Whether your personal injury case eventually settles (as most do) or goes to trial, your personal injury lawyer will be busy trying to get you the best possible result. After all, most personal injury attorneys get paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyer doesn’t recover fees for representing you unless you recover compensation from the at-fault party. Let’s look at a few key aspects of a lawyer’s role during a typical personal injury case.
Next, the attorney will likely make a demand to the insurer of the liable party (in a car accident case, for example, that means the at-fault driver’s car insurance company).
If this initial demand results in a settlement offer, your attorney will review it with you and recommend how to respond. The initial settlement offer is rarely the final offer. One thing to keep in mind is that your attorney will wait until there’s a full understanding of the scope of your injuries and other losses (including all future medical care you’ll require and how your injuries will affect your ability to work) before accepting a settlement.
A personal injury lawsuit starts with the filing of the complaint, a legal document listing your legal arguments, the facts in support of those legal arguments, and what you demand in relief.
After you file the complaint and serve it on the defendant (the person you’re suing), the defendant will file a response to your complaint (the “answer”).
Next, “discovery” begins. This is the stage of litigation where the two sides exchange information that might serve as evidence during trial. In most personal injury cases, discovery will consist of depositions, requests for documents, and interrogatories, and the process can take months to complete.
After discovery, the trial is set. Your attorney may file a variety of pre-trial motions (to try to keep the defendant from using a piece of evidence during trial, for example). It’s very rare for a personal injury lawsuit to reach the trial phase. Settlement is possible at any point during this process, including right up to (or even during) trial.
Your personal injury lawyer will take care of all aspects of the litigation phase and will keep you updated on your case’s progress.
Points to Keep in Mind After Hiring a Lawyer
Your attorney probably can’t respond immediately to your telephone calls or emails. Lawyers are ethically bound to respond to clients within a reasonable amount of time, but they have other cases to work on, depositions to prepare for, and court hearings to attend.
One thing your lawyer should never do is keep you in the dark about what’s going on in your case, especially if the other side makes a settlement offer. Unless you’ve given your permission, your lawyer cannot accept or reject a settlement offer without running it by you first.
Be careful discussing your case with anyone other than your lawyer or a representative from your lawyer’s office. If you get a call from an insurance adjuster or someone you’re not familiar with, don’t talk to them about your case. If they have legitimate questions or concerns about your case, you can refer them to your attorney. On a related note, unless your attorney advises you otherwise, do not sign any document relating to your case, and do not change doctors.
Keep your lawyer updated. For instance, if you finish your medical treatment, tell your attorney. If the defendant or someone working on behalf of the defendant tries to contact you, tell your attorney. If you receive additional medical bills or other documents that substantiate your damages claim, tell your attorney and send them copies of relevant documents.
If you’re having money struggles as a result of your personal injury, tell your attorney. They can suggest avenues of financial support and give you advice on how to deal with creditors.
After Obtaining a Legal Recovery
Whether you win at trial or obtain a settlement, your attorney will make arrangements to collect the money the defendant must pay. This might mean getting in touch with the defendant’s insurance company and having a check sent to your attorney’s office. Or it could include filing post-trial motions to collect the judgment. Learn more about collecting your injury settlement or judgment.
If your case settles, you will likely sign settlement and release forms. In essence, these forms say that in return for compensation, you agree to end your lawsuit against the defendant (or promise not to sue them in connection with the underlying accident).
Personal injury is a relatively broadly used term that typically describes a certain type of lawyer or lawsuit.
This article will help you understand what personal injury is, what a personal injury attorney does, the types of cases a personal injury lawyer handles, and when you should speak with an injury attorney.
We handle a wide range of personal injury practice areas like workers’ compensation, car accidents, and truck accidents.
We have over 25 years of experience as personal injury attorneys and have won many awards and our cases and settlements have been featured in some of the most prominent lawyer publications in the country.
Now, let’s discuss the personal injury and the duties of a personal injury attorney.
What is personal injury?
Personal injury is a general term that can cover many different types of claims.
In its most basic definition, personal injury refers to intentional or unintentional physical, emotional, or psychological harm caused by someone else’s actions.
The term “personal injury” refers to any physical, emotional, or financial damage that is caused by a person’s negligence or an accident.
Most common types of personal injury cases
CAR ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY CASES
Car accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury cases.
In these cases, someone else’s negligence resulted in an accident that caused a car crash or other type of collision.
The car accident attorney must prove that another driver was negligent and then provide evidence regarding how this led to the client’s injuries including medical bills, lost wages from missed workdays, and potential bills that may arise in the future.
Truck accidents involve a commercial truck driver’s negligence, which is when they do not maintain their vehicle in proper condition and then wreck it.
In semi-truck accident cases, the truck accident attorney must show that the trucker was negligent by proving they didn’t keep up with maintenance or violated other rules of the road like speeding.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PERSONAL INJURY CASE
A workers’ compensation personal injury case is when an employee was injured on the job and filed a claim for restitution.
The duty of the workers’ compensation attorney in this instance is to prove that their client was not at fault or negligent during the incident, which would deny them benefits under workers’ comp laws.
In most workers’ comp cases, your attorney will be fighting your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance agency as they will, in most cases, do everything in their power to minizine your payout.
Slip and fall lawsuits are usually filed by a plaintiff who was injured when they slipped and fell due to the negligence of another party.
In these cases, the local personal injury attorney will have to prove that someone else’s carelessness caused their client’s injury while also showing how much money is being lost as a result of medical bills or missed workdays.
WRONGFUL DEATH PERSONAL INJURY CASES
These types of cases are filed by the surviving family members after someone’s death.
Wrongful death lawsuits happen when negligence leads to a person’s injury or death, so these types of personal injury attorneys will have to prove that their client’s death was the direct (or in some cases indirect) result of an accident or negligence.
