The idea of talking to a personal injury lawyer may be intimidating to some individuals. Once you’ve been hurt and you know someone else is at fault, but maybe you think addressing the issue on your own is easier. Your thought may be to submit an insurance claim and wait for the payment to be made. However, there are many ways a personal injury lawyer can significantly enhance your chance of getting paid for your medical bills and other damages incurred. Sometimes personal injury claims can be very complicated, most especially if multiple parties are involved in the collision. It can also be complicated to make claims if your injuries are severe and will require treatment for a long duration, or lead to some degree of disability. A personal injury lawyer can help to ensure that you get a fair settlement for your claim. If you handle it all alone, there is high tendency of getting less than your claim is actually worth. Once you hire a personal injury attorney, your attorney can take care of the case and also deal with the necessary details while you concentrate on recovering from the injuries you sustain and also take care of your family. There are some steps along the process after your accident where an experienced Utah personal injury lawyer can be valuable.
There is need for you to gather evidence to support your allegations that the other person caused your accident, and that you have sustained injuries that can be compensated financially whenever you have an accident and want to make a claim for your injuries. A personal injury lawyer will know the kind of evidence you need, how to source for such evidence, and how to prove with the evidence that the other person’s recklessness, negligence, or intentional actions caused your injuries. Your lawyer should also have a set of experienced people who can assist with the various aspect of the investigation. Such individuals may include a physician who can perform an assessment on your injuries, an accident reconstruction expert, or an appraisal that can assist to determine the value of the damaged property.
After gathering all the evidence, your lawyer will put it into writing as a demand letter to the insurance company of the individual that caused your injuries. The demand letter will state clearly what happened to you, how you are affected, and also make a demand for the compensation owed to you based on such facts and evidence. The demand letter is the first step to take in the process of negotiation. A good personal injury attorney brings to the negotiations knowledge of Utah law, insurance policies, and the claims processes, as well as an understanding of the approach most insurance companies use to try to minimize the amount they pay out. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf based on his or her knowledge so as to get a reasonable settlement for you.
A lawsuit may become necessary if the insurance company refuse to pay you. A good personal injury lawyer brings your case to the state and federal court where your case will be heard, including working with judges, clerks, and the lawyer who may be representing the other side. Your lawyer will also be with you through every step of the litigation process, from writing and filing the complaint to trying the case in the court. Your claim may end up hinging some part of Utah or federal law, in which case you would want an attorney who understands the law in details and can make the best possible arguments on your behalf. It is important to know how an insurance company would value your claim. This is to give you an insight to how much in claims your injury worth. The first thing an insurance carrier will consider is the type and amounts of damage incurred and then, the percentage of the fault.
An insurance company will pay for the following types of damages
• Medical Bills: The product you purchased for your injury as well as the services you received during the course of the treatment. For instance, any hospital care that you took, including emergency care, chiropractor visits, doctor appointments, work done by a physical therapist, bandages, braces, crutches, etc., are all medical expenses which are paid for by the insurance company. Most of the medical expenses incurred due to the injuries sustained would be added. The only exception is the medical examination fee that is ordered in preparation for litigation. It is crucial to know the total amount of the medical expenses. The medical expenses can be used to determine the total damages. The amount and type of medical damage incurred can affect other types of damages such as emotional distress, lost wages, pain and suffering. In case you will still need medical service after the settlement, do ensure to add the ongoing medical expenses to your bill. Your medical specialist can give you advice and opinion about how much an ongoing medical care will cost.
• Emotional Distress: Some of the consequences of auto accident are emotional distress, pain, and suffering. In case of a serious accident, it can result to anxiety and fear. Disfiguration can also result to other types of emotional stress such as shock and humiliation. Mental imbalance should also be considered when you want to make your claim from the insurance company.
