what does a personal injury lawyer do?
If you are injured in an accident because of another party’s negligence or purposeful act, you can file a personal injury lawsuit for your medical bills and other losses.
While you may file a lawsuit, most injured parties prefer to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle the legal process. A personal injury attorney does more than you may think to help injured parties obtain the compensation they need after a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, slip-and-fall incident, or wrongful death claim.
Nix Patterson’s personal injury attorneys are ready to fight for your rights and compensation if you have been injured in an accident. In a free consultation, we can tell you if you have a strong case and the steps needed to secure justice.
Explaining the Law and Your Rights
The first thing that a personal injury lawyer does is explain your legal rights after an accident. States have different laws regarding handling accident claims, including statutes of limitations and comparative negligence rules.
For example, comparative negligence is the law in many states, such as Texas, meaning that your personal injury settlement or award can be reduced by your percentage of blame for the accident.
Suppose you are in a rear-end car accident and have $25,000 in lost earnings and medical bills for your injured back. But it turns out that you were 25% at fault for the crash because your brake lights were inoperable. So, your settlement amount would be reduced by 25%. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with their state’s complex accident and liability laws and will ensure your case is assembled with those rules in mind.
Offer Legal Advice for Your Specific Case
A personal injury lawyer understands that you probably do not handle injury claims daily and need someone to walk you through the complicated legal process. Your attorney will help you understand confusing legal procedures and filing deadlines, explain complex insurance and medical jargon, and help you navigate the maze of legal paperwork needed in a successful personal injury case.
Additionally, your lawyer will offer objective opinions about the merits of your case. That way, you can make an informed decision about whether to settle the case and for how much, or to take the case to trial.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies
If another driver injures you in a car accident, their insurance company will probably want to talk to you. Or, if you’re hurt on the job, the workers’ compensation insurance company will want a statement from you. Instead of talking to them yourself, your personal injury lawyer will handle everything. The lawyer will:
- Refuse to allow insurance companies for the defendant to speak to you without an attorney present.
- Arrange and oversee any statement you make, and recommend what to say and not say.
- Hold additional conversations with the other party’s insurance company and encourage them to pay a fair settlement for your losses.
- Send demand letters and counter offers to the insurance company to settle the case.
Speaking to the at-fault party’s insurance company without your lawyer is almost always a mistake. They aim to reduce their financial exposure and get you to say something damaging to your claim. Let your experienced car accident lawyer handle the insurance companies.
Provide Representation in Court
Most personal injury claims result in a settlement. Frequently, it is in both sides’ interests to settle the claim without going to court. On your side, you may want to get the compensation you can relatively quickly to get the treatment you need and pay your bills. On the defendant’s side, insurance companies know that going to trial can be risky, especially when the accident is their client’s fault. It can be less expensive to settle the case during negotiations than going through a trial.
However, your personal injury lawyer will be ready to take the case to court if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement. Your attorney should be skilled and experienced in not only settlement negotiations but also going to trial and winning a personal injury lawsuit.
Investigate the Accident
Every personal injury claim hinges on proving that the other person or entity was negligent and caused or contributed to your injuries. It isn’t enough to claim the other person hurt you; it must be proven. Your personal injury lawyer will extensively investigate the case and find out what happened.
For example, suppose you were hurt in a T-bone car accident. In that case, your attorney may visit the accident scene, talk to witnesses, obtain the police report, review any video footage of the accident, and even subpoena cell phone records if distracted texting and driving were a factor.
Your lawyer may also hire expert accident reconstruction professionals to prove your case. Most injured clients don’t have access to the investigatory tools and resources that personal injury lawyers have.
Estimate the Value of Your Case
Many people hurt in a car accident don’t know that their claim may be worth far more than their immediate medical bills and property damage. The laws of most states allow you to file a claim or sue to receive compensation for future medical bills, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
If you file a claim and only get money for current medical bills and your damaged vehicle, you could leave tens of thousands of dollars or more on the table. Plus, once you settle the case, you cannot return for more compensation, so it is essential to understand from the start what the case is worth.
While every personal injury case differs, your attorney will have a rough idea of what your case could be worth based on similar settlements and verdicts in your area.
Assistance Outside of Legal Advice
There are other things that a personal injury lawyer may do for your case outside of legal advice and processes. For instance, your medical providers may not be paid for their services in full until the case is settled or a verdict is reached. A medical lien may be set up to deduct medical services payments from your compensation.
An experienced attorney from a reputable law firm may negotiate with medical providers to take less than you owe. The goal is to get more money for your injuries, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. In some cases, the law firm may have a regular relationship with that medical office, and they could save you some money on medical bills. This is not guaranteed, but it is a lesser-known service many personal injury attorneys offer.
Level the Playing Field
Most people know that personal injury lawyers cost a lot of money and that they make them avoid hiring a lawyer. The injured party may think they can negotiate their own settlement and save legal fees. This is almost always a mistake.
Accident victims should not go against demanding insurance companies and their attorneys alone. Most insurance companies will take advantage of your lack of legal experience and knowledge, and you will probably get less money than you should. Your personal injury lawyer levels the playing field with the insurance companies, forcing them to take your claim seriously and offer a fair settlement. If they refuse to do so, your attorney can threaten a lawsuit.
If you are still considering handling your case, remember that studies prove that people who hire personal injury lawyers obtain more money after an accident than those who do not. Hiring a lawyer may double the money you get in a settlement.
Contact Nix Patterson’s Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Were you recently injured in a car, truck, or slip-and-fall incident? If another person’s negligence caused your injuries, you need an experienced personal injury attorney today. Without a lawyer, you will probably get less than you should for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Nix Patterson’s personal lawyers will advocate passionately for your rights and fight for the most compensation for your losses. Contact us today for a complimentary case review.
Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below.
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