Being injured in an accident or other situation can be an emotional and overwhelming experience. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might require one or more surgeries, physical therapy, and other medical treatment to recover from the injuries. Your recovery could be lengthy, requiring you to miss time from work. The loss of income could result in a financial crisis for your family.
A California personal injury attorney cannot undo what has happened to you. However, having an experienced legal advocate on your side to provide guidance and support can reduce the stress of dealing with a personal injury claim after an injury.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me After an Injury?
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your case, your attorney takes numerous steps to protect your best interest. Steps a personal injury attorney takes for you include:
Conducts a thorough investigation to determine how you were injured and gather evidence
Identify all parties liable for your damages
File insurance claims and handle all communication and negotiations with the insurance companies
Retain accident reconstructionists, investigators, and other experts, when necessary
Work with you and your physicians to document the extent of your injuries and damages
Calculate the correct value for your injury claim and negotiate a settlement for that value
Prepare and file a personal injury lawsuit, if the other party refuses to negotiate a fair settlement
While you focus on healing from your injuries, your accident lawyer focuses on recovering the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.
Should I Work Directly with the Insurance Company?
Working directly with an insurance company to resolve a personal injury claim can be tricky. The insurance company has one goal. It wants to pay as little as possible to resolve your injury claim if it cannot deny the claim outright.
Therefore, the insurance company will never tell you if you accept a lower amount than your claim is worth. It will not tell you if you are entitled to additional damages that you do not know about because you did not consult with a personal injury attorney.
Insurance adjusters are highly-trained, experienced professionals. They work to protect the best interests of the insurance company.
Claims adjusters search for information the insurance company can use to deny or undervalue your claim. They may tell you they need a written or recorded statement to process your claim or that you need to sign a medical records release form. These tactics are designed to get information the company can use to avoid paying the actual value of your claim.
A personal injury attorney protects you from these tactics. Your lawyer handles everything for you so that you are not tricked or pressured into accepting a settlement offer that does not compensate you fully for your damages.
Contact Our California Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
Once you sign a settlement agreement, your case is closed. You cannot demand more money, even if you discover additional damages or injuries. You give up your right to file a lawsuit too. Before you accept a settlement offer, talk with our California personal injury attorney. We provide a free case review so you can get the information you need to make an informed decision about your case. Contact our office today.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, a qualified injury attorney can help you recover your losses so that you can move forward in all aspects of your life—including physical, emotional, and financial. And while there are many factors that can help you prevail in your personal injury lawsuit, client-attorney trust is a key one. Why? We asked a team of professionals to share why this trust matters so much
First of all, it’s important to remember that your lawyer’s goal is to help you. It’s a common misconception that lawyers are dishonest or don’t have your best interest at heart. Lawyers want to help and reach an outcome that works for their clients. Having a good lawyer who you can place your trust in can be a great source of relief.
Having said that, trusting your injury lawyer is important because it will put less stress on yourself. Recovering from an injury can be difficult, so let your lawyer do the work and remove a little bit of your burden by handling your legal concerns. If you trust your lawyer, you’re also more likely to share useful information that could help your case. The more information your lawyer has, the easier it will be for them to do their job and get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Overall, trusting your attorney will remove a good amount of stress from the equation, and it will also help you by giving your lawyer all the information they need to win your case.
It is important to hire a personal injury lawyer whom you can trust so that you receive the most competent and diligent representation possible with the goal of receiving the best outcome for your case via a settlement or by a trial if necessary.
Your personal injury attorney must be competent and up to date on recent changes in the law so that he or she can convince the defendant (insurer, company, individual) that your case has real value and that you must be compensated fairly for the (financial, emotional) loss they caused.
Your personal injury attorney must be diligent at every stage of your case, from collecting evidence to writing a proper demand letter, through preparing for trial. The amount of your settlement out-of-court or judgment at trial is highly dependent on how hard your attorney is willing to work to assert your rights.
Choosing a hard-working, competent, and trustworthy attorney who puts your interests ahead of taking an easy settlement will afford you the best opportunity to reach a reasonable settlement or judgment which will “make you whole” or put your back in the position you were in prior to your injuries.
We Understand What You’re Going Through
People tend to believe that attorneys – and injury attorneys in particular – are greedy and only interested in making a buck. While this may be true for some, it’s certainly not the case for most of us. Like many others, I decided to become a lawyer and focus on personal injury law because of an experience I had when I was young. I saw how insurance companies took advantage of my family after a devastating accident. I decided that I wanted to help other accident victims stand up against big, well-funded companies and assert their rights. I can empathize with what my clients are dealing with. My perspective allows me to help them more than they probably know. It’s important that clients trust that.
We Have Experience They Don’t
Clients need to trust injury lawyers because we have experience handling complex injury claims. We know how insurance companies operate and what steps must be taken to obtain compensation. Our past experiences – including those cases we’ve won and lost – will benefit our future clients. Most accident victims are unfamiliar with insurance claims and lawsuit processes. Insurance companies know this and will try to use that to their advantage. Trusting an attorney who has years of experience negotiating and litigating injury claims will only help to increase the amount of money a client gets.
Trust is key in the attorney client relationship and the success we have in advocating on a client’s behalf lies in the mutual trust for one another. Juries are intuitive to attorneys’ relationships with their client. If a client doesn’t trust his or her injury lawyer, why should the jury?
The reason you trust your injury attorney is because we’re passionate about helping the underdog. Any injury lawyer will tell you they became a lawyer to fight for justice. The insurance company is the Goliath, the injured party is David, your injury lawyer should be your slingshot.
