In an accident with subsequent injuries where victims believe that a negligent party was responsible, the victim may file a personal injury claim against the liable parties.
While smaller cases may not be particularly complicated and don’t require the help of a personal injury attorney, others may involve serious injuries or high costs that make a lawyer worth hiring. Some cases may also go to trial, in which a personal injury lawyer is vital.
If you’re wondering what a personal injury lawyer does, the following is a breakdown attorneys can do to build a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Help Their Clients
Motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, work-related accidents, defective products, and medical malpractice cause minor to severe injuries. Regardless of the type of accident, injury victims need to take the time to recover. With so many treatments and other considerations, victims need to focus on healing, which can distract their focus from a personal injury claim.
Personal injury lawyers have the expertise and resources to build a successful claim and protect victims’ rights, giving them the chance to recover.
For example, a personal injury lawyer helps with:
- Answering questions from law enforcement regarding the auto accident
- Assisting with developing payment plans to compensate hospital administrators as medical bills accumulate
- Preparing and providing a statement to insurance companies
- Negotiating with the liable party’s insurance company to recover compensation
- Communicating with liability insurance carriers if victims fell on another party’s property
Although victims can handle these issues alone, they may not have the time, energy, or resources to manage their cases successfully. A personal injury attorney can help with these issues and work toward recovering compensation.
The Functions That Personal Injury Lawyers Perform
Personal injury lawyers perform a range of tasks throughout a personal injury case. These may include:
#1. Explaining Victims’ Rights
Personal injury lawyers can discuss how certain legal issues may impact your rights during a personal injury case. For instance, a personal injury lawyer can inform you of the statute of limitations for your claim, which is the time victims have to file a personal injury claim. In Texas, the statute of limitations is two years from the accident.
Your version of events will guide your attorney as they work to protect your rights. Attorneys will attempt to collect as much information about the accident and injuries as possible to determine the best approach to seek compensation.
#2. Providing Advice
A personal injury lawyer also provides advice for your case and how to proceed. Personal injury cases can become very complex, depending on the nature of the accident and other factors. Lawyers can ensure that you understand what your case will entail, simplify certain concepts, and assist with paperwork.
An attorney may offer advice in a variety of areas. For example, they might recommend that someone seek professional medical treatment despite apparent minor injuries to help identify and diagnose any underlying conditions. Seeking medical treatment generates medical records that attorneys can use as evidence to support a claim or lawsuit.
In addition, an attorney could advise on how to communicate with insurance companies during the claims process. When victims communicate directly and issue statements to insurers, they risk inadvertently compromising their case and denial of their claim.
#3. Case Investigation and Gathering of Evidence
When going through the claims process, attorneys investigate the case and begin the discovery process.
Throughout this process, attorneys:
- Collect photos and video footage of the accident scene, involved vehicles, and injuries
- Connect with and interview witnesses
- Gather employer and police reports
- Check for any potentially dangerous conditions at accident sites or evidence of dangerous conditions, such as vehicle parts and skid marks
By completing these tasks, attorneys build your case and help prove who was at fault for the accident and subsequent damages.
#4. Providing Representation in Court
Most personal injury cases never go to trial, with many settling during the claims process while victims and insurers negotiate a settlement. However, some cases wind up in court if insurance companies deny a claim and attorneys believe a civil trial is required to recover adequate compensation.
Throughout the litigation process, individuals need to adhere to specific procedures. If accident victims are unfamiliar with the trial process, they could hurt rather than help their case by representing themselves. Instead, it helps to have professional legal representation throughout litigation to navigate the trial process.
#5. Accurate Calculation of Compensation
In personal injury cases, victims may recover multiple types of damages. These damages include economic damages that are easier to calculate because of their specific costs and non-economic damages that are more subjective and harder to quantify.
Economic damages, or special damages, include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and the cost of ongoing treatment, among other items with specific dollar amounts. Meanwhile, non-economic or general damages could include less tangible damages such as pain and suffering, psychological distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
It’s often difficult to calculate the precise amount a case is worth based on all damages. Insurance companies will typically try to reach the lowest acceptable settlement amount, but an attorney can determine a case’s true value.
Connect With a Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
Personal injury lawyers perform many tasks to help injury victims recover the compensation they deserve following an accident. If you or a loved one is in an accident and believe another party’s negligence caused or contributed to it, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer today.