What Exactly Is a Personal Injury Attorney? and How to Choose a Reliable One

Getting the appropriate legal counsel after an accident may put you on the fast road to recovery, ensuring you receive the compensation you need to return to normalcy or your new normal. Regrettably, there are a lot of billboard attorneys out there that consider you nothing more than a paycheck and prioritize their own interests above yours.

So, how does one separate the wheat from the chaff?

To begin, consider addressing the question, “What is a personal injury lawyer?” so you know what to look for in a good one and how to spot a poor one.

What is the role of a personal injury attorney?

Personal injury is a broad term that encompasses claims involving:

  • Accidents in automobiles
  • Aviation mishaps
  • Bites from animals
  • Medical negligence
  • Abuse in nursing homes
  • Accidents caused by slipping and falling
  • Building mishaps
  • Products that are defective
  • Cases of wrongful death
  • Claims for insurance

You may come across the word “tort law” when researching your personal injury lawsuit. In general, a tort is a legal claim brought after suffering injury as a consequence of someone else’s acts. Tort actions, such as personal injury lawsuits, are a subset of tort actions.

Personal injury, in general, refers to any bodily or emotional suffering you suffer as a result of another person’s actions or lack thereof.

Personal injury attorneys, in principle, take on several tasks for their clients, ensuring that the legal system works in their clients’ favor and that they get what is promised to them.

In reality, however, this is not always the case. Let’s look at the personal injury lawyer job description to see how these responsibilities should be carried out by competent personal injury attorneys — and how they often are in the case of poor personal injury lawyers.

It safeguards your rights.

First and foremost, a personal injury lawyer must safeguard the rights of their clients. They should be the guard at the front gate, protecting you from anybody who could try to take advantage of you and jeopardize your case.

A skilled personal injury attorney will defend your rights by:

  • Preventing the disclosure of unnecessary personal information
  • Acting as a go-between for you and the insurance company.
  • Making certain that you get what you are due

In reality, things don’t always work out that way. Many attorneys are motivated only by monetary gain and want a hasty settlement that will likely leave you far from recovering.

The lawyer can afford to do this because they will follow up with another case and another payout. It is not a choice for you, the wounded party. That is why it is critical to pick a lawyer with clear goals.

Cases are investigated.

Many movies have been made about attorneys doing gritty investigative work to uncover that vital piece of evidence that would eventually break the case.

Although attorneys do undertake investigations during the course of a case, they are mostly confined to going over documentation. If a field investigation is necessary, they will normally engage a private investigator who specializes in that sector.

So, what exactly does a personal injury lawyer do when it comes to examining cases? A skilled personal injury lawyer conducts investigations by gathering the following information:

  • According to police reports
  • Medical documentation
  • Interviews with witnesses
  • Accident videos or photographs
  • Evidence from the crime scene and insurance information

A lawyer’s initial inquiries center around the merits of the case to determine whether or not the claim is valid.

Conducts investigation

The legal term for sharing information between the plaintiff and defendant is discovery. A skilled lawyer will do the following at this stage:

  • Depositions should be taken.
  • Identify the witnesses.
  • Submit any additional evidence relevant to the case.

All of this is done to avoid any party being caught off guard once the trial starts if there is one.

A lawyer must have a clear strategy for doing discovery so that they obtain all of the information before getting into talks. A lousy lawyer will cut corners or bend the rules to their advantage, but if the court finds out, it will jeopardize your case.

Damages are assessed.

The monetary compensation you are entitled to as a consequence of your personal injury accident is referred to as damages.

To assess a reasonable value for your losses, a skilled personal injury lawyer will consider various criteria, including:

  • Previous medical expenditures
  • Future medical costs
  • Wages were lost
  • Suffering and pain
  • Punitive damage

When your lawyer calculates your damages, it’s critical that they consider both how you’ve been harmed in the present and how it will affect you in the future.

For instance, if your accident prohibits you from working while you heal, that is one amount. But if the injury prohibits you from returning to your existing employment, that must also be considered.

Offers direction and realistic expectations.

Personal injury law is a tough business, and you should not expect to be an expert.

From start to finish, your accident and injury attorney should be a reliable source of guidance. They may provide you with a realistic timeframe for how your case will go, so you know what to expect. If necessary, they may identify qualified physicians and assist you in obtaining medical treatment funds.

When you’re unsure about the best course of action to pursue, your lawyer should be the first point of contact, which is why their honesty should be impeccable.

This brings us to our next topic.

Defends your interests

Your lawyer works for you and should represent your interests at all times.

However, many personal injury attorneys lose sight of this, putting your needs on hold.

A competent attorney will never

  • Request a settlement that is not what you desire.
  • Accept an offer that has not been approved by you.
  • Refuse an offer without first communicating with you.

Even if your lawyer disagrees with your wishes, they should nevertheless prioritize them.

Paperwork Files

As previously noted, paperwork is a lawyer’s bread and butter or should be.