The reason you trust your injury attorney is because they have your best interest at heart! When we say “we don’t get paid if you don’t get paid,” we mean it. We’re one of the few industries where your success is directly connected to what the firm recovers.
While it matters how experienced and knowledgeable the injury attorney is, that won’t mean a thing if no personal connection has been established. Injury cases are, by nature, extremely personal. You’ll be telling your attorney intimate details about your life in preparation for your case. It’s vital to establish trust and rapport with your attorney so that you feel comfortable sharing your life details.
If you or someone you are close to has ever been hit by a car, you know how disoriented one can become when it happens to them. If you’ve been hurt or injured by the negligence of another person, company, or driver; it is possible to seek compensation for your medical bills and other related expenses. You don’t have to call a personal injury lawyer after car accidents, but these are some reasons why you should.
Car accidents and personal injuries cause a lot of pain and emotional upheaval. This trauma may make it difficult to make objective decisions as far as your accident/injury is concerned. A personal injury attorney will file personal injury claims on your behalf. They will also help bring knowledge, skill, and experience into your case; and this will help you get the settlement you deserve.
They Know How to Negotiate
After an accident has occurred, and personal injury claims have been filed, the offending party’s insurance representative handles these cases daily and can be very persuasive when it comes to bargaining for lower compensation. Negotiating with insurance companies can be very challenging and they have techniques on persuading you to accept their first offer. This is why you need an experienced lawyer to help you through this period. Hiring a personal injury lawyer after you’ve been injured often leads to heftier compensation.
They Can Help You Get Medical Attention
Putting your personal injury attorney’s name as one of your emergency contacts will ensure that they are one of the first ones to be called when something happens to you. If they get this call early enough, they may be able to help you get treatment. The quality of treatment you receive at this point speaks to whether you will have a speedy recovery or not. If your attorney is familiar with medical malpractice and personal injury, they can also ensure that you are receiving proper care. While you are recuperating, your injury lawyer could be filing personal injury claims against whoever ran you over or is at fault for the injuries you suffered.
They Help You Make Better Decisions
If you aren’t a lawyer, filing a personal injury claim may seem like a long and complicated legal process. Sometimes, the offending party owns up to their mistake and is willing to compensate you. In such cases, if the compensation amount is adequate for your injuries, it would be unnecessary to take court action. A qualified personal injury lawyer will analyze your unique situation and inform you of the options that are available to you. They can also provide counsel on the best route of action, depending on the severity of your situation.
They Can Provide You With Legal Coverage
Often, the offending parties contest personal injury claims, and this prompts you to take court action. The other party will have a lawyer, and you not having one will probably turn the odds against you. Having the support of a personal injury lawyer will help level the playing field. An experienced lawyer will give you adequate legal representation after car accidents. They will gather all the evidence you need to win your court case.
They Can Help You Get Faster Compensation
If you don’t have a lawyer, you will have to wait until you have recovered sufficiently before going to seek compensation. This implies that it will take you much longer to get your settlement. You should call a personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident. This way, they can file personal injury claims on your behalf while you are recuperating. A qualified personal injury lawyer has vast experience with similar cases to yours and the legalities involved with those cases, hence they can side-step all setbacks and help you get compensated as fast as possible.
They Give You Peace of Mind
Sometimes, accidents may result in fatalities. Other times, they may cause post-traumatic stress and intense emotional trauma. Following up on personal injury claims at such a time may be very stressful. You should hire a personal injury lawyer after you’ve been injured. Experienced lawyers will handle all the complicated aspects of your claim, giving you the peace of mind you need to put all your focus on getting better.
Accidents are a side effect of life. They happen. If you are injured in a car accident, or if you are injured due to the negligence of someone else, you should promptly seek legal help for compensation. Unfortunately; you can’t rely on other’s driving as attentively or as carefully as you are. Road accidents have led to the death of around 40,100 people in 2017. This blog is not to be construed as legal advice and is for general use only. You should always seek advice from an attorney for legal matters.
The following section discusses the relationship and interworkings between you and your divorce attorney and his or her staff.
Attorney and Staff
The attorney and staff work as a team, each doing tasks which they can do most efficiently. The legal assistant is billed out at a lower rate than the attorney; therefore, the legal assistant handles much of the time-consuming tasks involved in gathering information and day-to-day contact with the client. You will be dealing with both the attorney and the legal assistant, together and individually, throughout the relationship.
Your Role as the Client
This is your case, not your attorney’s. There are a number of things that you must do during your case.
You should be as informed and as involved in your case as possible. It is important that you read this document and understand all of its provisions and ask any questions that you might have at any time. You should read and understand any and all documents that are produced in your case.
Keep a File
All correspondence and documents produced in your case will be forwarded to you. Please establish one file in which to keep all your divorce-related documents. Please remember to bring that file with you each time that you visit your attorney’s office.
Tell Your Attorney the Truth
You should be completely honest with your attorney on every aspect of your case and give all information about anything of importance to your case. This includes not only information helpful to your case but, equally important, all facts which might be harmful to your case. Chances are your spouse’s attorney is going to find out about them anyway, so please do not let your attorney be the last to know.
These “bad facts” are usually not as harmful as you may think. In this respect, you do need to be made aware that, at any time you are placed under oath at a deposition or a trial, you will be required to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If you do not, you subject yourself to criminal perjury charges. Likewise, Texas law requires your attorney to see to it that you tell the truth; therefore, when you are under oath, your attorney cannot and will not condone any testimony by you which is less than the whole truth.
