How to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

When you’ve been injured in an accident or due to someone else’s negligence, figuring out how to hire a personal injury lawyer should be a top priority. After seeking medical attention, your next move should be to seek legal representation.

Even though that’s your next step, please keep in mind that not all personal injury attorneys are created equally. You don’t want to hire a lawyer who doesn’t think your case deserves their full attention and messes up your opportunity for a positive outcome.

Just how do you find the right lawyer to present your case? Here are some tips.

Selecting a Personal Injury Attorney

When choosing your lawyer, consider these factors:

  • Experience
  • Reputation
  • Track record
  • Specialization

Don’t be embarrassed to speak with multiple attorneys.

Meeting with them helps you gauge their competence. It is your right and responsibility to find a lawyer with a great record of handling your type of case. Therefore, specialization matters. Medical malpractice cases differ from those involving injury in a car accident.

Your commitment to finding the right attorney, combined with that attorney’s know-how, can reduce your stress in the long run and result in fair compensation for your losses. Ultimately, you want an attorney who is a good communicator and problem solver.

The Importance of a Strong Attorney/Client Relationship

Attorneys use communication and trust to build strong client relationships. If your attorney makes you feel valued and secure, that makes you a happier client and more willing to trust the person handling your case.

Also, an attorney who keeps a client updated on the progress of the case and responds promptly to calls and messages creates an open line of communication.

Be certain you choose a lawyer who accommodates your style of communication. If you prefer emails, calls, or face-to-face interactions, make sure your attorney will take the time to interact with you using that method.

Steps to Take After Your Initial Consultations

Injury victim sits at desk in front of computer and holds up two different booklets to compare two attorneys and decide which one to hire after doing initial research.

Compare the attorneys you’ve consulted, trim your list to a few top options, and decide on the one with whom you’d like to proceed.

Make sure you understand the fees the attorney will charge if your case is won.

Once you have decided, you will sign a contingency contract; this officially establishes your attorney/client relationship.

What to Expect Once You’ve Hired a Personal Injury Lawyer

Now, the process of building your case begins. Your lawyer will use resources to investigate the circumstances of your injury by gathering and analyzing evidence, reviewing your medical records, contacting insurance companies, and calculating financial losses that resulted from the accident.

Your attorney could potentially negotiate a settlement once both parties gather all the appropriate information. If those negotiations fail, expect your lawyer to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial. Your lawyer’s sole responsibility is to get you every single penny you deserve.

Hiring a lawyer for your personal injury case is simply that – personal. Make sure the lawyer you hire is a good fit.

Personally speak with the lawyer who will manage your case. If they can’t take the time to personally discuss your case, then they may not give your case the attention it deserves later on. Their complete focus should be on securing a win for you.

If you need an experienced and focused personal injury law firm to handle your case, please call the law office of

Stafford and Heafner Personal Injury Law Firm Spartanburg, SC for a free consultation. We can help.

HOW CAN I FIND A REALLY GOOD LAWYER FOR WHAT I NEED?

how to find a good lawyerSomething unfortunate has happened, and your solution involves our legal system.  However, you may not be sure where to begin or who you can trust to get the help you need.  While you probably do need an attorney, searching for legal help may seem overwhelming.

In fact, there is good reason to feel overwhelmed. There are approximately 6,000 lawyers in Sacramento County alone, which is just one of 58 counties in California.  There are also thousands of national firms that advertise in the region, various subscription legal help plans, and countless online legal resources.

Where to begin? Let’s look at some steps to finding the legal assistance you need:

DO YOU REALLY NEED AN ATTORNEY?

Most of us are tempted by a DIY project that might save us money. With so much information online, individuals may be able to reasonably handle certain, straightforward situations on their own, such as:

  • Writing a letter to a company that provided substandard service may resolve your dispute.
  • Limited damage amounts might be appropriate for small claims court, where attorneys are generally not allowed.
  • Minor, non-injury car accidents can typically be managed between representing insurance companies.
  • With employment situations, you may need to exhaust options available to you directly with your employer and/or file a formal labor board complaint before being formally represented by an attorney.

However, there are many important reasons to consider hiring an attorney, including:

  • The other side has retained legal counsel, putting you at a disadvantage.
  • You are facing criminal charges and could go to jail.
  • You feel unprepared and uncomfortable with navigating the legal process, dealing with the court system, or understanding legal rules, terms, documents, and procedures.
  • Your situation is complicated. This includes a contentious divorce, larger estates, adoption, and complex business matters.
  • Bodily injury is involved.
  • Some types of cases do not allow pro se (meaning “for yourself”) legal representation. For example, a pro se litigant is not allowed to act as a class representative in a class action lawsuit.

