People who are injured in an automotive crash, a slip and fall accident, or because of a defective product often anticipate receiving an insurance settlement to cover their medical expenses and other damages. It is wise to retain the services of a personal injury attorney to maximize your potential compensation. While a personal injury attorney in Philadelphia could file a lawsuit on your behalf, they also provide other valuable services. Nonetheless, you should concentrate on your medical treatment and health while your lawyer handles the insurance negations or files a lawsuit.
Calculate the Value of Your Claim
Depending on the seriousness of an accident and the severity of the injuries, an accident victim could be facing extended hospitalization and astronomical medical bills. No matter who caused your injury, initially, you will have to pay for these and any other out-of-pocket expenses, co-pays, or deductibles. These additional costs could include prescription medication, parking fees, home healthcare, or modifications to your house.
A serious injury could also result in significant lost time at work. Without sufficient sick or vacation time, you could be losing a substantial amount of wages. Severe injuries could diminish your ability to work and your earning capacity for years or a lifetime.
A personal injury attorney will evaluate your expenses and lost income to calculate the value of your claim. It is important to remember that this calculation is not limited to the expenses you have incurred and wages you lost. It also includes any future medical costs and lost wages related to your injury. Often, this takes weeks or months to evaluate, depending on the seriousness of your injuries and prognosis. Often, a personal injury attorney will work directly with medical and financial experts.
Without understanding the extent of your damages, it is impossible to know if an insurance settlement offer is reasonable, if negotiations are possible, or if it is advisable to file a lawsuit.
Investigating Your Case and Gather Evidence
When someone is hurt in an accident caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person, they might be sure of the other person’s guilt. However, believing or even knowing someone was at fault is much different than proving they were to blame. To ensure a fair insurance settlement or prevail in a lawsuit, you must prove that another party caused your injury. An experienced personal injury attorney will investigate the incident to determine what occurred. An investigation often includes going to the scene of the accident to gather evidence.
Whether you are trying to negotiate a reasonable settlement with an insurer or are planning on taking your case to court, you need evidence to support your claim. A personal injury attorney will talk to witnesses, request police or accident reports, and gather other pertinent documents. In some cases, there might be surveillance video footage available that would confirm the defendant’s negligence. It is important to note that evidence of this type is typically only available for a short period, so you should not hesitate contacting legal counsel.
The evidence gathered will not only establish what happened and who was at fault – it will also be used to determine your compensation. For instance, medical records, bills, pay stubs, and other statements could be critical in calculating your financial losses.
Consult with Experts
Some personal injury cases present a set of facts and circumstances that are too complex to be fully understood through the available evidence. A personal injury attorney has access to various experts that could offer their opinions. For example, in a medical malpractice case, you would probably require the testimony of a healthcare professional to put the available evidence into a framework the jury could understand. Additionally, an accident reconstructionist could be valuable in determining the chain of events that led to your crash. An experienced engineer will examine a product or structure to ascertain if it was defective or establish why there was a malfunction or structural failure.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Will Help You Understand Your Options
An injured accident victim always has options when they are involved in a personal injury case. A lawyer will assist you in understanding those options. Depending on the facts and available evidence, negotiation or mediation might be the best option. It is also possible to avoid court through arbitration. In other cases, filing a lawsuit in court is the appropriate course of action. When you have sustained an injury because of someone else’s negligence, you might feel compelled to make a decision based on stress, anger, or revenge. Having experienced legal representation ensures that you will have the advice of a knowledgeable opinion free of any emotional biases.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Most personal injury or car accident cases will settle without filing a court complaint or before a verdict is entered. Sometimes, this is not in the best interests of the injured party. Insurance companies know that injured victims are often desperate for cash and will offer quick, but artificially low, settlement amounts. Insurance adjusters hope that injured individuals accept the first offer, thinking it is the only one they will get. Since insurance companies have experienced negotiators, you should have a skilled personal injury attorney on your side. While it is possible to negotiate an insurance settlement on your own, competent legal counsel will ensure that some common mistakes are avoided. The best way to maximize your recovery is to have a lawyer advocating for your interests.
Prepare Your Case For Trial
Some cases do not settle. When negotiations hit a wall, a personal injury attorney will begin preparing your case for trial. During preparation, your lawyer will send discovery requests to the defendant and other relevant parties. Through this process, additional evidence could become available that further supports your claim. Just because a case is prepared and filed does not mean it will go to trial. If the evidence begins to mount in your favor and the legal strength of your case improves, an insurance company will often make a significantly higher offer to avoid a costly and unpredictable trial.
Personal injury claims are serious and often complicated. Whether through an insurance settlement or court judgment, an injured victim typically gets one opportunity to obtain compensation. Once you accept an offer or a verdict is entered, you are no longer permitted to seek additional compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney will work with your best interests in mind.