Some of the most common types of wrongful death lawsuits include car accident death cases, medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits, and nursing home abuse lawsuits.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE PERSONAL INJURY CASES
Medical malpractice cases are usually filed by a plaintiff who was injured due to the negligence of another medical professional.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are not exclusively lawsuits against doctors.
These personal injury cases may also involve lawsuits against hospitals, dentists, pharmacies (or pharmacists), and even pharmaceutical companies.
In these types of personal injury cases, the medical malpractice attorney will have to show that someone else’s carelessness caused their injuries and how much money is being lost as a result including potential wages from missed workdays or future earnings.
Types of personal injury attorneys
When you are searching for a local personal injury attorney, you will likely find that most of them practice or have experience in a wide range of personal injury areas.
Put simply, most personal injury attorneys will offer their services in all of the previously listed practice areas.
However, that does not mean personal injury law firms don’t have certain areas in which they specialize.
Ortwerth Law, for instance, has experience handling just about every type of personal injury lawsuit imaginable, but there are several areas of practice we frequently provide our legal services like car accidents, truck accidents, and workers’ compensation.
How to find the best personal injury lawyer for your case
The best way to find the best personal injury lawyer for your case is to reach out and ask them about their experience.
Ask potential lawyers what types of cases they have handled in the past, what kind of results they’ve achieved, how many years they have been practicing law (experience often goes hand-in-hand with skill), and what sets them apart from other personal injury law firms.
Most personal injury lawyers will offer a free consultation for potential clients to discuss their case at no cost, which should always be taken advantage of when looking for legal representation.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options and found the perfect lawyer for your case, it’s time to start gathering evidence for your case.
The best way to find the best personal injury lawyer for your case is to reach out and ask them about their experience. Ask potential lawyers what types of cases they have handled in the past, what kind of results they’ve achieved, how many years they have been practicing law (experience often goes hand
During a divorce, you’ll be faced with many decisions that may affect your financial security. This article outlines the most common financial mistakes divorcing spouses make and provides tips on how to avoid them. You may feel comfortable dealing with some of these issues on your own, but with many of them, it’s crucial that you find good financial advice from a qualified professional.
1. Ignoring or underestimating your expenses. Most people know exactly what they earn each month, but can’t explain where their money goes. Take the time to write down all of your expenses, and develop a realistic monthly budget. Likewise, consider the cost of your future living expenses, taking inflation into account. If you ignore inflation, you may underestimate your future needs and find that you’re not able to maintain your quality of life.
2. Believing that the parent with more custodial time should keep the family home. It’s often a very emotional decision whether to keep the family home, especially when children are involved. While it would be nice to remain where you’re comfortable and avoid the hassles of moving, staying put might not be the best financial decision. No matter how attached you are to your home, it’s critical to have a realistic sense of whether you can afford it. If you give up everything else in order to keep the home, and then find that you can’t cover the mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance, you may end up in serious financial trouble.
3. Assuming that an equal division is a fair division of property. Be sure you understand that an asset’s value is not necessarily defined by or limited to its current market value. For example, assets that generate income (like rental property or bonds) may be worth more than their market value. Agreeing that each spouse will receive property of equal monetary value doesn’t always mean each spouse will receive a truly equal share of the assets over time. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when you trade assets in a divorce negotiation, and pay attention to tax basis, present value, and transaction costs.
Learn more about this issue in Divorce & Money, by Violet Woodhouse with Dale Fetherling.
4. Deciding financial issues one at a time. By looking at each asset or source of income separately, you miss the interaction of taxes, capital gains, investment losses, timing issues, inflation, and more. A fair settlement begins by looking at a comprehensive picture of all of your finances. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be better able to understand how each financial decision you make may affect another decision, and determine how and when to divide assets.
5. Failing to secure spousal support (alimony) and child support payments with insurance. Your ability to collect alimony and child support is only as good as your spouse’s ability to pay. You can request that your spouse obtain disability and life insurance policies (or modify existing policies) to ensure that these payments will continue in the event of your spouse’s disability or death. Be sure to review the policies to make sure your spouse has made the proper designation(s). Understand that these policies won’t help you in the event of your spouse’s voluntary decision to stop paying. To enforce your rights in this situation, you’ll need to go back to court and ask for an order that your spouse make the appropriate payments.
6. Not understanding your liability for unsecured debt. For most people, unsecured debt means consumer credit card debt. In most cases, if the debt was incurred during the marriage, it’s a shared liability no matter which spouse used the credit card. When you settle your divorce, you’ll divide responsibility for those debts. But don’t assume that the credit card companies care what your settlement says – they can still come after both of you for payment. The best practice is to pay off all debts before the divorce becomes final.
7. Not evaluating a defined benefit pension plan correctly. A defined benefit plan (DBP) is a true pension plan—it’s funded and controlled by the employer, and pays a monthly income at retirement. (This is different from a defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k).) Even though the employee has to wait until retirement to receive payments, the DBP has value today, and the non-employee spouse is entitled to a share of that value. In most cases, you’ll need to hire an actuary – a specially trained financial expert – to calculate the present value of DBPs.
8. Overlooking a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a legal document that reflects how you and your spouse have decided to divide a defined contribution plan (eg., 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans) or a pension plan. A QDRO also orders the plan administrator to pay the non-employee spouse his or her agreed-upon or court-ordered share. The plan administrator cannot make such payments without a valid QDRO in place. Even if you’re dealing with a pension that may not be payable for several years, it’s crucial that you get the QDRO in place as part of your divorce, or you may lose important pension rights.
9. Having unrealistic expectations about investment returns. If your spouse is trying to convince you to settle for a certain investment because “It’s going to grow at 30 percent per year,” you might want to get a professional opinion. That investment might not grow at all, or it may yield negative results. Liquid assets (cash or assets that can be easily converted into cash) may provide more financial security than investments, many of which may be risky. Think twice before accepting investments in lieu of safer, less risky assets.
