Accidents and personal injury are an unavoidable reality that many of us have dealt with. In these circumstances hiring a personal injury lawyer is not something we think of or really want to do. Without knowing what a lawyer can actually do in these circumstances we assume that they are there to sue someone for money. Additionally, no one wants to bear the cost of extra lawyer expenses or have to deal with the hassles of a lawsuit.
Think about it, you have a car accident and you break your arm. At that point in time, you are thanking God for actually being alive and thinking of your car insurance and medical bills. Hiring a lawyer is not something you think of doing. But that is where most people make the mistake of assuming that lawyers are only good for suing someone for some great injustice and negotiating money. You need to understand the true role of a lawyer in these circumstances and what they can accomplish for you.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Below are some of the circumstances where you should obtain some legal opinions:
- If you have sustained some permanently injuring or long-term injuries.
- If your injuries are severe and it impacts your capacity to work.
- If you are missing work without compensation.
- If the insurance company refused to pay.
- If you are involved in an accident where multiple parties can be held liable for your injuries.
Services and benefits a personal injury lawyer must provide:
After the knowledge a why you need a hire a personal injury lawyer you need to know what that lawyer is going to do for you. Below are some of the services and benefits that a personal injury lawyer should offer you.
- Assistance in case of property damage like loss of a vehicle. Even obtaining a rental vehicle until while your vehicle is being repaired.
- Obtain compensation for your lost wages in the circumstance where your injury impacts your capacity to work.
- Obtain payment for your medical bills. Resolve all insurance issues.
- Assistance in getting PIP benefits.
- Obtain compensation for both temporary and permanent injury.
- Provide legal advice on your options and settlement offers.
- Negotiating a satisfactory settlement for your bodily injury.
Significance of hiring a personal injury lawyer
Now you should take into account that not all the services mentioned above relates to every personal injury case and no lawyer can guarantee that all the above objectives will be achieved. But a lawyer in such cases gets a percentage of the bodily injury settlement and handles all the services listed above free of charge. These cases are taken up as contingency cases, which means no fees unless you win. So, it makes little sense for a person to handle these matters on their own with little to no knowledge of legal matters or skills to handle them. A personal injury lawyer will handle all the above-mentioned matters, submit a well-written demand to the insurance company, negotiate on your behalf for the best possible settlement, and will file a lawsuit if every other possibility fails.
What does personal injury lawyers really mean when they say “no fee if no recovery”:
Almost every personal injury lawyer handles cases on a contingency fee. This means that the lawyer will not receive any attorney fee unless they win the case with a settlement. The fee is usually 33.33% of the total amount recovered.
So, what happens if the lawyer loses the case?
Technically if a lawyer is handling a case on contingency fees, he doesn’t get anything if he loses. But this is where you have to be careful because there are two types of expenses involved in the cases, one is the attorney fee and the other is the case expenses. Case expenses include that money paid to third parties like medical experts, expert witness fees, court reporter fees, charge for medical records, etc. Almost every personal injury case involves these expenses that need to be paid to prepare the case.
Different law firms handle these expenses in different ways. One way is making the client pay for all or some amount of the case expenses at the start of the case or during the case. This method is usually not preferred as it creates a financial burden on the client. Another way is for the lawyer to pay for the expenses and the client reimbursing the lawyer out of the recovery.
So in case, the lawyer loses a case different lawyers have different policies. Some lawyers don’t ask the client to reimburse the law firm for these expenses. Others expect the client to reimburse the firm if the case is lost. So you need to make an informed decision keeping in mind such hidden policies and clauses. The best solution is to sign a contingency fee agreement beforehand involving all clauses and conditions.
Some points to keep in mind before hiring a personal injury lawyer
Sometimes the right lawyer is all that is standing between winning a case and going home with nothing. Like most important decisions you need to research the lawyer, you plan to hire and need to ask some critical questions which will show how committed the lawyer is to your case or how much success he is going to have.
- Peers reviews: There is no official rating system for personal injury lawyers. So, to authenticate a lawyer’s ability, you should check sources where personal injury lawyers are rated based on what their fellow lawyers say about them.
- Sending “Solicitation” letters to potential client’s home after an accident: You have to be careful of such lawyers who will gather information about your personal crisis and will mail you a “solicitation” letter informing you that their firm is willing to represent the victims in their personal injury case. These lawyers usually hire people to obtain traffic accident reports from police officers.
- Advertisements showing benefits: Many personal injury firms while advertising offers benefits like no fee if no recovery, free consultations, etc. But this is not something out of ordinary. Almost every lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases will give you the same benefits.
- Resources to take on a case: Lawsuits involving serious personal injuries can be very expensive to take to court. For example, such cases can require testimonials from multiple medical experts and vehicle reconstruction experts or vehicle safety experts, etc. so the lawyer should have sufficient resources to fund the case properly.
- What cases does the lawyer handle daily: if you have a serious personal injury, you will want to hire a lawyer who deals in personal injury daily rather than some general practitioners who handle different types of legal cases. You have to keep in mind that you might have to go against insurance companies who keep seasoned specialist on personal injury cases. So a general practitioner will likely be at a disadvantage against them.
- How long has the lawyer been handling personal injury cases: it is a given that a lawyer with more experience and a greater number of trials will be preferable than a lawyer who has been practicing for only a few years.
- Does the lawyer actually try the lawsuit in court: Many personal injury lawyers will try to negotiate a settlement before the case reaches a trial. While this can be less time-consuming it can lead to an unsatisfactory settlement. Not many people realize is that lawyers who defend personal injury cases actually know the lawyers who try cases and those who don’t. the insurance companies in turn use this information to assess the risks it can take and makes an inadequate settlement offer unless they believe that your lawyer is willing to try the case in court.
- How long to reach an outcome: the lawyer should be able to provide an approximate time frame base on similar cases.
- Member of legal organizations that specialize in representing the injured: There are many state and national organizations where lawyers are dedicated to representing injury victims. These organizations also sponsor legal publications and legal education programs.
- Board-certified: The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is a national organization that board certification to civil trial lawyers. To have this certification the attorney must have extensive courtroom experience and preparing cases for trial as well as pass an all-day examination.
Now finding a personal injury lawyer in Florida is quite easy given the huge number of lawyers found there. The trouble arises when you try to find a good personal injury lawyer which is like finding a needle in a haystack. Fact is some personal injury cases take years to resolve and some get wrapped up in months with satisfactory results. The difference lay in the lawyer in what you want. You should be confident in your attorney and be assured that he or she knows how to steer the wheel in a way that is best for you. Hopefully, with this article, you now have a clear understanding of what to expect or not while hiring a personal injury lawyer in Florida.