If you have been injured at the hands of someone else, you may have a personal injury claim. The question becomes--how do I hold the wrongdoer responsible for my injuries? The simple answer is to hire a competent personal injury lawyer that is not afraid to go to trial if need be.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
While you can legally represent yourself in a personal injury case, this is not a good idea. Personal injury law is complex, particularly when dealing with savvy insurance defense lawyers or dealing with insurance companies who have paid benefits to you as a result of the injury. Insurance defense lawyers will take advantage of your lack of experience, likely preventing you from obtaining a full recovery in your case. Moreover, a health insurance company that paid medical bills as a result of an injury caused by someone else needs to be put on notice about the claim and will want to get paid back out of any recovery (called subrogation). Failure to properly handle these subrogated interests can put you in hot water.
Most Personal Injury Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
Your best bet--if you've been injured by someone else's wrongdoing--is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you through the process. Most experienced personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to evaluate whether you have a claim worth pursuing and to answer questions you may have. If it makes sense to pursue the claim, an experienced personal injury lawyer will handle all aspects of your claim, with the goal of obtaining the biggest recovery possible.
Attorney Fees Typically Done on a Contingent Fee Basis
Personal injury claims are typically handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning the lawyer gets paid only if you make a recovery. If there is a recovery, the lawyer gets a percentage of the recovery. Contingent fee relationships are often advantageous for an injured person because it reduces the risk. More importantly, the lawyer is incentivized to obtain the biggest recovery possible. The lawyer is incentivized because a big recovery creates a win/win for the client and attorney. There is less tension between the lawyer and client in contingent fee relationship because the lawyer benefits by obtaining the biggest recovery possible.
The attorney fee for most personal injury cases that are handled on a contingent fee basis is one-third (1/3), meaning the client takes home two-thirds (2/3) of any recovery. This percentage, while common, is not set in stone. A personal injury lawyer may require a larger percentage of the recovery if the case has significant risk or is complex.
Find Someone You Trust
When looking for a personal injury attorney, it is worthwhile to take advantage of the free consultation discussed above. You can meet the lawyer in person to gauge whether you feel comfortable with this person handling your claim. You should look to hire someone you can trust, someone who you feel has a good sense of the law, and someone who is going to be willing to take your case to trial if the case does not settle along. Some personal injury lawyers do not like taking cases to trial and will encourage you to settle, despite the fact that a larger recovery may be obtained through the trial process. Most attorneys have websites and have a significant web presence so you can do some preliminary research before you call.
The lawyers at Bird, Jacobsen & Stevens, P.C. are experienced personal injury lawyers. The four lawyers combined have over 100 years of experience handling personal injury claims and will help you navigate your way through the process. The lawyers have significant trial experience and will take your case to trial should the need arise. These lawyers are always available for a free consultation to evaluate your claim and to provide advice about whether it makes sense to go forward. Give us a call to setup a consultation.
For more information about personal injury claims, check out our blog on this issue.