When negligent individuals and entities cause accidents that lead to injuries, you should retain a skilled personal injury lawyer to represent you throughout your case. However, not all personal injury attorneys are the same, and you should hire the best possible attorney to represent you at every stage of the legal proceedings.
To increase your chances of recovering fair monetary compensation in your personal injury claim or lawsuit, there are certain questions that you should ask any prospective attorney.
Once you retain skilled legal counsel to represent you throughout your case, that attorney can file a claim or lawsuit and handle all settlement negotiations with insurance companies and their representatives.
Moreover, if you must litigate your personal injury case in court, your attorney can represent you at all courtroom proceedings, including your civil jury trial.
Your attorney will do everything they can to maximize your case's total value and work to recover the full and fair monetary damages you deserve for all of your accident-related losses.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim or lawsuit typically arises when someone else behaves negligently or recklessly. Negligence can take many forms, but it usually happens when an individual or entity acts unreasonably.
Some common types of occurrences that may result from another person’s negligence include:
- Defective product malfunctions that result from manufacturing, design, or warning defect
- Workplace accidents, including those that occur on construction and building sites
- Premises accidents, including slip and falls and negligent security incidents
- Incidents of medical negligence or malpractice, where a medical provider fails to act reasonably under the circumstances or makes an error or omission
- Car and truck collisions, including those that involve tractor-trailers, big rigs, and semi-trucks
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents, including those that occur at crosswalks and in local parking lots and parking garages
- Boating accidents, where a boat operator violates a law or fails to maintain their watercraft in the proper condition
- Swimming pool accidents, where a premises owner fails to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition
You must establish several legal elements to recover monetary damages following an accident resulting from another person's negligence. In any personal injury claim or lawsuit, the injured accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof.
First, you must show that the other party owed you some legal duty of reasonable care they subsequently violated. For example, if you suffered injuries on someone else's premises, you must demonstrate that the premises owner or manager failed to promptly warn about or correct a hazardous condition on their premises.
In addition to proving a duty-of-care violation, an injured accident victim must show that as a direct result of the other party's negligence, the incident occurred and caused the victim to suffer at least one physical injury.
When proving these legal elements, an experienced personal injury attorney can be an invaluable help. First, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist who can piece together the circumstances surrounding your accident and show precisely how it occurred and who caused it.
Additionally, a medical expert, such as a treating medical provider, can testify that you suffered one or more permanent injuries in your accident and that your injuries directly resulted from the subject accident. These experts can also draft medical reports or testify at a discovery deposition or civil jury trial in court.
Injuries in Accidents Resulting from Others' Negligence
When others behave recklessly or negligently, accidents and injuries very frequently follow. An accident victim's injuries in a particular accident depend on various factors, including the circumstances leading up to the incident, the amount of force involved, and the incident location.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims suffer due to someone else's negligence include:
- Soft tissue neck and back injuries, including whiplash
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Broken bones
- Rib fractures
- Open cuts and abrasions
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Full and partial paralysis injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crush injuries
If you suffered any of these injuries in an accident that resulted from negligence, you should retain a skilled personal injury attorney to represent you in your case as quickly as possible. Waiting too long to seek qualified legal counsel may jeopardize your right to recover monetary compensation and damages for your accident-related losses.
A personal injury attorney in your area can start working on your case immediately by gathering potential evidence, including copies of medical records and bills, investigation reports, and witness statements.
After you conclude your medical treatment or know your future prognosis, your lawyer can begin aggressive settlement negotiations with the at-fault party's insurance company or start litigating your case in court after filing a lawsuit on your behalf. Your lawyer will keep you abreast of any updates and changes in your case and will work to maximize your total monetary recovery at all times.
How Much Experience Do You Have Handling Personal Injury Matters?
When interviewing prospective attorneys, you should ask them about their experience in personal injury matters specifically. Some lawyers handle personal injury cases sporadically, but they only handle these cases as part of a larger practice. Ideally, you want an attorney who handles personal injury matters daily and has a strong command of the applicable personal injury laws in your jurisdiction.
How Often Do You Litigate Personal Injury Cases in Court?
Ideally, when searching for legal representation, you want a personal injury lawyer on your side who does not simply settle all of their personal injury matters. Rather, you want a lawyer who regularly litigates personal injury cases and takes them to civil jury trials, binding arbitrations, mediations, and other litigation proceedings.