Gather Helpful Information
Facts are the heart of your lawsuit. You will be given information sheets to fill out and requested to gather information and documents. This will be time-consuming and tedious work, but it is extremely important. It must be done. You, the client, have a much greater knowledge of and access to this factual information than your attorney.
Further, as you research and piece together this information, you begin to develop the necessary understanding of your case. You can do this work at no charge to yourself, whereas if the lawyer or staff are required to do it, he/she will be billing you for his/her time and labor. For all of these reasons, you should do as much of the information gathering, under the direction of your attorney and staff, as possible.
Review Spouse’s Documents
Your attorney will provide you with copies of all documents supplied by your spouse’s attorney. It is very important that you review these documents immediately, familiarize yourself with them completely, and ask any questions or detect anything important or unusual in the documents (e.g., checks written for unusually high amounts or to unfamiliar persons or sources).
Allow Your Attorney to Make Decisions
No final settlement of your case will be made without your approval and consent. Other major decisions will also be made with your approval and consent (e.g., to demand a jury or not, to seek child custody or not, etc.). However, you will need to allow your attorney the authority to make other decisions that bear on your case, but which involve professional judgment or courtesy. For example, your attorney should decide how to phrase allegations contained in your pleadings and when to file the pleading.
On occasion, your spouse’s attorney may ask for a continuance or postponement of a hearing on a motion, deposition, etc. Resistance to a legitimate request of this nature is often not in your best interest. Your attorney may know that your side will need to make a similar request in the future. Your attorney should be the decision-maker for these and similar matters.
You and your attorney and her staff are in an attorney-client relationship, which is recognized by the law to be a very special relationship. Your attorney and staff owe one hundred percent of the allegiance to you and your case and owe no allegiance to your spouse whatsoever. Your attorney is required to represent you zealously but within the bounds of the law.
Do not be misled if you find your attorney dealing with your spouse’s attorney on a friendly basis. Professional and common courtesy dictate this. Good lawyers are perfectly capable of zealously defending and promoting their clients’ best interests, without becoming personal enemies. Attorneys are in fact trained to be advocates for the children without becoming emotionally involved.
One of the very reasons you hire a lawyer is to have someone on your behalf who not only has legal expertise but who will not become emotionally involved. You want your lawyer to use her head, not her heart. Indeed, you should expect your lawyer to be objective and to remain unemotional on your behalf because it will often be hard for you to do so.
By virtue of the attorney-client relationship, a special privilege is created which is known as the “attorney-client privilege.” The privilege prohibits from disclosure of any information, whether communication orally or in writing, between the attorney and the client, so long as the communication was intended to be confidential.
For example, this very information sheet you are reading is protected from disclosure to your spouse’s attorney under the attorney-client privilege. Such communications also include all correspondence or documents from your attorney/staff to you, and vice versa (e.g., information sheets you prepare for us), as well as all telephone conversations and in-person conferences between you and your attorney and staff.
CAUTION: The attorney-client privilege exists only between you and your attorney and her immediate, in-house staff.
The attorney-client privilege can be waived if the otherwise confidential information is disclosed to persons other than your attorney and her immediate staff. For example, if you tell your spouse something that your attorney has told you, then the information will lose its privilege from disclosure and will have to be disclosed by you in court.
Also, the privilege does not exist between you and other persons who may be involved in your case to assist you (e.g., CPAs, appraisers, etc.). Therefore, be very careful what you say to these persons, even if they are “on your side”, for anything you do or say may be required to be disclosed to your spouse’s attorney.
You should read and understand your fee contract. If you do not understand the financial obligations required of you under the contract, you should immediately discuss those questions with your attorney. You should not sign the contract unless you understand it.
Besides your attorney and her immediate, in-house staff, other outside professionals are sometimes hired to assist in the divorce case. It may be necessary to engage an appraiser, a tax expert, CPA and other such professionals. Your attorney will discuss the necessity of these experts with you and hire only those that are in your case and only with your consent.
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.
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
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.
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.
Personal injury lawyers are civil litigators who represent clients, often referred to as plaintiffs, who are alleging physical or psychological injury as a result of negligence or careless acts by another person, company, organization or government entity.
Personal injury law is a broad term that encompasses a number of different situations where a victim has endured physical or psychological damage. The types of cases that personal injury lawyers typically handle fall within the area of tort law that include slip and fall accidents, motor vehicle accidents, flawed products, and other recreational accidents or accidents that result in serious personal injuries.
The role of a personal injury lawyer is to act on behalf of their injured client to negotiate fair compensation for damages sustained during an incident.
Lawyers who practice personal injury law help their clients obtain compensation for losses incurred, such as loss of income, loss of capacity to earn, inability to perform activities of daily living, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress and legal costs.
Individuals that seek advice or representation from a lawyer should be aware that the lawyer is bound by strict standards of professional and ethical responsibility. In Alberta, lawyers are governed by the Law Society of Alberta and the Code of Conduct sets out the lawyer’s obligations to their clients, courts, counsel and to the public.
FIDUCIARY DUTY TO THE CLIENT
Lawyers are under a ‘fiduciary duty’ to their clients. Lawyers owe a duty of good faith and must act honourably. It is a lawyer’s predominant duty to perform legal services on behalf of his/her client to the standard of a competent lawyer. A client is entitled to expect that his/her lawyer has the ability and the capacity to deal with legal matters.
Lawyers have a fiduciary obligation to their clients and must act honestly and be candid at all times. Lawyers must also act in good faith to advance their client’s best interests. A lawyer is obligated to take all actions and give advice that will benefit their client and must use professional skill to protect their client’s best interests.