A skilled lawyer will handle everything, including:

  • Communication with the insurance company
  • Filing a lawsuit
  • Demand letters are sent out
  • Negotiating settlement agreements

Sloppy documentation may ruin even the most solid case, so your lawyer must be very organized while also knowing what is required.

Your settlement will be distributed.

Your lawyer is the one who receives the money from the insurance company once your case has been handled. This is referred to as your gross settlement.

A qualified personal injury lawyer will divide your payout in the following order:

  1. Just to themselves.
  2. To the lienholders (doctors, lenders, insurance companies, governmental agencies, etc.).
  3. To you.

When accepting a settlement, understand what you’ll really walk away with once everyone else has been paid, since it may be far less than you think.

When do you need the services of a personal injury attorney?

Deciding to pursue a legal claim is a significant choice, and representing oneself may not necessarily provide the best outcomes. Understanding when to employ a personal injury lawyer might help you get more money with less effort.

So, when is it time to bring in the legal cavalry? Apart from massive, difficult cases, here are several red flags that you require legal assistance.

Your claim has been denied.

Unfortunately, insurance companies often dismiss claims even when their customers are clearly at fault. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer in these cases.

Their assessment might disclose whether you have any possibilities for appealing.

You’ve Negotiated a Settlement

Even if an insurance company acknowledges the validity of your claim and provides you with a payout, it is sometimes advisable to talk with a personal injury lawyer. A rapid offer might indicate that the insurance company wants to terminate your claim as soon as possible for a lower amount than you’re likely entitled to.

Based on what comparable cases have settled for in the past, an experienced lawyer will have a decent notion of how much you’re entitled to. They may then utilize this information to negotiate a reasonable price.

The lawsuit involves a large number of people.

A case is guaranteed to get more complicated when many parties are involved, such as when multiple automobiles are involved in a highway collision. It might be difficult to determine who is to blame in certain instances.

A personal injury attorney may be able to identify which party or parties are liable for your losses. They will then be able to advise you on the best course of action to pursue.

You need legal counsel.

Not every instance is obvious enough to quickly determine damages to an injured party or culpability on the side of an aggressor.

If you’re concerned about whether you should pursue a personal injury lawsuit, merely consulting with an experienced personal injury lawyer may put your mind at ease.

They may also answer relevant inquiries and assist you in planning your medical care.

Forming conclusions about injury legislation based on online research is analogous to skipping a doctor’s appointment in favor of WebMD. When in doubt, seek the advice of an attorney who can steer you in the proper direction.

What Should You Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney?

Understanding when to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney is just half the battle. Hiring a lawyer with the necessary qualifications and who will honestly defend your interests is easier said than done.

We’ve outlined the most important characteristics to look for in a personal injury lawyer to guarantee you receive the finest legal representation available for your circumstances.

In Our Opinion

“Aside from a possible attorney’s degree of expertise, your level of comfort talking with the individual is vitally crucial.” “Ask as many questions as you can to gain trust in this individual to assist you through a tough moment in your life.” Mighty Law attorney Andrew Larson

They have prior experience.

Choosing an experienced lawyer may seem like a no-brainer, but there is more to it than just selecting someone who has been in practice for more than a decade.

Hiring an experienced lawyer entails locating someone who has handled cases similar to yours. When you meet with a lawyer for a consultation, inquire about previous cases that are similar to yours and the outcomes for those clients.

They are open and honest (upfront about prices and fees).

In the personal injury industry, it’s common for a lawyer to charge a contingency fee of 33.3%, with some charging as much as 40% or even 45%.

That’s a large amount of a settlement for you to pay after suffering with an injury for a long time, and you ought to know what you’re getting into from the outset.

If a lawyer avoids discussing their fees or delivers a long-winded speech that leaves you with more questions than answers, this is a major red flag.

Genuine personal injury attorneys can offer you a clear response regarding how much you can expect to spend for their services. Mighty sets a good example by charging 10% less than the industry average.

They allow you to switch lawyers.

A client may choose to alter their counsel after engaging a personal injury lawyer. This may occur for a variety of reasons, including something as basic as feeling neglected.

A lawyer who is confident in their expertise would even enable you to check out their services before committing. Mighty offers a 60-day, no-strings-attached trial period to all clients, so you can be certain that we are what we claim to be.

If a lawyer attempts to prevent you from changing your counsel in the future, it is for their advantage, not yours. A client should be able to change lawyers if they believe it is the best course of action for their case.

Having said that, you may still owe them for the work they’ve done on the case up to that time. This might include paying their hourly wage for the services they supplied as well as a part of their contingency charge.

All of these conditions should be given upfront so that you are not surprised with additional charges later on.

They help with other case-related topics.

Another attribute of a good personal injury lawyer is their willingness to go above and beyond the conventional obligations of a lawyer.

If your lawyer is just concerned with the ultimate settlement sum, you will be on your own for many case-related issues until that paycheck.