The risks of legal self-representation can be also costly. Common challenges with taking legal action on your own without an attorney include:

  • Case-Specific Rules – Despite the wealth of information on the internet, there are numerous procedures and rules that apply to any given legal case. For instance, if a statute of limitation (a time limit for pursuing a case) is not met, you may lose your right to file a complaint altogether.
  • Lack of Expertise — A competent lawyer has invaluable training and experience about the law as it relates to you, the legal process, and interacting with the court system. Lack of expertise can be a serious downfall in a complex situation.
  • Unknown Rights – Your rights can easily be infringed upon if you aren’t aware of them. If the other side has legal representation, they can and will take advantage of this.
  • High Stakes – Having an expert on your side is critical when you have a lot on the line. Losing your case may have life-changing consequences.
  • Focus – When you represent yourself, you are acting as both the client and the attorney, requiring all of the time commitment, availability, emotional control, communication abilities, and resources that might be involved.
  • Negotiations – Simply having legal representation paves the way for stronger negotiations, and your lawyer will know what constitutes a good deal and will make informed recommendations.

If your legal situation seems overwhelming, consider speaking with a lawyer. Some law firms offer a free case evaluation or a low-cost initial consultation.

WHAT TYPE OF LAW APPLIES TO YOUR SITUATION?

If you think you need legal representation, the next step is determining the type of attorney to best help with your particular problem.

There are specialty areas of law, just like with medicine. For instance, you wouldn’t consult with a brain surgeon about a broken toe!

Similar to a physician, a skilled attorney focuses on a certain scope of law. There are nearly 20 major areas of law practice, with numerous subspecialties within each area. Here a just a few examples:

  • Family Law – issues involving domestic partners and family units, such as divorce, adoption, alimony, and child custody.
  • Criminal Law – related to violation of laws and punishment or rehabilitation of the offender.
  • Personal Injury – negligence that results in harm to an individual, such as a vehicle collision, unsafe environment, or dangerous product.
  • Labor/Employment Law – relations between workers and their employers, including wage theft, harassment, and wrongful termination.

In many legal fields, lawyers specialize in representation of one side: the plaintiff (the party who is filing a legal case against another) or the defendant (the party against whom the complaint is made).

If you were hurt in a car accident, you would be a plaintiff – filing a legal complaint about the driver who hit you. Your ideal attorney would have experience representing victims and pursuing cases against reckless drivers and their insurance companies. The negligent driver would be the defendant. Generally, defense attorneys for car accidents are hired by the insurance company, not the individual driver.

Online legal articles and resources are a great way to get a basic understanding of what type of law you are dealing with, so you know what type of law firm you should contact.

A lawyer that practices law in many different areas may know a little about a lot, but will not be well-equipped to handle a case with complex issues or aggressive opposition. A lawyer that specializes in a limited area will have a deeper understanding of your legal options, a broader range of relevant resources, and established connections within the applicable court system.

Here at the Arnold Law Firm, we have legal teams with expertise in handling personal injury, employment law, class action, and qui tam cases. We take pride in aggressively representing our clients who have been injured, have witnessed fraud, or were wrongfully terminated from their jobs — but we would not be the firm to pick for your divorce or bankruptcy!

The bigger your reason for legal help, the more important it is to select the right attorney with experience dealing with your specific need.

HOW DO YOU SELECT THE RIGHT ATTORNEY FOR YOU?

Now that you have a general idea of type of law that applies to your situation, there are several factors to consider to help choose a law firm that is a good fit for you.

COMPETENCY

Naturally, you want to hire a law firm that has a history of success in handling cases similar to yours. You can verify their competency and expertise in several ways:

  • Recommendations – Ask your friends and family members if they have used an attorney who specializes in the field of law you need. You can also read online reviews.
  • Results – Most law firms publish examples of case results and/or testimonial statements on their website. Make sure the firm has successfully handled cases that sound like yours. If you think your case may need to go to trial, find out how much trial experience the firm has and the judgments or verdicts they have won.
  • State Bar Profile – Every lawyer licensed to practice must be listed in their state’s bar association directory. For California, you can check the State Bar of California website to see whether an attorney is in good standing.

STAYING POWER

Some types of cases can take months or even years to resolve for various reasons, such as evidence gathering, delays with scheduling courtroom proceedings, negotiations, and trial. Your law firm must have the resources, staff, and experience to manage the demands of your case. An established law firm with a successful history will be better able to meet the needs of larger, more complex cases.

COST

The way legal services are billed varies between areas of law. For instance, a family law practice typically charges an upfront retainer before beginning representation, while a personal injury law firm usually works on a contingency, or a percentage of the money they obtain for you.

Research what rates are common for the type of legal services you need. Your law firm should explain their cost structure clearly and answer any questions you may have before you hire them.

COMMUNICATION

Because legal proceedings take time, attorneys work on multiple cases over that span of time. It is important that your lawyer has an effective legal team to collaborate with for overall case management. Make sure there are multiple contacts that you can communicate with about your case. There may be times when you interact more regularly with a paralegal or case manager than your attorney.

Legal cases are often associated with life-altering events. Your law firm should be there to advise and support you through your case.

Look for a law firm that treats you with respect and is interested in understanding and addressing your individual needs. Having a situation that is significant enough to require legal representation is stressful by itself. Your law firm should be willing to explain the legal process and how it may impact you, so you feel informed when making decisions.

If you have a legal need within our areas of practice at the Stafford And Heafner Personal Injury Law firm, we would be happy to help. We will evaluate your case at no cost and no obligation.