One of the most important principles of the lawyer-client relationship is the right to have your private communications with your lawyer protected by solicitor-client privilege. Your lawyer can’t reveal any information that you disclose in confidence, unless you give your express permission. However, this privilege does not apply to communications for the purpose of committing a crime or an act of fraud.
The duty of confidentiality allows clients to participate in honest and frank communication with their lawyers. This, in turn, allows lawyers to provide their clients with the most effective representation, equipped with all of the relevant facts.
In order to claim solicitor-client privilege, three pre-conditions must be met. The communication must be:
Between the lawyer and the client;
For the sole purpose of seeking or giving legal advice; and
Intended to be confidential by the parties.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Lawyers also have a duty not to act or continue to act for a client where a conflict of interest exists. A conflict of interest may occur where there is a risk that a lawyer’s representation of a client will be adversely affected by the lawyer’s own interest or his/her duty to another client or third parties.
For example, a conflict of interest may arise where a lawyer is asked to represent a client in a matter where the lawyer has a personal stake in the outcome. Another example is where a lawyer is asked to act for a client in a case against a former client. In these situations, the duty to avoid conflicts of interest requires that the lawyer refuse to act in these circumstances.
YOUR ROLE AS A CLIENT
In general, there are a variety of ways that you as a client can establish the most effective relationship with your lawyer. These include the following:
Be truthful with your lawyer;
Preserve all evidence including photographs and videos;
Be cooperative and respond to requests for information by your legal team in a timely manner;
Always keep your lawyer informed of any changes in your medical condition or if new evidence becomes available as time progresses;
Attend meetings and legal proceedings, such as discoveries or mediation, advised by your lawyer and be punctual, and if you cannot attend a meeting let your lawyer know as soon as possible; and
Be considerate and polite with your lawyer and the entire legal team.
Hiring a lawyer is one of the most important decisions you make following your accident and the quality of legal representation you receive can have a major impact on your recovery. When you hire Cuming & Gillespie Lawyers, you are hiring award-winning lawyers with over 20 years of experience. You can rest assured that your case is in the best hands.
If you or a loved one have suffered serious personal injuries as a result of the negligence or carelessness of a third party, it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side. The professionals atour service are very familiar with how personal injuries can negatively impact one’s life and we want to help you during this difficult time by advocating on your behalf. Call our office for a free initial consultation online or at 403-571-0555 to determine how we can help you with your personal injury claim.
Once you decide to file a personal injury claim, you want to do everything you can to maximize your potential compensation. A crucial part of making a full recovery is ensuring you have adequate compensation to do so.
What you do after your injury matters, and there are distinct things you can do to make the most of your claim. Having an understanding of what aspects of your injury case are in your control can help you get the maximum amount possible. Here are ten ways to maximize compensation in your personal injury case.
1. Preserve Evidence
The jury is going to decide your case by looking at the evidence. Even the other party is going to decide whether to offer you a fair settlement based on the strength of your case. That means the more you can do to preserve evidence, the greater the chance of winning your case is going to be.
You should take photos of the accident scene and your immediate injuries if you’re able to. It’s important to try to collect names and contact information for witnesses. If there’s a police report, you will want to get a copy as soon as possible. Your attorney can follow up on this information to collect detailed witness statements and prepare the case.
2. Get Medical Treatment
Winning your personal injury case means getting a fair payment for your injuries and other losses. To do this, you need an accurate picture of your damages. You will need doctors and other health care professionals to document your injuries and formulate a treatment plan. This documentation can encourage the other side to come to the table and offer a higher settlement.
You should get medical treatment, even if you’re unsure about the extent of your injuries. If your doctor recommends a treatment plan, you should carefully follow it. This should include seeking any necessary physical therapy and treatment for things like flashbacks and post-traumatic stress.
3. Value Your Claim Fully
Don’t assume that you’re limited to any one type of damages. There are several different types of damages you may suffer because of your injury. You may not even be aware of all of the kinds of injuries and losses that you have.
You can claim compensation for loss of regular use of body functions and even emotional damages. These are in addition to recovering your out-of-pocket losses. An experienced Nevada personal injury lawyer can consult with you to evaluate these categories of damages individually.
4. Don’t Be Too Eager
When you’re hurt, it’s easy to want a check in your hands as soon as possible. Sometimes, accepting the first offer you receive can prevent you from maximizing your compensation.
To get the best recovery in your case, you have to let the other side believe that you’re willing to go the distance. This can mean rejecting the first, second or even third offer. It’s important to work with an attorney for an expert opinion about whether to accept or decline a settlement offer.
5. Explain Why the Offer Is Inadequate
Part of getting maximum compensation means convincing the other side you have a strong case. When you get an insufficient settlement offer, you can respond by explaining to the other side why it’s unacceptable, with documentation that reinforces your assertions.
This settlement rejection can show them that you’re committed to getting the compensation you deserve and that you have a strong case under Nevada law. An attorney can help you handle all of the considerations related to rejecting a settlement offer, and providing documentation on why it’s considered inadequate.
6. Don’t Forget Future Damages
A personal injury can bring losses both immediately and long into the future. You might not fully recover from your injuries before your case goes to trial. It’s crucial to make considerations about future recovery when negotiating a settlement amount.
You can include future damages as a part of your claim. In some cases, future damages might even comprise the majority of your losses. You need to work with medical professionals to document these losses and include them in your claim.