• Lost Income: If you sustain a serious injury, you won’t be able to work during the period. However, if the injury is permanent, it may be impossible to return to work. You should also include the lost income when you are injured to your claim. This also includes the uncompensated time that you took off from work because of the injury you sustained. It is expected of you to calculate this based on you earning if you are not injured. The lost earning capacity should be added if the victim of the accident won’t be able to earn the amount he or she was earning before the accident.
• Loss of Consortium: Loss of Consortium is a loss incurred by a spouse when his or her partner is injured. It also covers loss of sexual relation, companionship, aid and comfort and partners. In this case, we need to consider some factors before the partner who sues for this kind of benefit will be considered. The factors include:
1. Strength and stability of the marriage,
2. Care given in the relationship before the accident
3. Life expectancy of the couple and
4. Extent to which the interest has been lost as a result of the accident.
Basics of personal injury law
A personal injury lawyer performs many important duties. These common functions include:
• Explains your rights: A personal injury lawyer can explain how an accident and different legal issues affect a person’s rights. Different states have different laws pertaining to the statutes of limitations or how comparative negligence affects a case.
• Provides advice: A personal injury attorney can walk a client through the system with the finesse of a professional tour guide. They help you understand complicated legal procedures, interpret medical and insurance jargon, and get through the maze of paperwork required in personal injury cases. One common piece of advice is not to provide a statement to the other driver’s insurance company since it will simply look for ways to deny liability. An injury lawyer may also recommend seeking medical treatment to document the relationship between the accident and the injury. A personal injury attorney also provides you objective opinions about your case so that you can make the best possible decision that aren’t clouded by fear, anger, frustration, stress and other emotions many injury victims understandably experience.
• Represents in court: Most personal injury cases do not result in a trial; the vast majority is settled even before a lawsuit is filed. However, if the insurance company denies the claim, it’s possible that the only way for the victim to recover is by going through a full civil trial. Litigation is complex and requires close adherence to proper procedures and rules of evidence. This is not a task best handled by a novice.
Lawyers do have skills, you know. There are some great ways they can help:
• Completes a professional investigation: Personal injury firms may have their own investigators document the scene of an accident, interview witnesses and develop theories about how the incident occurred. These might be professional investigators or even retired cops working a new job. Outside experts such as accident reconstruction experts may be necessary if the cause of the accident is in dispute. Your attorney will have a dedicated roster of professionals he or she normally uses and will know who can assist.
• Connects with medical providers: A personal injury lawyer may have a business relationship with a medical professional who may agree to provide medical services in favour of a lien on any future settlement or judgment. They may also have greater experience in understanding serious injuries and may recommend a particular specialist who has provided superb results in previous cases.
• Better assesses damages: Many accident victims only think about the immediate impact of an accident. After all, they could be receiving harassing phone calls from bill collectors, making up funds after being off work for a few weeks and may need to repair their vehicle to get back on the road. However, a personal injury lawyer deals with these cases on a routine basis and can help identify a more accurate estimate of the real and long-term effect of injuries, such as a loss in earning capacity if the accident left the victim disabled. A personal injury lawyer may also ask an economist or actuary for help in assessing the lifetime impact of an accident.
• Works through a variety of legal processes: A personal injury lawyer can help in a number of different judicial forums. For example, he or she may help with informal negotiation with the insurance company before or after a case is filed in court. Alternatively, they may help litigate a case if the settlement offer is not satisfactory to the client or the claim is denied. However, personal injury lawyers can also help in other types of forums such as alternative dispute resolution. Arbitration may be required if the victim’s own insurance company is involved. This involves presenting a case in front of a neutral arbitrator who makes a binding decision. Mediation consists of the victim and the person responsible for the injury working together to reach a solution out of court with the help of a third-party neutral. (See more on mediation and arbitration.) However, sometimes cases that seem simple at first may become more complicated, which may be best handled by hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. For example, someone’s insurance may not have been in effect at the time of the accident or an injury might not reveal itself as chronic until months after the accident.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer is a type of civil litigator who provides legal representation to plaintiffs who are alleging physical or psychological injury as the result of the negligent or careless acts of another person, entity, or organization.