10. Failing to consider your long-term financial security. If you focus only on the immediate task of splitting assets and getting alimony and child support, without understanding how things might look in 10 or 20 years, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. You might want to hire a financial planner to review any proposed settlement agreement (before you sign it) and advise you about the long-term financial consequences.
Divorce is not the easiest to get through. From the emotional turmoil and splitting of assets – to pensions and businesses, there are many factors to consider, especially if a prenuptial agreement was not signed prior to getting married.
Family law attorney Kirk Stange touches* on all the factors we should consider when splitting up in divorce: from pensions to hidden assets, he uncovers what your attorney should be doing to help you.
Military Family Law
What is the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act and how does it relate to military personnel and divorce?
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), formerly known as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA), was enacted in 2003 and significantly expanded the protections provided to people entering the military, called to active duty and deployed service members. Many of the provisions in the SCRA can be applied to protect the rights of service members who are going through a divorce or family law matter. The key protections the SCRA provides to service members going through a divorce are as follows:
In the context of a family law matter, if a default judgment was entered against a party and the outcome negatively affected somebody because they were not present to defend themselves in the action, the court has the authority to reopen the matter.
If a party is deployed and cannot be present for the proceedings to defend themselves, the proceedings can be postponed, or stayed, until they return. This can be especially important when issues like custody need to be resolved.
The reality is that to get divorced in most states in the United States, cheating or marital misconduct does not need to be proven.
Divorce and Separation
In order to ensure the divorce process goes as smoothly as possible, how should clients prepare for what may be contested divorce matters?
It is critical that a party hire an attorney who has experience in contested divorce matters. If the case cannot settle prior to trial, having an attorney who has significant trial experience is vitally important. After the attorney has been selected, it is crucial that parties give their attorneys all the necessary information as early as possible in the process. This can include providing all the documents and evidence that the client feels are potentially important in the case, including financial information from tax returns, account statements, deeds, estate planning documents and anything else that can have a bearing on property and debt division, spousal support and child support. However, if custody is at issue in the case, it can also be critical to provide all the information that a party thinks is important in terms of their custody request as well. This can include school and medical records and a litany of other information.
The use of private investigators is generally on the decline with the advent of no-fault divorce.
How are allegations of cheating and marital misconduct handled? Does proving marital misconduct make a difference?
The reality is that to get divorced in most states in the United States, cheating or marital misconduct does not need to be proven. A party typically only has to show that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be saved. However, some states still will consider marital misconduct as one of the factors as it relates to property and debt division and spousal support (previously known as alimony). For example, where I am licensed, in Missouri and Kansas, the conduct of the parties during the marriage is a factor that the court can look at in property and debt division and spousal maintenance. However, in Illinois, where I am also licensed, the courts do not consider marital misconduct as a factor for property and debt division and spousal maintenance. Having said that, there are some cases where marital misconduct could have a bearing on the best interests of the children for the child custody portion of the case.
If a party fears for their safety in a divorce or family law matter, it is important that an attorney act quickly to protect their client.
In divorce and family law matters, would you advise clients to hire a private investigator?
The use of private investigators is generally on the decline with the advent of no-fault divorce. While courts in some states can consider marital misconduct for property and debt division and spousal maintenance, many courts are hesitant to give it much weight. However, there are still some cases where parties do opt to hire private investigators to:
Prove marital misconduct and/or adultery;
Show unsafe or harmful practices relative to the best interests of the children;
Serve crucial witnesses and opposing parties’ summons/subpoenas as a special process server;
Identify hidden financial and other assets;
Conducting surveillance; and/or
Substantiate untrue statements about income and employment.
If the other party violates the Order of Protection or Restraining Order, they can often be charged criminally.
What factors impact how marital property and debt is divided in divorce?
Equitable division is how most states divide marital property and debt in divorce. Marital property and debt are all property or debt accumulated during the marriage. Separate property, which is not divisible in a divorce, is property that was obtained prior to the marriage or property that was obtained by gift, inheritance or that is set aside in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Factors most courts look at in dividing marital property and debt are:
The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of any children;
The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
The value of the nonmarital property set apart to each spouse; and
Custodial arrangements for minor children.
Some states, as I mentioned previously, will also look at the conduct of the parties during the marriage, while others do not.
In these cases, the court is going to take the value of the business interest into consideration when dividing all marital property and debt.
How should cases be handled if there is domestic abuse? How do you handle these cases differently, especially if your client fears they could be in danger?
If a party fears for their safety in a divorce or family law matter, it is important that an attorney act quickly to protect their client. Laws can vary by state and the exact verbiage can be a little different. However, generally, parties will want to seek an Order of Protection to prevent the abuse. In some states, this is known as a Restraining Order. If the other party violates the Order of Protection or Restraining Order, they can often be charged criminally.
There are lots of variables that go into the valuation of a businesses’ interest and a professional business valuator is almost always needed.
Protecting your business in divorce: Can you refuse to split your company’s assets?
If the business interest was obtained during the marriage, in an equitable division state, the business interest is going to be treated as marital property unless there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that sets it aside to one party. In these cases, the court is going to take the value of the business interest into consideration when dividing all marital property and debt. In some cases, the value of the business interest can be offset against other assets that the other spouse receives, like a home, investment or retirement account, as some examples. In these cases, the business interest does not have to be split. The other spouse just receives another asset of roughly the same value. However, in other cases, this might not be possible and the business interests may need to be split or sold. Regardless, what is critical in these cases is to have a business valuator enlisted early in the case to ensure that the value of the business is fair and accurate. There are lots of variables that go into the valuation of a businesses’ interest and a professional business valuator is almost always needed.
Where a party owns and operates a business, the risk can also increase because income and assets can often be shielded within the business.