7. Build Your Case
Doing the work to build your case methodically can maximize your damages even if your case never goes to trial. This case preparation includes serving discovery demands to the other side and having your attorney conduct depositions or request records. You may need to be seen by various medical professionals, and your attorney might work with other expert witnesses to build the strength of your case.
Having a strong case prepared for trial can pressure the responsible party to offer you a fair settlement. If the other side senses that you’re not doing the work to build your case, they’ll be more likely to low ball your settlement offer. If they know you’re ready to go to trial and win, they’ll be more inclined to pay you an adequate amount.
8. Don’t Wait to File Your Case
After an injury occurs, you have time limits to bring your case. It’s important to bring your case as soon as possible because you don’t want to risk time running out. After the statute of limitations expires, you may not be able to recover at all. Also, filing your case lets you begin to gather evidence formally.
This can be a critical aspect of being able to preserve the evidence necessary to build your case. It also lets the other side know that you’re serious about getting a fair recovery and moving the case through the courts as quickly as possible.
9. Stay off Socials
Most people are familiar with the phrase that states that everything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. Unfortunately, not all people realize that this phrase also applies to what you say on social media.
If you’re claiming devastating injuries, but your Facebook page tells a different story, it can ruin your case. The other side is watching, and your best bet is to keep quiet and let your attorney do the talking. It’s also a good rule of thumb not to talk about any aspect of your injury case with anyone, or anywhere until a settlement is reached.
10. Make a Good Impression
The other side is going to make a settlement offer based on what they think a jury might do at trial. Juries make their decisions based on what they see and hear at trial. It’s important to put your best foot forward.
This means being polite and respectful at all times and looking your best when you’re due in court. All of these little things can help you convince the other side that a jury is going to be sympathetic to what happened in your case. This small effort can nudge the other side to offer you a fair settlement.
An Attorney Can Help
A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you determine what needs to be done to help maximize your compensation. At each stage, they can help you build your case and communicate with the other side to pursue a fair settlement.
If your case goes to trial, your attorney will be there to help you present yourself and your case in the best way. The legal process takes patience, but your attorney can help you navigate Nevada’s complex legal system and pursue a course of action that results in the maximum compensation possible for your case.
Divorce is never a pleasant or easy process, but it can be even more difficult when a couple struggles to work together. A high conflict divorce is one that is marked by greater than average animosity or conflict between the parties. These divorces can be incredibly difficult emotionally and often take longer to resolve than the average divorce.
Common hallmarks of a high conflict divorce include:
Everything is a battle
Most (or all) divorce matters are contested
A win-lose mentality
Refusal to compromise
In high conflict situations, you may also see one party seeking to control or punish the other. You may also have instances of one spouse trying to hide assets or dissipating marital assets as a means to prevent the other spouse from accessing them. Both dissipation and hiding assets are illegal, and if you believe this is happening with your case, you should contact your lawyer right away.
Why High Conflict Divorces Are So Challenging
High conflict divorces are not only difficult in a literal sense. They are extremely difficult emotionally as well. This is especially true in cases where children are involved. Unfortunately, some people use their children as pawns to get back at their former spouses during a divorce. It also makes establishing a healthy co-parenting relationship extremely difficult.
Issues that are made more difficult by a high conflict situation can include:
Child custody and support
Tips for Navigating a High Conflict Divorce
Many people report feeling isolated and alone when going through a high conflict divorce. It can be difficult for outsiders to understand what you’re going through, and finding support can be difficult. At Hunt Law Firm, we have helped many clients going through all types of high conflict divorces, and we understand what you’re going through. Below we’ve provided a few tips for helping you navigate this difficult process.
Get Help from Your Attorney
Your lawyer is your best resource. When going through a high-conflict divorce, turning to your attorney for guidance is your first step. Not only will a knowledgeable lawyer be able to help you with the legal process of divorce, but they can use their experience to help you know what to expect and provide you with guidance.
For example, if you suspect your spouse is hiding marital assets, your lawyer can help you interpret the situation and advise you on how to proceed. Your lawyer is also an invaluable resource when it comes to helping you find other professionals to help you, such as family counselors, financial advisors, and more.
It is important to remember that your lawyer is on your side. They are here to represent you and your best interests throughout the divorce process and beyond. While you may feel like you are alone, with a good lawyer by your side, you can be sure someone is fighting for you.
Establish Clear Methods of Communication
Communication is one of the most difficult aspects of a high-conflict divorce. Discussions about seemingly small issues can devolve into an outright fight. When dealing with someone who refuses to cooperate, knowing how to talk to them can feel impossible. Though it may take time, establishing clear methods of communication can help.
For example, if you know that phone conversations with your former spouse always end up in a yelling match, consider limiting yourselves to written forms of communication, such as email or text. Sometimes, written communication can give both parties the space they need to consider what they are saying and release them from the burden of responding in the heat of the moment. Written communication also allows you to digest what is being discussed and provides you with time to consider your response before sending it.
In particularly difficult situations, you may wish to limit your communication further. Working with a mediator and allowing your lawyers to handle communication whenever possible may be the best way to avoid confrontation and fighting. Speak with your attorney to find out what the best course of action is for your situation.
Set Boundaries & Stick to Them
It is also important to set boundaries and then do your best to stick to them. For example, making certain topics (such as your personal life) off-limits can help reduce conflict and help keep divorce negotiations on track and focused. Consider limiting discussions to only those topics that are relevant to your divorce. Though it is easier said than done, avoid getting pulled into conversations that you know will trigger a fight.
