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When to find a Personal Injury Attorney

Updated on May 15, 2016

Consider Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer if;

- You or your relative has sustained serious injuries that potentially have long term effect on life. Minor injuries such as a bruised kneecap or abrasions on the arm will not justify the legal costs.

- You and the other driver are in dispute over who was at fault, in case of a motor accident.

- You are feeling pressured by the other party to accept a quick settlement.

- You feel you are not being fully compensated for your current and future medical costs resulting from the accident

Accidents can happen to anyone at any time in any place by many different causes. They can range from a slip, a fall, motor accident, being hit by falling debris from a construction site and many others. Accidents can be Fatal or non-fatal, causing minor to severe injuries depending on the nature of incident. A report from the World Health organization (WHO) shows that approximately 3,400 people worldwide die on the roads every day, while tens of millions of people are injured or disabled from accidents on the road every year. These include people of all ages who are pedestrians, cyclists drivers and other road users.

Whereas this data accounts for accidents occurring on the road, millions of people suffer serious injuries from places other than the road such as places of work, schools, parks and recreational places. According to Aurenda, a company that specializes in reducing the financial and human cost of injury in the work place, work place injuries can be placed into five types and that these are by far the commonest and are all caused by human error. They include: ‘Slips, trips, and trips’, motor vehicle crashes, accidents resulting from manual labor, overuse injuries like low back pain, and burns.

If you have been involved in any form of accident and sustained serious injury, you might be entitled to compensation, through legal claim. And yet there is no guarantee that your medical bills will be effectively covered by the party at fault, or that you will be justly compensated. It is possible to negotiate a personal injury settlement without the help of a lawyer, but most insurance companies through their legal advisors have mastered techniques of minimizing settlement claims in injury cases. You will thus be at a disadvantage engaging in this negotiation on your own, and may end up settling for much less than you actually deserve. Hiring a personal injury attorney can help you get the most from your claim.

Distribution of fatalities in the construction industry and to all workers by event, 2001
Distribution of fatalities in the construction industry and to all workers by event, 2001 | Source
slipping and falling
slipping and falling | Source

Who is a Personal Injury Attorney?

A personal injury lawyer is one who provides legal representation to those who claim to have been injured, physically, or psychologically, as a result of negligence, or wrong doing of another person, company, government agency, or any other entity. This lawyer also sometimes referred to as the plaintiff layer, is responsible for interviewing prospective clients and evaluating their cases to determine legal matter, identify the distinct issues rooted with in the client’s larger problem and extensively research the issue in order to build a strong case. The ultimate responsibility of such a lawyer is to obtain the justice and compensation his client deserves for their losses and suffering, through advocacy, oral arguments, client counseling and legal advice. The lawyer may also have to take a client’s case to trial if settlement cannot be reached.

When to hire a personal injury attorney

Consider hiring the services of a personal injury attorney in the following circumstances;

- You or your relative has sustained serious injuries that potentially have long term effect on their life. Injuries resulting from accidents at school should not be over looked. Minor injuries such as a bruised kneecap or abrasions on the arm will not justify the legal costs.

- You and the other driver are in dispute over who was at fault, in case of a motor accident.

- You are feeling pressured by the other party to accept a quick settlement. Such parties are pressuring you to accept less compensation than you deserve. Avoid making rush decisions.

- You feel you are not being fully compensated for your current and future medical costs resulting from the accident

As you consider hiring a lawyer, keep in mind the legal cost. In most cases personal injury lawyers’ fees are based on a number of factors such as; time and energy spent on the case, the outcome of a case, the difficulty of a claim and the experience/prominence of a lawyer. There are various payment options that may be availed by the lawyer. These include contingency fees, hourly rates, flat fees and retainers.

Most lawyers work on a contingence basis. A contingence fee is a prior arrangement between the lawyer and the client in which the lawyer receives a set percentage of the amount of recovery awarded to the plaintiff in a case. Depending on the case and the attorney, some contingence fees may be as high as 40%. You will need to ask your lawyer for his contingence rate before hiring. Also keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying all court related fees like filing costs and copying expenses.

You can find a personal injury lawyer by searching online, or in your local yellow pages. You may also check with family, friends, colleagues who may have used such services before or lawyers that you have used yourself before.