Moreover, insurance companies and their adjusters are likely to have more respect for attorneys who regularly litigate their cases and may offer them more significant monetary damages to settle their cases.
How Do You Plan to Keep Me Updated about my Case?
In addition to an attorney with legal experience, you want a lawyer on your side who will keep you updated as to the status of your claim regularly. With the many avenues of technology available, a personal injury attorney can update you frequently about your case status via email, phone call, or text message.
While updating a personal injury client daily is not usually necessary, clients should expect regular updates from their personal injury attorney at least bi-weekly.
What is the Ultimate Value of my Personal Injury Case?
It is also a good idea to ask your personal injury lawyer about the approximate value of your personal injury claim or lawsuit. Although an attorney cannot pinpoint an exact dollar amount for your case, they can provide you with a range based on the nature and extent of your injuries, the type of accident that occurred, the medical treatment that you underwent, the cost of your medical treatment, and the extent of your pain and suffering.
A lawyer who regularly handles personal injury legal matters is likely to have a strong basis for comparison.
How Long Will It Take for My Claim to Resolve?
You can also ask a prospective attorney how long it may take to resolve your personal injury claim or lawsuit. Although every personal injury case is different, your attorney can give you an approximation, depending on the nature and complexity of your case, the legal issues involved, and the court where your case is currently pending.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company for You
Once you retain a skilled personal injury attorney to represent you, they can negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company on your behalf. Dealing with insurance companies sometimes takes several weeks or even months. This is because insurance companies do not have a strong incentive to offer significant monetary compensation to resolve personal injury matters. Instead, many insurance companies want to try and settle their claims as quickly and cheaply as possible.
The right personal injury attorney, on the other hand, will have your legal interests at heart. They can continually point out the strengths of your case and highlight specific areas of the medical records that demonstrate the seriousness of your accident-related injuries. Moreover, if the insurance company does not offer adequate monetary damages, your lawyer can pursue litigation in the court system and take your legal matter to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
When settling or litigating your case in the court system, you have the ultimate decision-making power. Although your attorney can make important (and often helpful) recommendations in your case, you are the one who ultimately decides whether to accept a pending insurance company settlement offer or litigate your case through the court system.
Taking Your Personal Injury Case to Trial or Pursuing Alternative Dispute Resolution
In some personal injury cases, settlement negotiations break down, and the parties cannot agree on a reasonable settlement number. When that happens, the parties may need to take the matter to a civil jury trial.
At a trial, the jury will decide the outcome of all issues that are in dispute at that time. The primary disputed issue is usually monetary compensation – or damages.
During a jury trial, the parties to the case will present evidence supporting their positions. Your personal injury attorney can call you to the witness stand, allowing you to testify about the accident and your injuries.
Your lawyer may also call other fact witnesses, including family members, co-workers, friends, or members of social groups, to testify on your behalf. Finally, your attorney may call a medical expert to testify about the nature and extent of your injuries and whether or not they are likely permanent.
As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties may consider one or more methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Common types of ADR include mediation, where the parties try to settle their case with a neutral mediator's assistance, and binding arbitration, where a neutral arbitrator listens to evidence in the case and decides the issue of monetary damages.
Pursuing Monetary Compensation and Damages in Your Personal Injury Case
The total monetary damages that accident victims recover depend on different factors, including the nature and extent of their injuries, the type of accident, the body part or parts affected, the scope of their medical treatment, and the cost of their past and anticipated medical care.
Types of available compensation in personal injury claims and lawsuits include damages for:
- Past and anticipated medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of use of a body part (such as from spinal cord damage or paralysis)
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Long-term care costs, such as for ongoing treatment at a nursing home or assisted living center
Your attorney should consider all past and future losses, both economic and non-economic. You should never settle for less than you deserve, including your pain and suffering. Discuss the potential value of your claim with a lawyer today.
Talk With a Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer Near You Right Away
One of the biggest mistakes an accident victim can make is not retaining skilled legal counsel to represent them promptly. Going up against an insurance company alone is seldom a good idea. Insurance companies are usually large organizations with vast resources and will make every effort to find a way to not provide you with the compensation you deserve.
By asking essential questions and listening to a prospective attorney's answers, you increase your chances of retaining the best possible legal counsel for your case. Once you retain a personal injury law firm in Bronx to represent you, that lawyer can assist you at every stage of the legal proceedings and work to maximize your total monetary recovery.