Finding The Right Attorney For You

Having the right attorney can be the difference between securing a settlement or suffering under the weight of medical bills and lost wages following an accident. Whether you were involved in a car crash, suffered a slip and fall, or were involved in any other form of accident, choosing the right personal injury lawyer is a critical decision.

However, choosing a personal injury lawyer does not need to be as complex as you may think. At Weinstein Legal, our trusted personal injury attorneys have connected with countless clients in need of legal representation. Now, we want to help you, by providing our complete guide to hiring a personal injury lawyer near me that is right for you.

1. DETERMINE THE AREA OF LAW YOU NEED AN EXPERT IN

If you don’t know where to start when looking for an attorney, you’re not alone. To begin, figure out the broad area of law that you need an expert in. If you’ve been injured in an accident that was either not your fault, or you were not fully responsible for, you’ll be looking for a trusted personal injury lawyer. In this case, you’ve come to the right place!

Personal injury lawyers fight for clients’ rights to recover damages they sustained in accidents caused by negligent individuals. This can be auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and more. Focus on finding an attorney that has extensive experience in the practice area that you need. For instance, if you sustained injuries in a car crash, look for an experienced car crash attorney.

2. SEARCH FOR LEGITIMATE, LICENSED ATTORNEYS

Next, you’ll want to search for legitimate, licensed attorneys in your area. Refrain from typing in something like “car accident lawyer” into Google. While this might turn up qualified attorneys in your area, you’ll also get a flurry of paid results for lawyers that might not have the best skill set, but had the best budget to advertise.

Instead, you’ll want to consider a lawyer’s experience. Search within the Florida state bar’s association, or search professional organizations based on the specialty you need. Look at the minimum requirements for inclusion into whichever professional organizations they belong to, and check to see if they are board certified in the practice area that applies to your situation.

This can also provide key insights into judicial connections. Participation in local bar associations or contributing to campaigns is an indicator that the attorney is very involved in the local legal culture.

3. LOOK OUT FOR A DISCIPLINE HISTORY

You want an attorney with a clean track record. The easiest way to find one? The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation operates the Attorney Consumer Assistance Program, which administers a statewide disciplinary system. To search public record information regarding any Florida Bar attorney, visit the Florida Bar website.

If you stumble across an attorney with a discipline history, you might want to steer clear. Being noted means that the attorney in question “has received a professional discipline for violating the rules,” by the Florida Bar.

4. SCOPE OUT SIZE AND RESOURCES

Firm age, size, experience, and connections with doctors and medical expert witnesses relevant to your case are all important in a personal injury case. But, don’t be quick to eliminate small firms. While larger firms may have frequent advertising on billboards or radio spots, they will also most likely have larger price tags to meet their costs, and you may receive less personal attention to your case.

Look for firms with a collection of reviews, connections, and referrals from other lawyers in the area.

5. REVIEW PAST CLIENT REVIEWS

Think of client reviews as a chance to test drive an attorney before committing to scheduling a consultation. Past client reviews are an opportunity to get a feel of how personable the attorney is – did his or her past clients recommend him? Did they have an issue coming to agreements on key aspects of the case?

Again, the attorney-client relationship is a personal one. Past clients should have felt comfortable with the attorney, and felt reassured and confident in their skills. Past client reviews will also provide insight into an attorney’s negotiation ability and experience with your type of case. Remember that online reviews are the new word of mouth. You can get a great sense of an attorney based on Facebook, directories, and lawyer-matching services like Avvo.

At this point, it would be in your best judgement to narrow down your possible options to 3-5 attorneys. From here, you can look at each attorney more closely, getting a better feel of them individually and on a first-person basis.

6. CALL THE OFFICE TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION

While you can find a decent amount of information about an attorney online, many questions will need to be asked in person or via the phone. We recommend that you call the attorneys you’ve selected to set up an appointment. Likewise, most attorneys offer a free case evaluation form, such as the one on the right-hand side of your screen.

These forms can be incredibly beneficial when you’re looking for an expert opinion on a case. Simply input your name, email address, phone number, and key details about your case. As opposed to needing to pick up a phone yourself, free case evaluation forms are a request for the attorney’s office to call you. Plus, when the office calls they’ll already know the key facts of your case, such as if you were harmed in an auto accident or suffered a slip and fall.

The outcome of these forms is the same as if you placed the call yourself: an appointment is set for a free consultation. With the most basic details out of the way, you can focus on other deciding factors, such as if the receptionist on the line made you feel welcomed or if you felt comfortable discussing your case with them.

7. COME PREPARED WITH QUESTIONS

Personal injury attorneys at Weinstein Legal, will typically provide a free consultation to discuss the details of your claim. During the consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions that can help you decide if you would like to move forward, or if you should check out the other attorneys on your list.

You’ll most likely begin your consultation by discussing your claim: the main reason you’re even in the attorney’s office in the first place.