What are the signs your partner could be hiding assets?
Every case is different and the signs are not always uniform. However, in cases where one party has almost complete control over the finances, this can increase the risk of hidden assets. In some cases, both spouses might not have access to all the financial records. One spouse might also set up bank accounts in their own name. If a spouse travels overseas, the risk can often increase. Where a party owns and operates a business, the risk can also increase because income and assets can often be shielded within the business.
Private investigators can also help locate and identify hidden assets.
How challenging is it to prove that your partner is hiding assets?
Experience has taught us that finding hidden property can be challenging. To do so, we often involve forensic accountants. These professionals review tax documents and other financial records to locate hidden assets or to exonerate a party depending on the situation. Private investigators can also help locate and identify hidden assets. With the advent of social media evidence, oftentimes, the evidence of the hidden assets can be found online. Another way to locate hidden assets is through the use of a computer forensic expert who can lawfully gain access to electronic devices to search for evidence of hidden assets.
A prenuptial agreement can help a party protect their pension interests.
If proven, how can the above impact a divorce proceeding?
If a party hides assets, it can have a tremendous impact on the proceedings. First, it can destroy the party’s credibility with the judge. This can impact all facets of the case. Second, hiding assets is also illegal and could subject a party to civil or criminal penalties for being untruthful with the court. Finally, it can also result in that party giving up a disproportionate share of the assets they were hiding and that party having to pay the other spouse’s legal fees and costs for having to track down these assets.
his means that both parties need to have separate legal counsel.
When should one consider hiring a forensic accountant?
There are many cases where a party should consider hiring a forensic account. Some common situations are as follows:
Identifying income from a closely held business or professional practice to see if any of it has been concealed or transferred elsewhere;
Determining if assets have been squandered, encumbered, concealed or hidden in anticipation of divorce proceedings;
Helping trace funds owned prior to the marriage to determine if it is separate property and, therefore, belong to one spouse alone; and
Helping valuate a business interest.
More parties are seeking to resolve their divorce and family law matters outside of court. Many parties try mediation.
How is a pension split during a divorce?
A pension is divided in divorce just like any other marital asset in an equitable division state. The first question is whether the pension interest accumulated during the marriage? If so, the marital portion is divisible in divorce. Typically, the division is implemented through the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”).
Are there ways for clients to protect their pension or retirement assets during divorce?
A prenuptial agreement can help a party protect their pension interests. The key is that the prenuptial agreement would need to be completed before the marriage and in a matter that is procedurally and substantively fair. This means that both parties need to have separate legal counsel. The prenuptial agreement also has to be entered into freely, voluntarily and without undue influence or duress. Both parties also have to engage in a full and fair disclosure of their assets and debts. Past that, and if there is no prenuptial agreement, if a portion of the retirement assets were accumulated prior to marriage, this can often be traced by a forensic account.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
If parties can settle their divorce outside of court, data shows that parties are more apt to comply with a settlement agreement versus a court order.
Is alternative dispute resolution growing in prominence in divorce and family law matters?
More parties are seeking to resolve their divorce and family law matters outside of court. Many parties try mediation. Mediation can be voluntary or some courts can order parties to participate in mediation. Other parties are trying collaborative family law. In collaborative family law, each party hires a collaborative lawyer on a limited scope representation agreement where the lawyer can only represent the party in the collaborative process and cannot litigate the matter in court. In the collaborative process, other professionals (divorce coach, financial neutral and child custody professional) work to get the parties toward settlement.
Paternity cases are really on the rise due to increasing out-of-wedlock birth rates.
Do you think parties should try to resolve their divorce or family law matter outside of court?
I do think settlement outside of court is worth the try for parties. If parties can settle their divorce outside of court, data shows that parties are more apt to comply with a settlement agreement versus a court order. This can result in fewer repeat visits back to court. It can also help parties who have kids keep tensions to a minimum so that they can co-parent more effectively with one another.
Besides divorce, what are some of the other most common types of family law cases?
Paternity cases are really on the rise due to increasing out-of-wedlock birth rates. These are cases involving custody and child support between unmarried parents. Next to divorce, these may be the most common type of family law matters. We also help clients with adoptions, guardianships, surrogacy agreements, domestic violence matters and prenuptial agreements and other family law matters.
Kirk Stange is a Founding Partner at Stange Law Firm, PC, a divorce and family law firm that presently has 20 office locations in the United States in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma. LawFirm500 has also recognized Stange Law Firm, PC as one of the fastest growing law firms in the United States since 2016. Mr. Stange has been on the list of Super Lawyers for Family Law by Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers Magazine since 2015.
I once had a child custody case where the opposing party actually hired a hit man to kill my client.
Can you share your most challenging case yet, and how you overcame it?
I once had a child custody case where the opposing party actually hired a hit man to kill my client. While this can add significant stress to the case, it is vital that the safety of the children and everybody else is put at the forefront both civilly and criminally.
What three characteristics are important for a family lawyer?
In addition to educating yourself about the ins and outs of the area of law, it is important that a family lawyer be empathetic in terms of what the client is going through, while maintaining boundaries and leadership at the same time.
What motivated you to practice law?
I really wanted to make a difference in the lives of real people going through difficult times.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take after a personal injury to prepare you for filing a claim or a lawsuit. Here’s a list of the top ten tips for personal injury claims:
1) Seek out medical attention immediately
If you have been seriously injured, the first thing you should do is to get medical attention. Do not attempt to handle any claims before you have properly addressed your injuries with a medical professional.
You should be aware that failing to seek medical attention after an accident can sometimes reduce the amount of damages you are able to recover. As the injured party, you may have a duty to “mitigate your losses.” This means that you must take steps to ensure that the injury does not cause any further injuries or economic losses.