What to do in the event of an Accident

In case of a motor accident, exchange information with the other driver. If the other driver has vehicle insurance, then receiving compensation should not be a problem. On the other hand if the driver at fault does not have insurance or flees from the scene of accident it will be harder to file a claim. Injuries that happen while at work are usually covered under the workers compensation board.

See a medical professional to assess the severity of your injuries. The medical professional will assess for severity and long term effects the injuries will have on your daily life. It is this that will determine your compensation amount.

Seek out a personal injury lawyer right after seeing the medical professional. The lawyer will assess the situation for possibility of a case. If possible take pictures of where the accident happened shortly after the injury has occurred as these may be helpful in future documentation and will provide evidence for the case.

As you prepare to meet with the attorney for the first time, be prepared to present all related documents such as the official police report, medical report, and any correspondence with your insurance company. You may also ask the lawyer some general questions to determine whether he is the right one for you. The questions include;

1. How long have you been in practice?

2. How many injury claims have you successfully settled?

3. Do you typically represent the injured person or the insurance company?

4. Would you be the sole attorney assigned to the case or do you have an associate with whom you would share the case?

5. Do you anticipate the case going to trail, and what is your expertise at trials?

You may be safer if you are represented by an attorney who has consistent experience in representing injured persons rather than insurance companies.

Lastly remember not to expect a very fast settlement check especially if you take an insurance company to court. Each claim case is different but it is not uncommon for some cases to take several years to be resolved. This is especially common in areas that are heavily populated, with busy court calendars.


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    • profile image

      Mike Joynes 2 years ago

      Don't wait too long to get legal help. Let trained professionals get you what you deserve. Personal injury Norfolk

    • profile image

      Ashley 2 years ago

      I was hit by a drunk driver last week, and he's trying to blame it on me. I need to get a lawyer so that I know I'll win the case. The least he could do is pay for the hospital bills after hitting me with his car. Some people just won't take responsibility until they have to.

    • profile image

      Susan Hirst 2 years ago

      My brother was recently in a car accident. He was badly injured and he is being pressured to accept a settlement that is a lot less than he deserves. He could really use an automobile accident attorney to represent him and help him get the compensation he deserves.

    • profile image

      kelsey 2 years ago

      It is great to know when someone should consider hiring a personal injury attorney lawyer. My cousin was injured at a construction site and waited to look for legal help. I will make sure to share this information with more people so that they are aware.

    • profile image

      Ashley 2 years ago

      I was injured at work the other day, and I think I'm going to hire a personal injury lawyer. I don't know how it all happened, but I know I wasn't in the wrong. Thanks for all the tips on finding an attorney, it's been really great!

    • ian 12am profile image

      ian 12am 2 years ago

      Thanks every one for the feed back. Accidents can be really life changing but many times people fail to get the right compensation, mostly because they are unaware that it is with in their rights. While compensation may not restore your limb, finding the right attorney could offer a starting point for restoring your life.

    • profile image

      Zach 2 years ago

      I guess it can be pretty frequent that people don't get the full compensation that they are hoping for. I wonder why that is. I know that there are a bunch of people that try to get a personal injury attorney when they first get injured. I think it is just a safeguard to make sure that they get the compensation.

    • profile image

      Correy A. Smith 2 years ago

      Accidents can be very frightening whether it be in a car, motor, or at work. The thing that would worry me the most is what's going to happen next after the accident. It's always good to be prepared beforehand of which lawyer would help you out in getting a good compensation for a claim.

    • profile image

      Caleb Hart 2 years ago

      I think I might need a personal injury lawyer. I was in a car accident and I suffered some pretty bad whiplash. I need to get compensation but I don't know how to do it. This hub answered a lot of my questions.

    • Sergio Freddson profile image

      Sergio Freddson 2 years ago

      This is a great summary of how to select the right attorney. I especially like how you charactarized the personal injury attorney. So many picture attorneys as the guys on the billboards or the commercials and forget that they are real people. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Ellie Sutter profile image

      Ellie Sutter 2 years ago from Orem, Utah

      The problem that my boyfriend ran into when he was hurt at work was that he didn't immediately go to the doctors. Because of that, we had some complications with the workers' comp application. If things come up still, we're just going to be more meticulous about documenting everything for the lawyer.

    • profile image

      WillJenkins9801 3 years ago

      Good post. Clears up a lot of questions a lot of us have. I know it did for me.

      Will Jenkins