In a time when personal injury cases seem to be so widely known, they aren't as widely understood. This isn't a surprise for anything of a legal nature, really. After all, if you haven't experienced this legal process for yourself, it can be difficult to really understand what it all involves, or what is true. That's why it's important to learn the facts about personal injury lawsuits before you find yourself potentially needing to file one. Here's a look at some of the things that your personal injury lawyer wants you to understand.
You Can Do It Without A Lawyer, But You Shouldn't
One of the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to personal injury lawsuits is filing the claim themselves instead of working with a lawyer. While you certainly can handle the case and the entire litigation or settlement process on your own and save the attorney's fees, you may actually find that it costs you more in the long run.
When you represent yourself instead of working with a lawyer, you lose the legal expertise and leverage that may be able to get you a larger settlement than you would get on your own. Not to mention, most insurance companies will take the case more seriously if they are contacted by an attorney to negotiate instead of being contacted directly by the plaintiff.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can help to ensure that you get the settlement that you deserve without worrying about legal pitfalls, low offers, or other similar problems.
You Don't Typically Have To Pay Up-Front
Another common reason why people avoid filing a personal injury lawsuit is because they worry about having to pay the attorney a large retainer at the outset. In fact, most personal injury lawyers won't ask for any money from you up-front for your case. Instead, they will take the case on a contingency.
Contingency means that their pay for the case is contingent on winning. They have to win your case or get you a settlement in order to get paid. At that point, they receive a percentage of your settlement. Your attorney will tell you what that percentage is before you sign any representation paperwork.
For those who are financially struggling following an accident, this can be a welcome relief that allows you to still get the legal representation that you need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
You Shouldn't Wait To File Your Case
Sometimes, people delay filing a personal injury case because they want to "just relax and recover" after the accident. While this is an understandable sentiment, it's one that could potentially be costly. There's a statute of limitations for almost every legal situation, and personal injury lawsuits are no different.
You'll want to talk with a personal injury lawyer near you right away to find out what the statute of limitations is in your state. That way, you know how much time you have. If you wait too long, you risk exceeding the statute of limitations and being unable to file a claim at all.
You May Have To Appear In Court
You might have visions of your lawyer negotiating a settlement with the insurance company without any necessary intervention from you, while you focus on your recovery and getting back to your daily life. The truth is that most personal injury cases are not hands-off situations for the plaintiff. You'll likely have to attend settlement conferences, give a deposition, potentially attend other depositions, and you might even have to appear in court if the matter can't be settled beforehand.
It's important that you go into the process prepared for the time commitment that it will require from you. It certainly won't consume your days, but you will have some obligations that you'll have to meet along the way.
These are some of the things that your personal injury lawyer wants you to understand before you decide whether or not to file your case. Talk with a lawyer near you today for more information.