2) File a Police Report
Filing a police report can help ensure that you have records of important information. This may include the names and contact information of other parties that were involved. Also, the report itself can serve as a record of the important facts involved in the accident. The police report can be used in court if a lawsuit arises.
3) Be aware of what you say at the scene of the accident
While it is necessary to communicate with the other party after an accident, exercise discretion when speaking with other parties. You are under no duty to state whose fault the injury was or to offer additional information. Avoid making statements that might make the situation more complicated, and avoid creating conflicts in relation to the event.
4) Keep accurate records of all costs and expenses related to the injury
These may include hospital bills, medical diagnosis statements, bills related to property damage, and insurance records. You may also need to maintain records of lost wages if the injury has caused you miss work. It’s also a good idea to make a written account of the injury, especially while the events and facts are still fresh in your recollection.
5) Be cautious when dealing with insurance companies
Involving insurance companies can sometimes make the legal process more complicated in a personal injury claim. However, in most cases, working with an insurance company will be necessary to completing your personal injury claim or lawsuit. Be sure to protect your interests when negotiating with an insurance company. It may be helpful to have a lawyer on hand for advice when dealing with third parties.
6) DO NOT sign any forms or documents without understanding them
Make sure you completely understand the terms of any forms and documents to be filled out in relation to the personal injury. Do not sign any forms if you are not sure of how they will affect you in the long run. This includes any forms that may be presented to you well after the actual event. Be especially wary of any documents or contracts that ask you to release the other party from liability, or that require you to forfeit your right to a lawsuit.
7) Avoid trying to settle on your own if you don’t understand what to do
Trying to settle on your own with the other party or with their insurance company can sometimes be a complicated process. If you are unsure of what you are doing, it is best to find some help through the advice of a legal expert. This is especially important if the other party will be hiring a lawyer. Working with your own lawyer can help you avoid costly mistakes that can have negative effects on your claim.
8) Be aware of filing deadlines
Make sure that you file your legal claim or lawsuit in a timely manner. For most personal injury claims, you only have a certain window of time after the accident to file with the courts. This is known as the “statute of limitations,” which can vary depending on the state and the type of accident involved. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you might not be able to file your claim anymore.
9) Do some preliminary research on the legal process
It may be worth your while to familiarize yourself with the basics of personal injury lawsuits in your area. Local rules may vary, and personal injury claims can take some time to fully resolve. While you are not expected to become an expert, speaking with a lawyer for some basic guidelines can help take some of the confusion out of the process.
10) Be aware of what type of lawyer you will need to hire
Remember, not all personal injury lawyers are the same. Some specialize in certain fields, while others handle more general claims. There are many different types of personal injury lawyers, and one may be more suitable for your situation than another.
How Do I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Finding the right type of personal injury lawyer for is critical for the success of your claim. You can find an injury attorney through LegalMatch using our online case-posting system. Working with the right attorney can help you obtain the appropriate legal remedy for your situation, and can help you avoid costly errors during filing.
Here at Staver Law Group, we know the complex decisions and tasks you face during law school. After all, we went through it ourselves. While you’re heavily focused on your classes each semester, you’re also expected to take on additional responsibilities. From school-related organizations to internships and clerk positions, you’re motivated to learn as much as possible and build a strong resume.
Yet, we also understand that law school is a struggle. For those of you who personally deal with an accident-related injury or disability, or have been deeply affected by an accident, you are forced to navigate your education with additional burdens. You must compete in a world that was created for and prioritizes able-bodied individuals, and you must not let the stress of the financial situation an accident leaves behind distract you from your educational goals.
To enable students impacted by an accident or other personal injury situation to focus on their schoolwork, the Staver Law Group created the Personal Injury Scholarship. It is our hope that this national scholarship, now in its fifth year, will not only help a student but also foster an appreciation for the work personal injury lawyers around the country do every day.
Focusing on helping others and community safety
As personal injury attorneys, our job is to help. We see firsthand how car crashes and other types of accident effect our clients’ lives. We see their pain and the suffering this trauma brings on their families. We witness how injuries put our clients and their loved one’s careers, educations, and lives on hold. Their needs propel us forward in fighting for their rights.
However, we know there is more we can do. The struggles our clients and other accident victims face do not end when the insurance claim process or lawsuit is over. For many of them, they are still in the midst of recovering and picking up their lives. This is the time when they need additional support.
We created the Staver Law Group Personal Injury Scholarship to ensure someone impacted by an accident receives that additional support while they pursue their education. A collision or some other accident should never hold someone back from pursuing a degree.
Every year, we award $5,000 to a college or graduate student who understands and appreciates the importance of personal injury law. The recipients may have been injured in an accident themselves or impacted when a loved one was hurt. They may also be active in promoting community health and safety, an important focus at Staver Law Group.
In the inaugural year, the 2014 Personal Injury Scholarship was awarded to Tiffane King, a student at University of California, Irvine School of Law. Tiffane had been seriously injured in an accident herself and used this as motivation to help others through her future legal practice and volunteer work.
In 2015, we awarded the scholarship to Husnah Khan, a student at Wayne State University School of Law. After suffering a concussion in a rear-end accident, Husnah overcame numerous physical and cognitive limitations to reach her goal of attending law school.
In 2016, we awarded the scholarship to Juliana Ruggieri, who intended to further her career by earning a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health and Safety from the University of Wisconsin. Juliana demonstrated a deep understanding of how personal injury attorneys affect leading safety initiatives.
Last year, Tyler Nance received the scholarship. As a student at the University of Alabama, pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering, Tyler hopes to improve the efficiency and safety of space travel. Like Juliana, Tyler demonstrated an understanding of the role personal injury lawyers play in leading safety initiatives, and how he promotes safety every day.
This year, we are confident we will find an equally bright student who has been affected by and understands personal injury law and will continue to positively impact their community.