Even when you set strict boundaries, your former spouse will likely cross them, either intentionally or unintentionally. When this happens, do your best not to engage with them. Or, if you catch yourself getting pulled into a fight, try to remove yourself from the situation if you can. This is incredibly difficult, but over time, it may become a little easier.
Work with a Therapist or Family Counselor
When going through a high conflict divorce, it is important that you take care of your mental and emotional health. It’s also important to remember that you do not have to weather this storm alone. Many people find that working with a therapist or family counselor is helpful while going through a difficult divorce. During a divorce, your life changes drastically, and while you can predict some of the changes, you cannot always predict how you will feel about them. A therapist can also be a good resource after your divorce as you begin rebuilding your life.
Finding the “right” lawyer to represent you is often the most critical factor in a successful recovery.
Insurance companies have the financial resources to hire skilled lawyers who specialize in defending personal injury claims. The experience and skills of your lawyer will play a pivotal role in the amount of compensation you receive.
Most injury victims do not know that the best, most successful personal injury attorneys in your community charge fees that are the same as inexperienced lawyers who have no track record of success in the courtroom.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing a personal injury lawyer from ads alone. There are unscrupulous lawyers who will settle your case quickly for whatever the insurance company will offer because these firms work on a “high volume” and “quick turnover” basis. Every community has a number of personal injury “wannabe” lawyers who would like to grab your case and settle it quickly for low dollars for you (but a high return for the lawyer’s time investment).
So how do you find a good lawyer for a serious personal injury lawsuit?
Like most important decisions, you need to do some “homework” on the lawyers in your community. When you decide to meet with an attorney to discuss your case, you need to ask the right questions to find out if the attorney has a proven track record of success.
The purpose of this free report is to provide you with insights that most injury victims never bother to learn about lawyers who handle personal injury claims. If you follow the advice contained in this report, it may make the difference between winning your case or going home with nothing or significantly less than your case is worth.
1. There are sources that rate personal injury lawyers based on what their colleagues say about them.
How do you find a top-notch lawyer for a serious personal injury case? There are resources you can check before deciding which lawyer to schedule a consultation with. One of the most reliable ways to research a lawyer’s qualifications is to check sources that rate personal injury lawyer reviews based on what their fellow lawyers (and their competitors) say about them. Please understand that there is no other official “rating” system for personal injury lawyers besides peer review by other lawyers. Here are the peer review rating systems that you should check out:
The Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry (www.martindale.com) has peer review ratings of more than 1 million lawyers across the country. It publishes short biographies of these lawyers. For over 130 years, Martindale-Hubbell has been the most respected source of authoritative and reliable information about members of the legal community in the United States. An “AV” rating identifies a lawyer and a firm with a very high to preeminent legal ability and is the highest reflection of expertise, experience, and integrity and overall professional excellence. Martindale-Hubbell ratings are established by attorneys for attorneys and it states: “clearly indicates a demonstration of the highest professional and ethical standards.”
The Best Lawyers in America. (www.bestlawyers.com) The lawyers listed in Best Lawyers been selected by their peers as “the best” in 57 specialties, including personal injury and medical malpractice law.
Superlawyers. ( www.superlawyers.com) Super Lawyers is an annual listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Law & Politics performs the polling, research, and selection of Super Lawyers in a process designed to identify lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Only five percent (5%) of the lawyers in each state are named Super Lawyers.
2. Ask the lawyer, “What percentage of your cases are referrals from other lawyers”?
If you want to know who the top-notch personal injury lawyers are in your community, ask the lawyers who practice there. It’s important to find out whether a significant percentage of a lawyer’s caseload comes from referrals from other lawyers. In any field or profession, the professionals who work in the field usually know who’s good and who’s not. If you have an attorney or a friend who practices law, that might be a good place to start. Even if he or she doesn’t handle injury cases, they are bound to have colleagues who are familiar with the personal injury or malpractice lawyers who are recognized by their peers as being the best in your community.
3. Be careful about lawyers who send “solicitation” letters to your home following an accident.
Recently, an increasing number of personal injury lawyers have been hiring runners or “gophers” to obtain traffic accident reports prepared by local and state police officers. Once the accident reports are obtained, a member of the law firm’s staff will comb through the report to find the name and address of the accident victim. The law firm will then mail a “solicitation” letter to the injury victim informing him/her that the law firm is ready and willing to represent the accident victim in a personal injury case. In our community, it is not unusual for an accident victim to receive fifteen to twenty solicitation letters from law firms. There is a law firm in southern Indiana that sends a solicitation to every single traffic accident victim in the entire state where there is a police report. There are law firms that will continue to send solicitation letters after the initial letter is sent and will even have a staff member call the accident victim and ask if they received the solicitation letters.
The vast, vast majority of law firms that rely on solicitation letters operate on a “high volume, quick turnover” basis. They have difficulty attracting referrals from satisfied clients or other lawyers so they resort to sending out hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of solicitation letters hoping that they will receive responses to their mass mailings. It’s probably safe to say that injury victims who choose an attorney based on a solicitation letter they receive in the mail aren’t doing a lot of research on the law firm they are hiring. Many states are in the process of enacting rules and laws to prohibit lawyers from sending solicitation letters to accident victims.
4. Virtually all personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation and will not charge a fee unless there is a recovery.
Anyone who has ever seen or received any type of advertisements (TV commercials, yellow pages, internet sites, direct mail solicitation letters, etc.) from personal injury firms quickly learns that every injury lawyer makes the same offers:
“No fee if no recovery.”
“Free initial consultation.”
“We will visit you at home or in the hospital.”