  • Have you tried these types of personal injury cases before?
  • Have you tried or settled similar cases in my city or county?
  • Do you have the time necessary to actually work on my case right now?
  • If not you, who will be responsible for my case?
  • How will you let me know what is happening in my case?
  • What is your negotiation history? Do you think we will need to go to trial?
  • What is your comfort going to trial? Do we have other options?
  • What will my participation in the claim be?
  • What is your contingency fee and costs? Will I be responsible for any advanced costs if we lose?
  • What do you believe is the likely outcome of my case?

 

8. RATE YOUR COMFORT

Above all, be sure to take note of your comfort with the attorney while you discuss claim details and he or she answers your questions. If you sense hesitation or doubt their truthfulness, trust your gut and move on. If you feel you can easily collaborate and trust in the attorney, this is a good indicator that you have met your match.

Remember, the success of your case will not just rest with how skilled your attorney is, but also how well you two work with one another. Comfort is key to a successful relationship.

9. REVIEW YOUR OPTIONS

Once you’ve met with the attorneys that remained on your list, take the time to review your choices. While you won’t want to spend the next month weighing your options, it would benefit you to at least sleep on the decision.

Consider what you’ve learned in your initial consultation. Does the attorney have experience in the specialty you need? Are you comfortable with their track record? What about their past client reviews? Take all you’ve learned into account before making any decisions.

10. SIGN A CONTINGENCY FEE AGREEMENT

Congratulations! Bearing in mind all of the information you’ve learned, you should be ready to hire an attorney. Your next step will be to sign a contingency fee agreement with your attorney of choice, which will outline the terms of your working relationship as well as any fees.

At the end of the day, you want the best possible chances of receiving compensation for your injuries. Those chances come when you work with a lawyer who is dependable, honest, and determined to fight for your rights. At Weinstein Legal, our dedicated attorneys are vigilant in their pursuit of compensation for our clients, and always keep an open channel of communication.

If you’re on the hunt for a new attorney, bear in mind these tips before making any decisions. Contact Staffordandheafner.com to set up your free consultation today.

 

Common Kinds of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury law (also known as “tort” law) lets an injured person get compensation when someone else’s wrongful conduct (negligence or an intentional act) causes harm. There are a variety of situations that can give rise to a valid personal injury claim, but remember that an injury doesn’t automatically result in legal liability. Let’s look at some of the most common kinds of personal injury cases.

Car Accident Cases

Car accidents spur the most personal injury cases in the United States. When an accident happens, usually it’s because someone isn’t following the rules of the road, or isn’t driving as carefully as he or she should be. A careless driver can (usually) be held financially and responsible for injuries stemming from a car accident. Exceptions do exist in the dozen or so “no-fault” states, where drivers have to collect from their own insurers except in cases of “serious” injury. Learn more about car accident injury cases.

Slip and Fall Cases

Slip and fall claims are another common types of personal injury case. Property owners (or, in some cases, those who are renting the property) have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and free of hazards so that people who are on the property do not become injured. Of course, not all injuries that occur on the property will lead to liability. The exact nature of a landowner’s legal duty varies depending on the situation and according to the law in place in the state where the injury occurred.

See some examples of slip and fall injury cases and learn what you need to prove in a slip and fall case.

Medical Malpractice

medical malpractice claim can arise when a doctor or other health care professional provides a treatment that falls below the appropriate medical standard of care, and a patient is injured as a result. But it’s important to keep in mind that getting a bad result in the treatment setting doesn’t mean malpractice occurred. Learn more about when it’s medical malpractice (and when it isn’t) and why medical malpractice cases are tough to win.

Defamation: Libel and Slander

Defamation in the form of libel or slander refers to an injury to a person’s reputation as a result of untrue statements. The exact nature of what a defamation plaintiff must prove will vary depending on who the plaintiff is, and the forum where the statement was made. The average person usually just needs to prove that an untrue negative statement was made and that actual harm (financial loss) came from it. Celebrities or public figures, on the other hand, usually need to prove “actual malice.” This means they need to prove that the untrue statement was made either intentionally or with reckless disregard to the truth of the statement. Learn more about the legal elements of libel and slander.

Dog Bites

In most cases, the owners of a dog are financially responsible for bites and other injuries caused by the dog. The exact laws on owner responsibility vary from state to state, though. In some cases, strict liability rules exist and the dog owner is going to be liable for dog bite damages even if the dog has never shown any aggression or propensity to bite in the past. In other states, “one bite” rules exist, in which owners only become responsible for personal injury damages once there is a reason for those owners to know their dog is aggressive or prone to biting (like a previous history of bites.) Learn more about “one bite” versus “strict” liability in dog bite cases.

Assault, Battery, and Other Intentional Torts

Unlike most other types of personal injury claims, intentional torts are not based on accidents caused by negligence or carelessness, but rather when one person harms or injures another on purpose. These cases can involve the added aspect of a criminal case against the perpetrator. For example, when one person physically attacks another, he or she may face criminal charges. Additionally, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court and demand compensation for injuries resulting from the attack. Learn more about intentional torts.