If you or someone around you has been unfortunately been injured then he might be needing a personal injury lawyer. Though one argues that what’s the need of a personal injury lawyer when they have signed up for an insurance policy. What they don’t realize is that most of the time insurance policies hesitate to pay up the bill and often shorten the amount as well as pressurizes the client. For this reason, one should definitely know the personal injury lawyerand should contact him. It has been estimated that there are roughly around 700,000 injury claims that are filed each year in the U.S alone. There is not one specific type of injury that a person goes through but are many uncountable injuries that a person could unfortunately get. If you were surfing the internet for it then there is nothing to worry about as this article has got you covered. This article will guide you through 6 types of personal injuries that must need a personal injury lawyer.
Car accidents require a personal injury lawyer
There is no doubt that car accidents are one of the most common types of injuries that a person goes through. One of the main reasons for accidents is that one of the people is not following the proper rules of the road or he might be a careless driver. With the help of personal injury lawyer one can definitely make the driver responsible for all the physical and financial damage.
Slip and Fall
Besides car accidents, slip and fall cases are one of the most unfortunate personal injuries that an individual can go through. Many people which mainly include property owners are held responsible for not keeping their property safe due to which many people become a victim of slip and fall cases.
Medical malpractice claims can be filed with the help of a personal injury lawyer if a doctor fails to provide valid treatment to their patient according to appropriate medical standards. Though it is not as simple it sounds because getting bad results doesn’t ensure that malpractice has occurred. One should definitely go through the details before filing or claiming one of these.
Defamation is found to be one of the most worse injuries that a person can go through. The main reason is that road accidents can be healed in a few weeks but sometimes defamations can take quite long times such as months or even years. One can totally lose self-confidence and self-esteem. Legal action can be taken if any person is found to be defaming another individual with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
If a person has a dog, then it’s his responsibility to make sure that the others nearby his dog are safe. If an individual gets a dog bite then the owner of the dog is held responsible for it without any doubt. With the legal help and advice of personal injury lawyer the owner of the dog can be questioned and held responsible for that financially.
It is quite different from other types of personal injuries as in this one isn’t harmed unintentionally but a person harms another person on purpose and intentionally. These cases can become quite intense with a little touch of criminal cases in them. It is advised by professionals to opt for a personal injury lawyer if one faces these types of issues.
After a severe accident, it’s normal to have questions. What will your recovery look like? When and how can you return to work despite your injuries? What do you need to do next?
“Do I need a personal injury attorney?” however, this is one of the most important questions many people will ask following an accident. The answer, almost always, is yes. The sooner you hire one, the easier and more efficiently your personal injury lawyer can resolve your case. The answers to the following questions can help you understand why.
How Serious Are Your Injuries?
Perhaps you slipped and fell in a local store, sustaining minor scrapes or bruises, or found yourself in a minor fender-bender resulting in little more than cosmetic vehicle damage. Ordinary instances like these happen frequently, and most of us are equipped to handle them on our own.
On the other hand, a slip-and-fall onto a hard surface can break bones or cause concussions; even a “minor” rear-end accident can result in serious damages to the soft tissues of the neck and spine.
If you suffered serious injuries in your accident, you should contact an attorney as soon after the accident as possible. Severe injuries often leave the victims of those accidents with substantial medical bills, extended medical treatments, and in many cases, no or reduced income to help pay for those bills.
Any time you suffer serious injuries in an accident, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or amputation, working with an attorney is invaluable for seeking the compensation you deserve, as well as giving you a better understanding of the claims process and how much compensation you might expect. These often complex injury cases can involve large damage awards and insurance companies that don’t want to pay them; an experienced personal injury attorney will know the best strategies for pursuing your case and protect your best interests through every stage of the claims process.
Who Caused Your Accident?
A personal injury claim requires you to establish that another party caused your injuries. If you believe that happened, or that outside factors contributed to the accident, you probably need an attorney to collect evidence and pursue your personal injury claim.
In many accidents, multiple parties may share liability. An attorney can identify all of those parties and help you seek compensation from each one.
For example, in a medical malpractice case, you may have grounds to file a claim against both the hospital where the malpractice took place and the doctor who committed malpractice, depending on what happened. Similarly, in a truck accident, you might pursue compensation from both a truck driver and the trucking company that employed him.
Have You Spoken With the Insurance Company or Liable Party?
Many accident victims do not think about speaking with an attorney until they have already connected with the insurance company—but you do not have to wait to speak with the liable party or the insurance company that covers the liable party before contacting a personal injury lawyer. In fact, you’re almost always better off letting your personal injury lawyer handle those communications. Insurers are in no hurry to pay out on claims, and insurance companies may use their conversations with you to get you to compromise your claim.
If you already spoke with an insurance company representative, your initial conversation with the insurance company may have triggered your awareness of the need to contact an attorney about your claim.
For example, if:
1. The insurance company denies your claim.
Hearing that the insurance company denied your claim can cause devastation and fear in many accident victims. Not only do you have to navigate your injuries and your recovery, you may worry that you will now have to figure out how to pay your medical bills on your own.
If the insurance company that covers the liable party denies your claim, an attorney can help dispute that denial and achieve a more satisfactory resolution. The insurance company may deny the claim for one of several reasons.
The insurance company believes that the party they cover did not cause the accident. The insurance company may attempt to claim that you caused the accident, or may try to establish that another party bears liability for the accident.
An attorney can help investigate the accident and determine who bears liability. In an auto accident, for example, that might involve not only looking for video of the accident or consulting witnesses at the scene, but bringing in an expert witness who can help establish exactly how the accident occurred and who or what caused it.
Not only that, an attorney can often get access to information that you may have a harder time accessing. In the case of an accident with a commercial truck driver, for example, an attorney might get access to the trucker’s logbook, which will show how long the truck driver spent behind the wheel before the accident.