A lawyer who offers you a “free consultation” and tells you that he or she will not charge a fee unless there is a recovery in your case (known as a “contingent fee” agreement) is not offering you anything out of the ordinary. Almost every lawyer who specializes in handling personal injury cases will make the same offer.
5. What does it mean when a lawyer says “no fee if no recovery”?
Almost every personal injury lawyer handles injury cases on a contingent fee basis. A “contingent” fee means that there is no attorney fee unless there is a recovery and the fee is a percentage of the amount recovered. (i.e. usually 33.33% of the amount recovered). That means that the lawyer will not charge the client a fee unless there is a recovery. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. This is an area where personal injury victims need to be careful before they make a decision on a lawyer for their case.
If a lawyer agrees to handle your injury case on a contingent fee basis and loses the case, there’s not going to be an issue on whether you owe the lawyer anything for his or her attorney fee. You don’t owe anything. One-third of nothing is nothing. However, consumers must understand that there is a big difference between attorney fees and the case “expenses.” Almost every personal injury case will entail some case “expenses” that need to be paid in order to prepare the case properly. Case expenses are monies paid to third parties to keep the case going: expert witness fees, court reporter fees, charges for medical records, charges for physician reports, filing fees and the many other expenses that go into a personal injury lawsuit.
Case expenses are handled differently by different law firms. In a typical motor vehicle accident case, where the settlement is less than $100,000, the case expenses are usually less than $5,000. However, in a serious personal injury case involving permanent or catastrophic injuries, or in a medical malpractice case, the litigation expenses can run up to $50,000 or more. There are different ways these ongoing litigation expenses are handled by different firms, depending, in large part, on the firm’s philosophy and the firm’s financial resources:
One way is to require the client to pay all or a substantial share of the litigation expenses at the start of a case or on an ongoing basis. That method can create serious financial issues for a client.
Another way is for the lawyer to pay all the expenses as the case goes along, with the client reimbursing the lawyer out of any recovery at the end of the case, after the lawyer’s contingency fee is deducted. For example, if the recovery is $270,000, and the lawyer and the client have agreed to a one-third contingent fee plus reimbursement of the expenses advanced by the lawyer, and the lawyer has advanced $10,000 toward the case expenses, the final disbursement of the settlement will look like this:- you will receive $170,000 – the lawyer will receive $90,000 for his attorney fee; – $10,000 will be paid back to the lawyer to reimburse expenses.
What happens to the expenses if the case is lost? Some lawyers have a policy of not asking the client to reimburse the law firm for the “out of pocket” expenses. Other lawyers expect the client to reimburse the law firm for all the expenses if the case is lost. As a consumer who has choices, you need to find out the lawyer’s policy on expense reimbursement in situations where the case is lost. If a lawyer tries to tell you “don’t worry about it, I’ve never lost a case,” don’t accept that response. Even the very best personal injury lawyers lose cases from time to time.
6. Does this lawyer have the financial and staffing resources to take on my case?
As noted above, lawsuits involving serious or catastrophic personal injuries can be very expensive to take to court. For example, a typical medical malpractice case can involve three, six or even more medical specialties, each one of which needs to have an expert witness hired to deal with issues in that specialty. A serious injury case against a trucking company can involve accident reconstruction experts and trucking safety experts as well as the experts who will be needed to testify about the nature and extent of a client’s injuries (treating physicians, life care planners, vocational experts, economists, etc.). If a lawyer lacks the resources to fund a case properly, corners can be cut at the expense of the client’s case. Or a client can be pressured into taking an inadequate settlement. It pays to hire a lawyer who has the financial resources to take a case all the way to trial, if necessary.
7. What kinds of cases does this lawyer handle on a daily basis?
Some lawyers are “general practitioners” who handle many different types of legal cases, including the occasional personal injury case. If you have a serious personal injury claim, you will want a lawyer who handles personal injury cases on a day-in, day-out basis. The practice of law has become so complex that is it virtually impossible for a general practice lawyer to stay on top of all the developments in personal injury and medical malpractice law. Most of the lawyers who are hired by insurance companies to defend personal injury cases are seasoned specialists who limit their practice to the defense of personal injury cases. A general practitioner is likely to be at a major disadvantage when he or she goes up against a law firm that specializes in the defense of personal injuries cases.
8. How long has this lawyer been handling personal injury cases?
For the most part, lawyers who handle personal injury or medical malpractice cases charge injury victims the same “contingent” fee no matter how long they have been practicing. If a lawyer with only 3 years experience is going to charge you the same fee as a lawyer with 25 years experience and 100 personal injury jury trials under his or her belt, you should strongly consider hiring the more seasoned lawyer. The experience of your lawyer can make a very big difference in the outcome of your case.
9. Does this lawyer actually try lawsuits in court?
Most lay people believe that all personal injury lawyers go to court and try cases on a regular basis. Nothing could be further from the truth. A significant percentage of lawyers who hold themselves out to be “trial lawyers” or “personal injury lawyers” have little or no jury trial experience. One of the first questions you should ask is whether the lawyer tries cases in court, and, if so, how often. This is an important question that many lay people never think to ask.
Lawyers who defend personal injury cases know the injury lawyers who actually try cases and those who don’t. Insurance companies use that information to evaluate their risk. One of the first questions an insurance adjuster will ask when a serious claim comes in is: Who is representing the plaintiff?
There is only one way to get top dollar for your case in a settlement. The insurance company must believe that your lawyer is ready, willing and able to try the case in court. If you hire a lawyer who always settles and never goes to court, be prepared to take a substantial discount on your case.
