Although it’s your choice whether it’s worth hiring a personal injury attorney, it usually offers a plethora of benefits. They can help you recover the compensation you need, investigate the accident, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Your only job is to recuperate from your injuries and get back on your feet.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Guide You Through the Legal Process
The legal process can have many complications and barriers. Those unfamiliar with the process could find it difficult to navigate. If you were hurt in an accident and want to file a case, a personal injury attorney can help you through the process and take the appropriate steps to seek compensation from the liable party.
Attorneys who have handled cases like yours can help you reach a favorable outcome by:
Handing Communications With the Opposing Party and Their Representatives
The opposing counsel or the liable party’s insurance company could reach out to you shortly after the accident. They could contact you to get you to settle quickly. Typically, these offers are lower than you deserve. You might not know how much compensation you could receive. However, with the guidance of a personal injury attorney, you could have more knowledge about your case’s worth.
They can handle communications on your behalf. That way, you don’t risk saying something that the insurer could use to devalue or deny your case.
Types of communications an attorney could take over include:
- Phone calls or emails with the insurance company, the other party’s legal team, and the courts
- Receiving the first settlement offer
- Negotiations with opposing counsel to reach a fair settlement
Investigating the Accident and Determining Fault
Depending on the accident type, law enforcement or other entities could have investigated the case. However, having an attorney conduct an independent investigation can help ensure you receive fair treatment, as well as build your side of the story.
Personal injury attorneys can use the information they gathered in these investigations to determine fault and liability for the injuries.
Examples of supporting evidence they may use include:
- Photos of the scene of the incident
- Photos of your visible injuries
- Video surveillance that captured the event
- The incident or accident report
- Your medical records
- Traffic citations
- Expert testimony
- Statements from eyewitnesses
This information can prove the other party’s negligence caused the accident. Negligence comprises four elements, and all of them must be present in your case for you to recover compensation.
- Duty of care: The other party had an obligation to exercise a legal duty of care to keep you safe.
- Breach of duty: The other party didn’t uphold this obligation and failed to act as any reasonable person would under the same circumstances.
- Causation: This negligence caused an accident, as well as your injuries.
- Damages: Your injuries led to financial and non-financial damages.
Identifying Recoverable Damages
Recoverable damages play a crucial role in determining the value of a personal injury case.
First of all, attorneys can identify the damages you incurred and assess their value based on:
- The type of accident you were involved in
- The nature of the injuries you sustained
- The intensity and expected duration of your recovery
- Your working status
- How did you feel physically and emotionally following the incident
Depending on what your lawyer finds from this information, you could recover monetary and non-monetary losses, such as:
- Past and future medical bills: The costs you had to pay for the medical care you received because of your accident-related injuries. You may also recover the projected costs of future medical bills. All of this compensation may account for bills for emergency transportation, medications, mobility aids, diagnostic assessments, follow-up doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, or surgeries.
- Past and future lost income: If you lost income because you had to miss work, you could recover compensation for what you couldn’t earn. You could also recover the projected cost of future lost income if your injuries diminished your earning capacity.
- Property damage costs: You may typically recover compensation for damage during a car accident. This could also include compensation because the car has diminished value after getting into an accident.
- Pain and suffering: You may recover compensation for the physical pain and discomfort you endured because of your injuries.
- Emotional distress: If you experienced mental health issues, such as anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because of your injuries or the accident, you could recover emotional distress damages.
- Loss of enjoyment: If you cannot enjoy activities or hobbies you could before the accident, you might qualify to recover compensation for loss of enjoyment damages.
- Wrongful death damages: If your loved one passed away from accident-related injuries, you could benefit from wrongful death compensation. These damages may cover final medical care costs, funeral and burial expenses, lost financial support, and loss of consortium, society, or care.
Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and emotional distress damages are not associated with monetary loss, so it may be difficult to determine their value. Luckily, a personal injury attorney has the skills and tools needed to establish the value of those losses. They can add up the value of your monetary and non-monetary damages to estimate the compensation to fight for through negotiations.