An attorney might also investigate public records concerning past accidents at an intersection, or take a look at repair reports on a vehicle to determine whether the vehicle received maintenance on a reasonable schedule (or missed needed maintenance that could have prevented the accident).
For many accident victims, that investigation doesn’t only turn up evidence concerning who caused the accident. It may also turn up critical information that establishes whether additional parties contributed to the accident. This knowledge can help the victim pursue a personal injury claim against each liable party.
The insurance company disputes that your injuries cause the limitations that you claim. An insurance company covering a personal injury claim may ask to see substantial evidence of the limitations caused by your injuries. The medical bills and medical records, which establish the extent of your injuries, are just the start. The insurance company will often want to know more about how those injuries affect your life, both immediately after the accident and in terms of your long-term prognosis.
The insurance company may also investigate you personally. If the company believes that you exaggerated your injuries or lied about your limitations, it may deny your claim. Often, it will check your social media accounts to see whether you engage in activities that you say your accident prevents you from doing—and it may well take your social media posts far out of context to deny your claim.
An experienced personal injury attorney can give you a better idea of what information the insurance company may need to approve your claim. More importantly, your attorney can help place you in the ideal bargaining position to maximize the odds of a favorable settlement. If the insurance company does deny your claim, an experienced personal injury attorney can appeal the denial and provide evidence to increase your odds of a successful resolution.
2. The insurance company delays responding to your claim or delays payment on your claim.
Some time has passed since your accident, but you have received no response from the insurance company that covers the liable party or from the liable party directly. Conversely, perhaps you received a fast initial communication from the insurance company, but then contact tapered off. Now you have no idea of what to expect next, or when you should expect to receive payment for your claim.
Maybe you even accepted a settlement offer from the insurance company, but the expected payment failed to arrive.
Insurance companies may use multiple tactics to delay payment on your personal injury claim. Often, they do not want to turn that money over before they have to, even though you need those funds to pay for your medical bills and manage your other expenses.
A personal injury attorney can help get the response you need from the insurance company. Often, simply retaining an attorney will let the insurance company know how seriously you plan to pursue compensation. An attorney can also provide you with information about the penalties the insurance company may face for ignoring your claim.
3. The insurance company issues a low settlement offer.
Rather than considering the needs of the victim and adhering to the letter of their policies, many insurance companies will try to minimize the compensation they pay an accident victim. Often, this begins shortly after the accident. The insurance company may contact you within days of the accident to provide a settlement offer. This offer may reflect the minimum that the insurance company thinks it can get away with paying you.
If you accept that offer, there is a good chance it is not enough to address the full extent of your injuries (both now and in the future). More importantly, accepting the initial offer usually prevents you from pursuing additional compensation at a later date, even if your actual expenses end up greatly exceeding the amount of the initial settlement.
Before accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company or the liable party in your accident, contact a personal injury attorney. Many will offer a free consultation that will give you a better idea of how much compensation you should expect, and how you should react to the terms offered in a given settlement. An attorney can provide you with valuable advice concerning how to proceed with your claim to prevent you from missing out on the funds you deserve after a serious accident.
4. The insurance company will not negotiate.
You may have chosen not to contact a personal injury attorney immediately after receiving a settlement offer. After all, one look at it told you that the offer did not reflect the funds you actually deserved, especially considering the severity of your accident. You rejected the offer, and came back with a counteroffer of your own.
Unfortunately, the insurance company continues to respond with extremely low offers that fail to reflect the true expense of your injuries.
A personal injury attorney will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. If your claim needs to go to court, an attorney can represent you. Throughout the negotiation process, the attorney will keep your needs in mind, not the needs of the insurance company. Insurance companies know it’s easier to take advantage of an unrepresented claimant. By securing the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can show insurers that you mean business.
How Much Time Has Passed Since Your Accident?
Every state determines its own statute of limitations, or the time period in which an injured person can file a personal injury claim. This is why it’s vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible—should this time period lapse, you are likely barred from presenting a claim.
If time has passed since your accident, especially if you have not communicated with the insurance company or liable party at all, immediately consult a personal injury attorney to ensure your claim is still valid. This is why the most common piece of advice to victims of personal injury is to contact an attorney as soon as possible after their injury.
Do You Have Questions About Your Rights?
Most people know little about their rights following a serious injury, whether due to an auto accident, nursing home abuse or negligence, or a slip and fall. You may not know how much compensation you deserve, how long it will take to settle your claim, or even who bears liability for a specific type of accident.
A personal injury lawyer is someone who provides legal representation to individuals who have been injured in an accident. Personal injury lawyers work in tort law, which includes negligent acts as well as intentional acts. They pursue compensation for accident victims.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases often involve the negligent acts of others. This includes automotive accidents, including motorcycle accidents and truck accidents. Personal injury lawyers may also handle other types of transportation accidents, including aviation accidents, bike accidents, mass transportation accidents, boating accidents and pedestrian accidents. They may also handle cases involving premises liability, including negligent FIND MORE LEGAL ARTICLESSEARCHsecurity, slip and fall accidents and animal bites and attacks. They may also handle cases involving nursing home abuse and neglect and construction accidents. Medical malpractice cases also fall under the umbrella of personal injury cases.
Types of Compensation
Personal injury plaintiffs may be entitled to compensation for the damages that they have suffered. This includes medical expenses, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.
Acts of Personal Injury Lawyers
The specific actions that personal injury lawyers do depends on the type of case, specialty area and where they are in the process of a case. Some of the activities that personal injury lawyers may do and how they benefit your case include:
Personal injury lawyers generally work on a contingency fee basis in which they only charge attorney’s fees after they have secured a settlement or jury verdict. Because they often finance a case, they take great care in screening potential clients and evaluating the merits of the case. A personal injury lawyer will not want to take on a case that he or she does not believe will result in a win for the client.