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

Motor Vehicle Accident. Each year millions of people are injured, sometimes fatally, in motor vehicle accidents. In 2009 alone, over 2.2 million people were injured and 33,000 killed in accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, and bike riders. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, either as a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your personal injuries and financial loss. An experienced car and truck accident attorney will protect your rights throughout the legal process. Click here to visit our Car Accident Information Center for additional information and resources.

Medical Malpractice. The negligence of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other medical professionals can, and often do cause serious injuries. There are many different types of medical malpractice, including misdiagnosis, improper treatment, surgical errors, medication mistakes, pharmacy errors, birth injury (errors committed during the delivery of a child), and failure to diagnose cancer or other serious health conditions. Medical malpractice cases are complex and require the expertise of a medical malpractice attorney. If you have been injured or lost a loved at the hands of a medical professional, it is crucial to retain an experienced attorney who can promptly evaluate the potential malpractice and, if necessary, aggressively pursue legal action to compensate your for your injuries and loss. Click here to visit our Medical Malpractice Information Center for additional information and resources.

Wrongful Death. As its name implies, the term “wrongful death” describes a type of lawsuit that may be brought when someone has been killed due to someone else’s carelessness. Most wrongful death suits arising out of car and truck crashes, nursing home neglect, medical malpractice, construction accidents, airplane accidents, or the use of a defective or dangerous product. A “wrongful death” lawsuit allows for the recovery of damages that are unique and different from those available when someone suffers non-fatal injuries. Click here to visit our Wrongful Death Information Center for additional information and resources.

Workplace Accident. When someone is injured or killed while working for their employer, they generally are not allowed to bring a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Instead, the injured employee must institute a claim under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, which requires employers to provide various benefits to their injured workers. These include medical treatment, “temporary total disability” (i.e., wages), and a lump-sum payment, otherwise known as “permanent partial disability,” to compensate the injured worker for his or her injuries. Workers’ compensation law varies from state to state and has many potential obstacles and pitfalls. An experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney will guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected. Click here to visit our Workers’ Compensation Information Center for additional information and resources.

Premises Liability. “Premises liability” refers to accidents caused by a dangerous or defective condition on someone’s land. These accidents can occur almost anywhere, from commercial properties such as grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, malls, and retail stores, to a neighbor’s home or a public or private swimming pool. A wide range of defective or dangerous conditions can give rise to a “premises liability” claim, ranging from falling down a staircase because of a missing handrail to tripping over an obstacle or slipping on a spill in a walkway or aisle, to getting bitten by a dog, among many others. It is critical to document the dangerous or defective condition as soon after the accident as possible. A personal injury attorney will help you do this and protect your rights throughout the legal process. Click here for additional information and resources.

Products LiabilityDangerous and defective products can cause serious injury in the home, in public places, and at work. Improper warnings and operation manuals can also lead to injuries. Examples of harmful products include dangerous drugs, food, consumer products, and children’s products; defective vehicle parts and medical devices; and toxic materials and chemicals. Responsible parties can be individuals, businesses, or government entities who sold, designed, manufactured, or marketed a dangerous or defective product. If you have been injured by an unsafe product, it is important to contact an experienced attorney to evaluate the harmful product, identify the responsible parties, and ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. Click here for additional information and resources.

Other Types of Personal Injury Cases. These include nursing home abuse or neglect; aviation and boating accidents; animal and dog bites; brain, birth, burn, and spinal cord injuries; other catastrophic accidents and injuries; food poisoning; asbestos exposure and mesothelioma; legal malpractice.

Common Kinds of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury law (also known as “tort” law) lets an injured person get compensation when someone else’s wrongful conduct (negligence or an intentional act) causes harm. There are a variety of situations that can give rise to a valid personal injury claim, but remember that an injury doesn’t automatically result in legal liability. Let’s look at some of the most common kinds of personal injury cases.

Car Accident Cases

Car accidents spur the most personal injury cases in the United States. When an accident happens, usually it’s because someone isn’t following the rules of the road, or isn’t driving as carefully as he or she should be. A careless driver can (usually) be held financially and responsible for injuries stemming from a car accident. Exceptions do exist in the dozen or so “no fault” states, where drivers have to collect from their own insurers except in cases of “serious” injury. Learn more about car accident injury cases.The 7 Most Common Types of Personal Injury Cases | Will & Will

Slip and Fall Cases

Slip and fall claims are another common type of personal injury case. Property owners (or, in some cases, those who are renting property) have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and free of hazards, so that people who are on the property do not become injured. Of course, not all injuries that occur on the property will lead to liability. The exact nature of a landowner’s legal duty varies depending on the situation and according to the law in place in the state where the injury occurred.

See some examples of slip and fall injury cases and learn what you need to prove in a slip and fall case.

Medical Malpractice

A medical malpractice claim can arise when a doctor or other health care professional provides treatment that falls below the appropriate medical standard of care, and a patient is injured as a result. But it’s important to keep in mind that getting a bad result in the treatment setting doesn’t mean malpractice occurred. Learn more about when it’s medical malpractice (and when it isn’t) and why medical malpractice cases are tough to win.