Sending a Demand Letter to the Liable Party
Once a personal injury attorney calculates the value of your recoverable damages, they can send a demand letter to the liable party or their insurance company seeking that amount. While a demand letter doesn’t have to come from an attorney, insurance companies and opposing counsel may likely take it more seriously if it does.
Negotiating a Fair Settlement
Sometimes, the opposing party doesn’t accept the details of the demand letter. In that case, your attorney could fight for a settlement through negotiations. They know the tactics insurance companies use to get injured parties to accept lower offers. With that, your attorneys can fight to help you obtain a better car settlement agreement using evidence and documentation to prove you sustained those losses.
Representing You in Court, If Necessary
If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, the case could go to court. To reach a successful outcome through the courts, it helps to have a personal injury attorney advocating for you. They understand the laws and how to navigate court proceedings.
Your lawyer can prepare a solid case by providing evidence from their investigation and showing documentation proving you sustained losses. During a court case, a judge and/or jury could determine if and how much compensation the liable party owes you.
Meeting the Statute of Limitations
Sometimes, the best way for you to recover compensation is via a personal injury lawsuit. You must be aware of how long you have to file, as the state enforces a statute of limitations, or a legal deadline, for taking such legal actions. According to Georgia law, you typically have two years to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.
This timeline varies based on the circumstances of your case. If a government agency bears liability for what happened to you, you may have even less time to start your case. A personal injury attorney can review your case and see how long you have to file.
However, you must get in touch with a law firm as soon as possible. Putting off starting your case can hurt your chances of recovering compensation altogether. As such, the court may throw out your case if you’re too late. The sooner you contact a firm, the sooner an attorney can submit your lawsuit.
Providing Client Care and Support Throughout the Case
Your injury attorney can support you throughout the case. This might be your first time dealing with the legal process, so you may feel could feel stress or fear during the case, especially while you’re trying to heal from your injuries.
Personal injury attorneys handle these situations often and can provide support and legal guidance to make it a less stressful process for you.
Many Personal Injury Attorneys Don’t Charge Unless You Recover Compensation
In general, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis in which they receive a percentage of the compensation you recover through a settlement agreement or a court award. That means you don’t have to pay any fees at an hourly rate, out of pocket, or upfront.
A contingency fee offers several benefits to you, including:
- The law firm finances all of your cases from beginning to end.
- Your lawyer provides you the opportunity to hold the liable party accountable without worrying about an attorney’s costs.
- This arrangement provides an incentive for personal injury lawyers to fight for you to receive the maximum compensation. If you recover more compensation, the attorneys make more money.
Without paying any money out of pocket, you can file a case against the person or entity that caused your injuries. You don’t have anything to lose when you choose a Personal lawyer who operates under this payment structure.
Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
It’s only worth hiring a personal injury attorney if they’re the right one for you.
When you conduct your search, pay extra attention to these attributes:
- Their educational background
- How many lawyers are on staff and who handles the cases
- Their achievements and accolades
- Their experience in personal injury law
- Their success rate, especially with cases similar to yours
- Their case results
- The services they provide
- If they mention how they prioritize client care
- What payment structure do they use
Ask your friends and family in your area if they recommend a law firm, especially if they were hurt in an accident similar to yours. However, if no one in your inner circle had the same situation or used a personal injury lawyer, take to the internet, look up firms in your area, and see what former clients had to say about partnering with them. No one can attest to how they handle cases like they do.
Make note of the pros and cons of each firm you check out, and narrow down your top two or three favorites. From there, call each of the firms and tell them your story. Many usually offer a free, no-obligation, and no-risk consultation. See which one you click with the best. If something doesn’t feel right about one of them, follow that instinct. Choosing a personal injury lawyer is a huge decision, so you want to make sure you’re totally at peace with it.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Take On Your Case Today
As you know now, there are many benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney, so it may be worth hiring one. Many Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Law firms in Georgia offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. You take no financial risk in working with many firms for a personal injury case. Once you reach a successful outcome, attorneys only take a small percentage of the earnings.
By contacting an attorney, you can review your case for free and answer all your questions. Their answers can help you decide whether you should hire a personal injury attorney.