If someone suffers an injury in an accident, they might have a legitimate claim to file a claim or lawsuit to recover compensation. However, getting money isn’t always easy and it’s not always swift. That’s where a personal injury lawyer can help to make a difference. Here are seven things a personal injury lawyer can do to help their client secure a meaningful financial award after an accident.
Help Injured Plaintiffs Understand Their Legal Rights and Options
Nothing an unexpected accident is easy or straightforward. That’s also true for the processes that are involved in recovering compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Procedures and rights vary from state to state.
For example, some states, like New York, have no-fault insurance laws, which require car accident victims to seek benefits from their own insurance provider first, regardless of who’s responsible for their injuries. Other states, like Texas, have at-fault insurance rules, which means whoever is at fault pays.
Unless someone regularly handles injury claims or is fluent in the law, it’s fairly easy to get confused, overwhelmed, and stressed out during a pursuit of compensation.
That’s where an attorney can help. A personal injury lawyer knows the laws and procedures that will affect a plaintiff’s case. An attorney who specializes in personal injury law will be able to help guide an accident victim and help them through the processes that are involved in getting money. A lawyer can explain everything and make sure that the plaintiff understands what’s going on and what has to happen in order to get a financial recovery.
Make Sure The Accident is Subject to an Independent Investigation
Most personal injury cases involve an insurance company or two. Insurers will not want to pay more than they have to – or anything at all – after an accident. So, you can be certain that they’ll investigate to find any reason to deny a claim for benefits. This investigation will be thorough and likely aided by several experts.
That’s a huge advantage for insurers, especially considering that the average person doesn’t have the same resources or connections. But, you know who does? A personal injury lawyer. An attorney can make sure that an accident is also subject to an investigation that’s independent of state agencies or insurance adjusters. This attorney-driven investigation can help to level the playing field.
Stop Insurance Companies From Taking Advantage of an Accident Victim
Insurance companies tend to have an upper hand and advantage when dealing directly with accident victims. These insurers handle thousands and thousands of claims every year. In fact, they designed the processes and know how to tip things in their favor. Insurers are also well-aware that the average person doesn’t have a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of the law, relevant procedures, or their legal rights. At the same time, accidents are quite stressful.
So, insurers will go to great lengths to take advantage of all of these things. A company might deny a claim altogether, hoping that a plaintiff gives up and walks away with nothing. Others might offer a quick settlement that’s attached to a clock, in an effort to scare them into accepting way less money than their case is really worth.
When a personal injury lawyer enters the picture, things change. Insurers aren’t able to rely on their old manipulative tricks and tactics. Instead, they’ll have to communicate and negotiate with someone who has extensive training and experience.
Bring in Experts to Assist in the Valuation of a Claim
Again, insurance companies aren’t on an accident victim’s side. Their sole interest is in protecting their bottom line and increasing profits. That’s diametrically opposed to paying out cash to accident victims. So, insurers will put a lot of time and effort into assessing the value of a claim. You can be certain that they’ll do everything in their power to assess a value that’s as low as possible.
So, the last thing an accident victim should do is allow insurance companies to unilaterally decide what their case is worth. This can be accomplished by hiring an attorney who has experience handling personal injury cases. Most lawyers work hard to establish professional relationships with experts in their local area, including:
- Accident reconstructionists
- Medical experts
- Psychiatric experts
- Property assessors and appraisers
- Vocational experts
- Engineering experts
- Manufacturing experts, and more.
These professionals can review information and evidence related to a case and provide invaluable insight about:
- Why an accident probably happened,
- The victim’s injuries,
- How those injuries will likely impact the victim’s life, today and in the future, and
- What the victim’s damages are likely worth.
Attorneys can rely on expert testimony and input to support claims for compensation. This approach can help to ensure that all damages are calculated properly, increasing the odds of securing a fair settlement or award.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement Offer
Insurance companies would much rather negotiate a settlement with an accident victim than opposing counsel. When a plaintiff is represented by a lawyer, insurance companies have a much more challenging road ahead. They won’t be able to extend a lowball offer and hope the technique works. Instead, they’ll have to come up with a legitimate offer that will be given serious consideration.
That’s because personal injury lawyers are skilled in the art of negotiation. They know what steps must be taken to obtain a fair and meaningful settlement offer from an insurance company or at-fault party. A personal injury lawyer can ultimately be the difference between a meaningful recovery and little-to-no money, at all.
Litigate a Claim in Court, If Necessary
Most personal injury cases end with a private settlement between two parties. However, there’s always a chance that the two sides won’t agree on a deal and a case might have to go to a judge and/or jury. That’s probably the last thing an insurance company wants, especially if the claimant is represented by an attorney. Insurance companies don’t fare particularly well in court. Juries are often reluctant to side with insurers when an accident victim is hurting and their lawyer makes a strong case.
A personal injury lawyer knows that there’s always a chance that a case will go to trial. So, personal injury lawyers spend time honing skills and learning the rules that might apply, should they have to go to court. A skilled trial attorney knows how to explain complicated legal theories to a lay audience, paint a picture for the jurors, and get them on their injured client’s side.
Provide Emotional Support and Assistance
At the end of the day, personal injury lawsuits and insurance claims can be really stressful. That’s on top of the stress that accompanies the injuries and trauma of an unexpected accident. A personal injury lawyer can offer invaluable support and guidance at one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. A lawyer can handle every aspect of a legal case, giving the client the time they need to focus on themselves without distraction. Many times, that opportunity can make a world of difference – in the client’s financial, mental, physical recoveries.