Defamation: Libel and Slander

Defamation in the form of libel or slander refers to an injury to a person’s reputation as a result of untrue statements. The exact nature of what a defamation plaintiff must prove will vary depending on who the plaintiff is, and the forum where the statement was made. The average person usually just needs to prove that an untrue negative statement was made and that actual harm (financial loss) came from it. Celebrities or public figures, on the other hand, usually need to prove “actual malice.” This means they need to prove that the untrue statement was made either intentionally or with reckless disregard to the truth of the statement. Learn more about the legal elements of libel and slander.

Dog Bites

In most cases, the owners of a dog are financially responsible for bites and other injuries caused by the dog. The exact laws on owner responsibility vary from state to state, though. In some cases, strict liability rules exist and the dog owner is going to be liable for dog bite damages even if the dog has never shown any aggression or propensity to bite in the past. In other states, “one bite” rules exist, in which owners only become responsible for personal injury damages once there is a reason for those owners to know their dog is aggressive or prone to biting (like a previous history of bites.) Learn more about “one bite” versus “strict” liability in dog bite cases.

Assault, Battery and Other Intentional Torts

Unlike most other types of personal injury claims, intentional torts are not based on accidents caused by negligence or carelessness, but rather when one person harms or injures another on purpose. These cases can involve the added aspect of a criminal case against the perpetrator. For example, when one person physically attacks another, he or she may face criminal charges. Additionally, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court and demand compensation for injuries resulting from the attack. Learn more about intentional torts.

WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You should hire a personal injury lawyer whenever you are injured in an accident or through negligence or wrongdoing.

 A personal injury lawyer helps you seek compensation for your injuries.

A lawyer also protects your best interests against aggressive insurance companies and large corporations who want to avoid paying fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

If you are unsure whether you need to hire a personal injury attorney, this article gives you information to help you decide.

Some personal injury cases do not require an attorney’s assistance. However, it can be helpful to have someone with legal knowledge and experience handling injury claims review your case. An attorney explains your legal rights and tells you whether you could benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer.

No two personal injury cases are alike. However, some situations indicate you may need to hire a personal injury lawyer. Below are five situations that indicate you need to talk with a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible.

SIX SITUATIONS THAT INDICATE YOU NEED TO HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY

Six questions to ask yourself if you are unsure whether to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your claim:

1.  IS LIABILITY FOR THE ACCIDENT DISPUTED?

Accident victims must prove that the other party’s negligence, errors, or wrongdoing caused the victim’s injuries. For example, if you cannot prove that the other driver caused your car accident or pedestrian accident, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries. If the other party disputes liability, contact a personal injury attorney immediately.

The attorney conducts a thorough investigation to determine how your injury occurred and who is responsible. Your lawyer gathers evidence and develops a legal strategy for proving liability.

2.  ARE YOU BEING BLAMED FOR CONTRIBUTING TO THE CAUSE OF YOUR INJURY?

The other party’s insurance company might accept liability, but it could claim that you contributed to the cause of your accident. For instance, the insurance company might claim that you were speeding at the time of your motorcycle accident. Therefore, you are partially at fault for the cause of the crash, even though the other driver failed to yield the right of way.

New York’s contributory negligence laws state that your compensation for an injury claim can be reduced by the proportion of your conduct that contributed to the accident.

In other words, if you are judged to be 50 percent at fault for the cause of your bicycle accident, the money you receive for your claim is reduced by one-half.

Insurance companies often use contributory negligence allegations to lower the amount they must pay to resolve a claim. An attorney understands how to fight these unfounded allegations.

3.  ARE MULTIPLE PARTIES INVOLVED?

When multiple parties are involved in a personal injury case, you can benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer. Medical malpractice claimsconstruction accidents, multi-vehicle accidents, and product liability claims are examples of cases generally involving multiple parties.

Attorneys have the experience necessary to deal with the additional issues raised in cases involving multiple defendants. As the parties argue about who is responsible for causing your injuries, your lawyer develops a case that protects you.

Having multiple parties involved can mean more money for you.

However, it can also mean a more prolonged, more complicated, and challenging fight.

4.  DID YOU SUSTAIN A TRAUMATIC INJURY OR PERMANENT DISABILITY?

Personal injury cases involving traumatic injuries and permanent disabilities have issues that are not common in other cases. For example, if you sustain a disabling condition because of a defective product, you could require ongoing medical care. You might be unable to work for the rest of your life.

Because of your disability or impairment, you will incur future damages.

Future damages could total millions of dollars over your lifetime, depending on your age, disability, and other factors. An attorney can retain medical, financial, and economic experts to assist in placing a value on your future damages to ensure you receive the maximum value for your injury claim.

Traumatic injury cases often involve high-dollar settlements.

Insurance companies aggressively fight to lower the value of these claims to avoid losses. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands how to document damages and maximize the value of pain and suffering damages improves your chance of recovering the compensation you deserve after an injury.

5.  IS THE INSURANCE COMPANY ACTING IN BAD FAITH?

The insurance company for the other party is not interested in compensating you for your injuries and damages. If possible, the company would like to get out of paying you anything for your claim. Therefore, some insurance companies act in bad faith when dealing with individuals.