A personal injury may gather evidence to support the plaintiff’s claim. This may involve procuring any police or incident report. He or she may track down witnesses and get witness statements. He or she may take or instruct a photographer to take pictures of the accident report. He or she may also retain evidence for the case, such as property damage, camera footage or other evidence.
Evidence may establish liability for who caused the accident and the extent of the damages that the plaintiff suffered. Evidence may include medical reports, medical records, bills, employment documents, employment reports and property damage reports.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Most people do not negotiate as part of their typical lives. However, personal injury lawyers are used to negotiating with insurance companies. They can review the policy details and determine the maximum level of compensation that may be available based on the specific circumstances of the case. A personal injury lawyer may also handle all communications with the insurance company and prevent the injury victim from doing anything that may jeopardize his or her claim, such as giving a recorded statement.
Sending Demand Letters
A personal injury lawyer may send a demand letter to an insurance company after thoroughly investigating the claim. This demand letter states the facts of the accident and demands a certain amount of damages for the injury that the defendant caused.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, the personal injury lawyer may prepare a complaint against the defendant. The complaint sets out the legal arguments regarding why the defendant is responsible for the accident. The complaint also states an amount of damages that the client is seeking. The defendant generally has 30 days from the date of receiving the complaint to prepare an answer to it.
The plaintiff’s lawyer may initiate discovery processes. This includes sending interrogatories to the defendant to ask for certain information. It can also include deposing parties, witnesses, and experts.
Representing Clients at Trial
If the case proceeds to trial, a personal injury lawyer provides representation in court. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with court customs and procedures and can ensure that these steps are carefully followed.
Contact a Lawyer for Assistance
It is important to have a personal injury lawyer by your side if you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else. A lawyer can help you level the playing field since the other side will likely have a lawyer on his or her side. He or she can draw on resources like expert witnesses and private investigators when necessary. Provided by HG.org
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case.
Being involved in an accident or injury is the most traumatic experience of your life because you will have to deal with a lot of pain and suffering. Hence, you will need to look for someone who is reliable and will be present for you so that you will not face any kind of problem. When you are facing a personal injury issue, you will need to look for assistance and guidance from an experienced lawyer who will help you in your case. But before you hire a lawyer, you should contact them for a free consultation so that you will know whether you should go-ahead to hire a particular lawyer. A personal injury lawyer in Boston is the best option for you because being injured is a very painful situation that you face in your life. Moreover, it is a wise decision that you will need to take for enjoying a host of benefits in the long run. Being involved in a personal injury incident is a costly, stressful, and time-consuming situation that you will have to face. When someone else is liable for the injury, you need to seek compensation from the guilty person so that you will get financial assistance for covering your medical costs.
Benefits of hiring personal injury lawyer for your case
There are many benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer in Boston and the most important benefit is that this professional will assist you in navigating the legal system. You will also get financial compensation from the accused person so that you will get assistance for recovering from your injury. The compensation you receive will help you in covering your medical bills and hospital expenses so that you will be able to recover quickly from the injuries that you have sustained. The negligence of the third party might have caused you the injury and the lawyer will make sure that you are not alone in this entire process. Working with a trained and skilled personal injury lawyer in Boston is an important part of getting compensation for your injuries. The lawyer will work on your behalf so that you can focus on healing and you will not have to worry about anything related to the claim process. The lawyer is always present to assist you in your case when you have met with an injury or accident so that you will get all kind of help that you need for getting the desired outcome. Another significant benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer is that the negligent person will have to compensate you for your injury. You will also get the compensation that is very important for completing the personal injury claim process so that you will get what you truly deserve. Thus, you should hire a highly qualified personal injury lawyer for representing your claim for the injuries so that you will have someone who has experience in handling similar claims. The experience of these lawyers includes knowledge of personal injury law, previous case history, and insurance company tactics that are needed for getting favorable results from the case. The lawyer will also put in a lot of time and research for making sure that you will get maximum compensation from the guilty person. As a prospective client, you can also get free consultations from the potential lawyer that you want to hire. This will help you determine whether the lawyer will meet your requirements or not. The lawyer will also help you in your case and with consultation and interview, you can determine whether the lawyer will be helpful in your case or not. You should never hire someone before doing proper research about his experience, qualification, and expertise in handling your personal injury case.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer in Boston allows you to have the assistance of someone who knows the exact amount of claim. The lawyer will also give you an accurate estimate of your final settlement so that the compensation amount will help you in your quick recovery. You should never trust any lawyer blindly but you should make sure that the lawyer has positive reviews from its past clients. This will help you in determining whether the lawyer will help in your case and will also ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation. Handling the insurance claims is also a difficult process and you shouldn’t get into this matter. Hence, you should hire a lawyer who will talk to the insurance company and will make sure that you will get a good amount of money from the insurance policy.
Know the importance of hiring a lawyer for personal injury claims.
The lawyer will make an effort for getting the maximum amount of money from the insurance company who might try to undervalue the policy amount. Therefore, you should hire a lawyer who will help you by providing you maximum benefits for a long period of time. You will not have to struggle with your pain or sufferings when you have the assistance of a personal injury lawyer who is always present to handle your case in the most efficient manner. When a lawyer will represent you in court, you can rest assured that your case outcome will be for your benefit. You will also get a high insurance settlement and when you have suffered from minor or major problems, you should hire an experienced lawyer for your case. The impact of a personal injury is severe on your finance as well you as your life and you should make an effort to hire someone who will minimize the impact so that you will not suffer from financial problems. Moreover, the compensation that you get will help you in your quick recovery and the lawyer will make sure you get the maximum compensation that will accelerate your recovery process. The right selection of a personal injury lawyer in Boston will make a huge difference in your life because it will determine the court ruling and the outcome of your case. This is the reason why you need to be careful while hiring a personal injury lawyer so that you will get the desired outcome from your case.