March 15, 2016
What’s a personal injury lawyer? And do you really need to hire a lawyer at all if you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident?
Personal injury refers to physical or mental injuries or conditions as a result of negligence of some kind. A personal injury lawyer is an attorney who seeks fair compensation on behalf of an individual who suffered a personal injury.
Personal injury, of course, doesn’t happen only because of car wrecks. Other types of personal injury can include:
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- Slip and fall
- Faulty equipment, including gas tanks, elevators, or construction cranes
- Toxic exposure
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Burn injuries
- Nursing home abuse
Basically any case or claim that involves an injury to the body or mind falls under the umbrella of personal injury law, with the underlying principle being that you generally have the legal right to recover compensation when you are injured as a result of someone else’s careless action.
And how does that recovery of compensation generally happen? The compensation may result from:
- Settling a claim outside of court
- Through a formal court-based lawsuit
Whichever of these two paths you take after your auto accident, one of the most important decisions you will need to make is whether to hire a lawyer.
Reasons to Hire a Lawyer
Even though the nature of the damage and the injury you’ve suffered will influence the amount of your settlement, no insurance company will ever pay out more than the policy limits (of course their business interest lies in paying out less!). Not only are lawyers experienced in negotiating with insurers, the insurers and defendants may take your claim more seriously if you’re represented by an attorney.
Injuries that may seem minor at first may turn into major ones. If the damage you’ve suffered turns out to be worse than first thought, and you’ve already accepted a settlement offer, you will have given up all rights to make future claims. Your attorney can help you determine when the time is right to accept an offer.
If you’ve suffered personal injury as a result of another driver’s negligence, the amount of financial help you stand to receive will depend not only on the actual damage to your car and the cost of your own medical bills, but might also include compensation for “pain and suffering.” With an attorney representing you, it’s more likely you could receive all the damages to which you’re entitled. This is no small consideration, because like the effects of physical injuries, the effects of emotional injuries can be prolonged and even lifelong.
What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
Here’s the way The Balance describes the work personal injury lawyers do:
“Personal injury lawyers help plaintiffs receive compensation for their losses, including loss of earnings capacity (due to an inability to work), pain and suffering, reasonable medical expenses (both present and expected), emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, legal costs and attorney fees. Personal injury attorneys also work to safeguard clients from being victimized by insurance companies and the legal system.”
Typical tasks include:
- Investigating claims
- Screening potential clients and evaluating the merits of their case
- Gathering evidence
- Formulating legal theories
- Researching case law
- Drafting pleadings and motions
- Interviewing and deposing witnesses
- Preparing for trial
- Advocating at trial
- Counseling clients
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help with My Car Accident Case?
Personal injury lawyers often handle car accident cases. They can help by:
- Communicating with the other driver’s insurer
- Obtaining necessary evidence of liability
- Organizing medical records and bills
- Communicating with healthcare providers
- Organizing and presenting evidence to prove liability
- Negotiating with health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurers to reduce liens
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters
You may need a lawyer because of complex legal rules involved in your particular claim, or because the severity of your injuries might cause your compensation to vary greatly from the norm—or simply because an insurance company refuses to settle a matter in good faith.
You will likely find that not only the skills of an experienced personal injury lawyer, but also the threat to an insurance company that having a lawyer on your side presents, are worth the money you must pay that lawyer to represent you.
Of all the ways in which personal injury may be caused, automobile accidents are actually the area in which most personal injury actions arise. New findings from the Insurance Research Council‘s (IRC) Auto Injury Insurance Claims Study shows that auto injury claim costs per insured vehicle have continued to increase across the United States and “claim severity (the average cost per paid claim) increased in most states.”
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, our personal injury attorneys at Hensley Legal Group can help get you the compensation you deserve. Call today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Be sure to download our free eBook, Consumer’s Guide for Injured Victims.