For example, the company may try to drag out your claim so that the statute of limitations expires and you lose your right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Other ways that an insurance company might act in bad faith include:

  • Failing to investigate a claim
  • Requiring unnecessary and burdensome paperwork to process a claim
  • Refusing to pay a valid claim
  • Raising false allegations of contributory negligence
  • Misrepresenting the terms of the insurance policy
  • Intentionally misleading a victim about the victim’s legal rights

There are many ways that an insurance company could act in bad faith. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with various insurance tactics, and they understand the laws related to personal injury claims.

Insurance companies are less likely to act in bad faith when a lawyer is representing an accident victim. 

If an insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement for your accident claim, your lawyer can proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, the mere threat of a lawsuit is sufficient to encourage the insurance company and the other parties involved in the claim to agree to a fair and reasonable settlement.

6.  DOES THE CLAIM INVOLVE A GOVERNMENT ENTITY?

Suing the government for a personal injury claim is much more complicated than the average injury claim. Governments are protected from liability in many cases. However, there are exceptions.

If you are injured in a train accidentbus accidentsubway accident, call a lawyer immediately. The time to file a claim against the government is shorter than the deadline for filing other claims. Whenever an injury claim involves a government entity, it is best to have an experienced lawyer handling the claim.

ONE LAST THING TO CONSIDER WHEN HIRING A LAWYER

The at-fault party’s insurance company has a huge team of professionals working for it to protect it from liability. None of these parties are on your side. The claims adjusters, investigators, and lawyers working for the insurance company are working against your best interests.

It is not a fair game. You need to even the playing field by hiring a legal team to fight for just and fair compensation for your personal injury claim. You deserve to have someone who is only concerned about your best interest on your side.

The Importance of Personal Injury Clients and Lawyers to Size Each Other Up

Choosing a lawyer for your personal injury or wrongful death case is a decision that is similar to picking a partner for marriage. It may be a long relationship and it is always one that commands the two parties, the attorney, and the client, to trust each other. If one party does not trust the other, the common goal of justice cannot be obtained. This is because justice without trust in the result is no justice at all.

9 Factors to Consider When Choosing Personal Injury Lawyers - Ivey Law  Firm, P.C.

I am writing this entry to encourage face-to-face interaction with those seeking legal representation and the actual lawyer who would be trusted with that case. My biggest competitors are out-of-town, big-city lawyers who, in my estimation, rarely actually meet with the injured/aggrieved parties in my area. So it is no surprise that I often get calls from nearby clients of these lawyers telling me that they are not happy with their lawyer because they don’t know what is going on with their case and they do not trust in what they are being told. I always encourage these folks to try to work it out with these lawyers and I do press them to seek a face-to-face meeting, as that nearly always satisfies client concern, at least for the short term.

I know a lot of my competitors, and I will say that most of them are very good lawyers and that their firms are usually reputable. But, to me, there is no substitute for the old-fashioned face-to-face meeting. And I do believe there is still something important in the ability to look someone in the eye.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein

How to Prepare for Your Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney

Before I talk about the benefits of personal interaction for personal injury clients, I want to stress the benefit of the lawyer to meet with the client. I nearly always demand to meet with my potential clients face-to-face before my attorney-client relationship begins. I’ve been doing this long enough to be able to identify most potential trust issues early on. For example, when I ask a potential client if they’ve ever had the medical condition that they are complaining of now and they either look down or away, fidget, leave moisture on my glass table, and they answer “no,” then I know to pause and inquire further. I advise them that it does not usually matter if they did have prior issues and that I value trust over preexisting injuries in my clients. If they persist in their denial, I have other methods of verifying the truth, but if I get a bad feeling about a potential client, I will turn down cases on that alone. If I can’t trust my client in the initial meeting, I realize that a jury may have a hard time trusting them at trial.

For injured victims of negligence in Ohio, choosing a personal injury lawyer is easy. If you are in a car accident, your mailbox will likely be flooded with mailings with catchy phrases, DVDs, and all kinds of letters from lawyers all over the state. You can be in Portsmouth, call a lawyer in Toledo, and have a lawyer at your doorstep in a matter of a few hours, or less. But choosing a personal injury lawyer you trust is something entirely different. In the instance of this traveling Toledo lawyer, you will likely never see this person again. He or she is probably just a runner, paid to sign you up as a client. Who is actually handling your case – – at all stages, is a whole other story. While you may still get quality representation, you won’t be able to lock in trust because you will likely feel a void in the relationship.

When new clients don’t meet with the actual lawyer will end up handling their case, they are many times deprived of judging sincerity, which goes directly towards how that person can rely on the lawyer. Meeting with the actual lawyer on your case can also give you the opportunity to judge for yourself that lawyer’s commitment to your case, which goes hand-in-hand with whether you believe that person has integrity. Lastly, by meeting face-to-face with your lawyer, you can judge for yourself their competency and whether you feel they will be consistent in providing results.

How Long Does It Takes for a Medical Malpractice Case to Settle?