Personal Injury Is Tort Law
Personal injury attorneys specialize in an area known as tort law. This covers private or civil wrongs or injuries, including defamation and actions for bad faith breach of contract. The main goal of tort law is to make the injured party whole again and to discourage others from committing the same offense. Personal injury lawyers help plaintiffs receive compensation for their losses, including loss of earning capacity due to an inability to work, pain and suffering, reasonable medical expenses, both present and expected, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, and legal costs and attorney fees. They also work to safeguard clients from being victimized by insurance companies and the legal system.
What are the credentials of a personal injury lawyer?
To successfully practice personal injury law, passing a written bar exam is mandatory in addition to a written ethics exam. These examinations vary from state to state. The majority of states require applicants to have a college degree and a law degree from an institution that is accredited. Non-accredited law schools have minimum set requirements before they are permitted to offer these courses. As a prerequisite, most states require a Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), a Multistate Essay Examination, a Multistate Expert Responsibility Exam and a set state bar exam as a prerequisite. Other states incorporate a Multistate Performance Test as well. Once qualified and admitted to the bar, they are required to keep abreast with the current development in their fields by continually taking legal education courses. These courses are designed to ensure that personal injury lawyers remain updated in law-related developments, with the number of required hours varying from state to state. Personal injury lawyers tend to concentrate on specific areas of law. By specializing, they are able to amass the required knowledge and experience to take them to the top of their field. There is a special certification program that personal injury lawyers must complete before they are referred to as specialists. The American Bar Association is responsible for this certification. Although individual states regulate their own lawyers, they still adhere to rules of professional responsibility as stated in the United States Constitution. These certification programs come with set standards of knowledge, competence and experience that must be attained before personal injury lawyers are called specialists. Once personal injury lawyers pass the bar exam and are licensed, they can deviate to any specialty within the law profession. However, legal ethics demand that inexperienced lawyers should not represent a client without first enlisting help or learning the issue at hand. To provide the highest quality representation for their clients, most lawyers prefer sticking to a particular area of law, thereby dedicating all of their resources to this area. Within personal injury, a lawyer has a massive number of possible claims. These include accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, workplace injury and more. Some lawyers choose to go further and devote all of their energy and time to a single area of litigation in the personal injury law field, becoming very thorough and experienced at arguing specific types of cases such as work accidents, aviation accidents or medical mistakes.
How is a personal injury lawyers usually compensated?
Professional fees are based on a number of factors, including energy, time, outcome, difficulty, prominence, the experience of the lawyer, and the associated costs of the case. A lawyer may offer the plaintiff a number of payment options, including contingency fees, flat fees, hourly rates and retainers. The most common option is the contingency fee. This protects the client because payment is pegged on the success of the case. Here the lawyer receives a percentage of the awarded amount after a successful trial or settlement. The average mark is 30 percent of the awarded amount. An hourly charge is also a common option. This is where the plaintiff pays for every hour the lawyer represents them. A flat fee option is also available. A flat fee is paid prior to the commencement of the trial. Lastly, some options combine all or more than one of the above options.
What’s a “tort”?
A tort occurs when one person acts wrongfully and, in doing so, causes injury to another person. The injury can occur because of a fall, a car accident, a malfunctioning product, a botched medical procedure, false accusations, poisoning by toxic chemicals, police misconduct, unlawful serving of alcohol to a minor, criminal activity, etc. The list of potential causes of torts is as broad as the activities that occur in society. However, the defining aspect of a tort is the injury without injury or harm, there is no tort, even if someone acted wrongfully. People injured by the wrongful conduct of others can recover monetary damages by suing in a civil court. The time for filing a claim to recover damages for a personal injury can be extremely limited. Regardless of your situation or your age, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you investigate the basis of your claim and ensure that your claim is filed in a timely manner, enabling you to eventually recover any and all damages that you have suffered as a result of the wrongful acts of another.
Personal Injury Attorney
When you need legal help from a Personal Injury Attorney, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506