10. Does this lawyer teach other lawyers?
Lawyers who frequently lecture at legal education seminars (called “CLE” – or continuing legal education) have the esteem of their professional colleagues. They are asked to speak at legal education seminars because other attorneys want to hear what they have to say. Lawyers who regularly write articles in legal publications are usually the authorities in the field and know what they are talking about. Many personal injury lawyers will list the topics of their speaking engagements or their publications on their website. If you want to know whether a lawyer teaches other lawyers about developments in personal injury law or writes articles about personal injury litigation, you should check the lawyer’s website or ask for a copy of the lawyer’s resume.
11. Is this lawyer a member of legal organizations that specialize in representing injured people?
There are both national and state organizations comprised of lawyers who are dedicated to the representation of injury victims. These organizations sponsor legal publications and legal education programs. They also conduct lobbying activities for the rights of consumers. The most prominent national organization is the American Association of Justice (AAJ). In the State of Indiana, the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) is a statewide organization of plaintiff attorneys dedicated to the rights of injured persons. You can certainly find a lawyer who doesn’t belong to any of these groups, but why would you want that lawyer to represent you in a serious injury lawsuit?
12. Is this lawyer a “board-certified” civil trial lawyer by the National Board of Trial Advocacy?
For many years, the medical profession has utilized a system of testing and peer evaluation known as “board certification.” Board certification is designed to identify physicians who have expertise in a particular specialty or sub-specialty of medicine. In recent years, the legal system has begun emulating the board-certification process in the medical profession. The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is a national organization that has a process for civil trial lawyers to achieve board certification. The National Board of Trial Advocacy is part of a larger lawyer certification organization called the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. NBTA certification as a “civil trial attorney” is only available to attorneys who have extensive experience in the courtroom and in preparing cases for trial. In addition to having courtroom experience, an applicant must also pass an all-day examination before receiving board-certification from the NBTA as a civil trial attorney.
Aside from the death of a loved one, a divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. Finding a divorce lawyer can be a daunting task when you’re faced with so many other worries. The lawyer you hire will be representing you for several months, or even a year or more, which means finding the right lawyer can make the divorce process a lot easier on you and your family.
When looking to hire an attorney to represent you in your divorce, you should look for someone with the following qualities:
1. The Ability To Communicate Well
Clear and easy communication with your divorce lawyer is critical. During your case, you will need to be able to effectively communicate your concerns and expectations to your lawyer, and your attorney will need to be able to clearly explain things to you regarding your case and provide you with realistic expectations. If an attorney doesn’t listen to you well or can’t explain things in a way you can understand, you should continue your search.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, your attorney’s ability to communicate with your spouse and your spouse’s attorney is also essential, because good communication between the attorneys can facilitate fruitful negotiation and keep costs down. A good divorce lawyer will try to negotiate resolution of some of the issues that are important to you before heading straight to court. (Of course, the ability to communicate well with your spouse and his/her attorney does require some cooperation on their part as well.)
If you end up in court, your attorney also needs to be able to effectively communicate with the court and litigate passionately. This is important because you will need your attorney to represent your interests clearly and to be trusted by the court.
2. Skill And Experience
You should look for an attorney who not only can represent you, but can represent you well. And in order to represent you well, the attorney must be skilled. Your divorce case is likely to touch all aspects of your life-family, finances, retirement, career, etc. To protect your interests, your attorney should be knowledgeable and experienced enough in his or her practice to deal with the complexities of your case, while allowing you to continue your daily life as much as possible.
You should look for an attorney who has experience in divorce and family law with cases similar to yours. For example, if you are dealing with high-conflict custody, or perhaps a substantial net worth, find out if a divorce lawyer is knowledgeable in those specific areas. Check their credentials thoroughly and look for attorneys who continue to seek knowledge and experience through continuing education opportunities.
When considering hiring an attorney to represent you in your divorce, look for someone who is available at the key points in your case (or who has the support available if an issue comes up while your attorney is in court on another matter or out of the office).
A good divorce lawyer should be available to respond to your questions in a timely manner or, if not available right away, give you a time frame within which to expect an answer.
You should also look for an attorney who is not so busy with other cases that he/she does not have time to devote himself or herself fully to your case. Don’t expect to be your attorney’s only client, but you should not be lost in a sea of clients, either.
4. Composure (A.K.A. Working Well Under Pressure)
Your attorney’s ability to maintain composure is not just about staying calm and focused with you, but also about exhibiting self-control before the court or with your spouse’s attorney, even if frustrated. You should look for a divorce lawyer who will represent your interests strongly, but who will not take it personally when things do not turn out exactly as your attorney intended.
Surprises happen in divorce, because you cannot fully anticipate what the other side or the court will do. Your attorney should maintain composure so that he or she is always representing your interests and is willing and able to adjust their strategy when needed. Your attorney should be focused, composed, and professional, especially when representing you to the court.
5. Support And Resources
It is unlikely that you will be your attorney’s only client, and because your attorney is human, your attorney will not always be immediately available to you when you have a question. You should look for an attorney who has support staff and other attorneys available to assist in the event of an emergency. It is also important that your attorney have support and resources available to prepare your case in a timely manner, such as experienced paralegals, support attorneys, and legal assistants.
All That Sounds Great. But How Do I Find A Divorce Lawyer That Meets These Standards?
Finding a divorce lawyer you are comfortable with, who will also skillfully prepare and present your case and represent you zealously, can take some work. Read our guide on How to Find a Divorce Lawyer for ways to research and select possible attorneys.