the world is not perfect at all, ideals that are practically never come true.
To obtain recovery for actual monetary losses resulting from hospital bills, lost wages, and diminished working capacity, the services of a lawyer are usually essential. Defendants generally have insurance companies representing their interests, and those companies have a long history of doing everything they can to avoid paying on these types of claims.
How a lawyer can help
A good lawyer will know the minute details of the recovery process, and will have the expertise any victim needs to obtain the largest recovery settlement or judgment possible. Attorneys understand how to develop a case, when and how to negotiate with the defendant or his insurance company, and how to pursue the case to trial should those negotiations fail to secure the desired result.
Resources to find a lawyer
One of the best ways for a plaintiff to locate a lawyer with experience in this area of law is to ask for a referral from his existing attorney. If the victim does not have an attorney on retainer, he can have a friend or someone who does have an attorney to seek such a referral. Alternatively, he can choose to seek lawyer services by contacting the many lawyers listed in local phone books or on the internet.
When interviewing prospective attorneys, it is important to establish the lawyer’s qualifications for the case at hand. Some attorneys specialize in medical suits, while others deal primarily with slip and fall cases. The victim should ask prospective attorneys whether they have experience in handling their type of legal situation.
While most of these attorneys will take on cases involving negligent injuries on a contingency basis, some demand to be paid a regular hourly rate. In cases where an attorney demands something other than a set percentage of the final judgment award, victims should continue their search. If no attorney is willing to represent the case on a contingency basis, that may be an indication that the case is weak.
The attorney and client relationship
Many victims feel that once they have found an attorney, their part of the process is completed. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, most competent attorneys will require that their clients participate fully in developing the case. The written agreement should define the basic requirements for how both the attorney and client should manage their relationship.
Perhaps most important of all is the fact that most victims of negligent injuries need to obtain legal counsel as early in the process as possible. Without the professional advice that a lawyer can provide, it is far too easy for accident victims to make errors in judgment that can limit their recovery opportunities. With a competent attorney representing their interests, victims with valid claims have a much better chance of being properly compensated for their personal injury claims.