If you don’t like the lawyer you meet with, move on to the next one. Because if you don’t like them, a potential juror might not, either, and it is important that you find someone you feel comfortable talking to. And to me, there is no substitute for sharing a cup of coffee with the folks I’ve asked to trust me.

4 Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident

Thousands of car accidents happen across the country every day. Suffering an injury after a car accident can have a traumatic effect on your life. The economic consequences of a car accident can be devastating, even with adequate health insurance and auto coverage. Other costs might include lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and home modifications. If another driver’s negligence caused your car accident and subsequent injury, you might be able to build a personal injury claim against them. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with the process of obtaining the compensation you deserve. Let’s go over some of the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer after your car accident.10 Things Your Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do for You - Dailey Law Firm

 

Your Lawyer will Talk to Insurance Companies

One of the most important jobs your attorney will handle is talking to the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf. Many insurance companies are focused on minimizing payouts to victims and will do whatever possible to dismiss the value of a claim or deny it altogether. Our skilled attorneys have good relationships with many insurance providers, and they know how to counter any attempts to deny claims unfairly.

You Can Focus on Your Health

Building a convincing personal injury claim is tedious and challenging. You may need to gather medical records, eyewitness reports, interview specialists and experts, secure official police reports, track your expenses, calculate future costs, and negotiate for a settlement. Keeping track of these tasks is exhausting and overwhelming for clients. You can focus on getting better while our experienced team handles everything for you by hiring an attorney.

Your Lawyer Will Gather Evidence

When it’s unclear who is at fault or the other party disputes liability, certain kinds of evidence can strengthen your claim. For example, crucial eyewitness testimony could ultimately help prove the defendant was at fault for the crash. When you hire an experienced personal injury attorney, you will gain access to valuable legal resources, including experts and professionals who can speak on various elements of the case.

Your Lawyer Will Negotiate a Settlement

Once your claim is prepared, your attorney will help to negotiate a favorable settlement. When determining the value of your claim, our attorneys consider the damages that you have sustained, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Any future medical treatments
  • Lost wages
  • Any other income that you may lose due to lasting effects of the accident
  • Property damage

By working with an experienced and competitive law firm, you can rest assured that we will negotiate the best possible settlement for your injuries. We here at Snyder Law Group are proud to offer our clients a level of service that they can’t find anywhere else.

How to Be a Good Client During Your Personal Injury Case

When you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer, you want to make sure you end up with the right person for you and your case. And that expectation can work both ways. Every lawyer wants a “good client” if at all possible. But what is a “good client,” and how much of being a “good client” is actually within the client’s control?

How To Build A Strong Personal Injury Case

In a nutshell, a good client does whatever is necessary in order to ensure that the case goes as smoothly as possible and that the best outcome (a fair personal injury settlement, or a win in court) can be reached. That means:

1. Respond to Your Lawyer

Clients get pretty upset when their lawyer doesn’t return phone calls. And lawyers feel the same way. If you don’t return your lawyer’s phone calls, emails, or letters promptly, you’re not just wasting your lawyer’s time, you could also be hurting your case.

2. Attend All Medical Appointments

Your health care provider will note any appointment that you miss, and, if you miss too many, the insurer adjuster (or the jury) is going to assume that you must not have been hurt as badly as you claim. This will cost you and your lawyer money. Be sure to keep all of your appointments.

3. Cooperate in the Discovery Process

If you end up filing a personal injury lawsuit in court, the defendant will send your lawyer written questions called interrogatories, as well as document requests. Your lawyer will send these on to you. You will need to promptly answer the interrogatories and provide your lawyer with the requested documents, or your case could be dismissed. Help your lawyer, and help yourself. Respond to all discoveries as quickly as you can.

Practice for your deposition. Your personal injury deposition is a very important step in your case. Your lawyer is there to help you prepare, offer guidance during the proceedings, and even step in if the other side is taking a questionable approach. Follow your lawyer’s advice and recommendations.

7 Things to Do to Help Your Personal Injury Attorney During Your Case

4. Don’t (Always) Blame Your Lawyer

Personal injury clients who are annoyed that their case isn’t going well will often turn on their lawyer and say that it must be the lawyer’s fault.

Some things are indeed a lawyer’s fault, and any client needs to be attuned to that. But some problems that arise in personal injury cases are the client’s fault, and other obstacles are no one’s fault. Some personal injury cases just aren’t that strong (meaning there’s little or no chance of reaching a favorable outcome). Don’t blame the messenger if your lawyer brings bad news. It’s not going to help your case. Get more tips on how much your personal injury case might be worth, and how long the process may take.

For many lawyers, whether they’ll admit it or not, the perfect client is one who does what he or she is told and doesn’t hound the lawyer for updates at every turn. But it’s not in most clients’ best interests to try to live up to that model. There are times that you have to speak up.

If you sincerely believe that there are problems in your case, you can’t always be the “good client.” You have to ask questions. Remember that it is your case, not your lawyer’s. You are the one who was hurt. You have an absolute right to be kept informed about what is going on. It may seem like you are being pesky by asking pointed, probing questions about your case, but you need to protect your interests by staying informed. Learn more about getting help from a personal injury lawyer.