What Does a Personal Injury Attorney Do?
Explains how a personal injury attorney can help you with your personal injury case.
SummaryIf you sustain serious injuries in any type of accident, it’s in your best interest to have a personal injury attorney take care of your claim. You may be wondering, what does a personal injury attorney do for their clients? Regardless of the type of accident you are involved in, the most important thing is for you to focus on recovering from your injuries. The last thing you want to be worried about is medical bills and expenses, insurance companies, PIP benefits, damages, and the like. While you focus on recovering from your injuries and returning your life back to normalcy, a personal injury lawyer will focus on protecting your legal rights under the law. That may sound quite simple, but it actually requires an attorney to recognize legal problems and address them appropriately on your behalf.
Initial ConsultationAt the initial consultation, an attorney will ask you many questions regarding the cause of the accident, your injuries and other important information he or she will need to proceed with your claim. An attorney will also explain some of the different types of compensation you may be entitled to depending on the circumstances of your case. The basis for compensation after an auto accident varies on the facts and circumstances of your particular claim and accident. Our attorneys will do everything we can to investigate the accident and every party who is involved to ensure you that we obtain all information necessary to properly compensate you for your injuries. For instance, if you sustained injuries in a car accident at an intersection, an attorney will likely ask you about any lights, signals, or signs you remember from the intersection. In a slip and fall type of case, an attorney will want to know who owns the property on which you fell on and what caused you to fall. After an attorney gathers all of the facts and evidence, he or she will then discuss your personal injury claim with your insurance company regarding coverage for medical expenses, vehicle repairs, health insurance subrogation rights, and liability amongst the parties. As your auto insurance policy and applicable workers compensation carriers require cooperation, your attorney will either arrange and supervise your statement or instruct you ahead of time on what to say or not say.
Places All Interested Parties on Notice & Reviews Insurance CoverageAdditionally, an attorney will notify all interested parties and place them on notice you are represented by legal counsel. This means that all future contacts or inquires must go through his office going forward. Your lawyer will usually demand a copy of your motor vehicle insurance policy from your insurer. Once the policy is obtained, an attorney will review the policy to make sure that there is sufficient coverage available for your injuries including any applicable PIP, liability, medical payments, Uninsured Motorist coverage, and Underinsured Motorist coverage. This will eliminate any concerns you may have about insurance coverage and available benefits. He also will request benefits information from your health insurance carrier.
Evaluates all Potential Legal IssuesWhen your attorney has gathered enough information and evidence, he performs a detailed analysis of all potential defendants and sources of compensation in your case. Apart from liability arising out of the negligent use of an automobile, other claims and causes of action should be considered. For example, if the client was injured while on the job, a workers’ compensation claim may exist. Additionally, automobile accidents are frequently caused by defective or improperly maintained vehicles or roadways. If PIP coverage is insufficient or unavailable to the injured client, and the tortfeasor has little or no liability coverage, the attorney should look for an additional source of coverage under the client’s own uninsured motorist policy. Thus, careful consideration should be given to potential claims against the manufacturer of the vehicle or tires (the so-called “crashworthiness” case), the garage or repair shop, the contractor and state or federal agency responsible for the design or maintenance of the roadway, and adjoining property owners who may have created the condition that caused or contributed to the accident. Claims may also arise out of professional services rendered to you after the accident. An initial tortfeasor may be held responsible for all subsequent injuries, including those caused by medical negligence. A lawyer also reviews applicable statutes, case law, common law, and relevant legal precedents. Finally, once you have recovered from your injuries, your lawyer will often try to settle your personal injury claim with the appropriate liability insurance company. Personal injury attorneys often follow a tradition where they submit a packet of medical bills, reports, income loss documentation and a liability analysis with a settlement demand. If the defendants respond with an offer, this process initiates informal negotiations and may lead to a settlement.