Studies have shown time and again that people who suffered injuries in auto accidents due to negligence gain an average of 3.5 times more in settlement compensation if they hire an attorney. One study found that, in 85 percent of cases involving an insurance company settlement, the injured people had an attorney. In short, the recovery amount is much higher when you hire a personal injury attorney, even after the legal fees are deducted.
Many people believe that hiring an attorney will result in a huge bill. For people who are already in financial straits due to a car accident, that’s an understandable concern. What they don’t realize is, personal injury attorney fees are contingent upon the damages received. You don’t have to pay your attorney a dime. The insurance company pays legal fees.
The rest of this article goes into greater detail about personal injury lawyers, what they do, and why you should hire one if you’ve been in an accident.
1. What Are Personal Injury Lawyers?
Personal injury lawyers are civil litigators. They represent clients who are alleging psychological or physical injury as a result of negligence or careless acts by another, whether that is a company, person, government agency, entity, or organization. The area of law in which a personal injury lawyer practices is called tort law.
Tort law concerns civic or private injuries or other wrongs, along with damages that are economic or nonmonetary. Such damages include defamation, actions of bad faith, or breach of contract to an individual’s rights, reputation, or property. Personal injury lawyers are often called trial lawyers; however, most cases are settled before going to trial.
2. What Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?
Personal injury lawyers typically handle cases that fall within tort law like flawed products, work injuries, slip and fall accidents, and car accident injury cases. Personal injury lawyers help compensate clients for their incurred losses. Such losses include the inability to carry out their regular duties, the loss of capacity to earn, pain, and suffering. Losses also include expenses that arise as a result of the accident, sudden loss of companionship, emotional distress, and attorney fees and other legal costs.
3. Are Injury Lawyers Worth It?
Aside from the fact that hiring a lawyer improves the chances of a favorable outcome for your case, trying to handle a personal injury lawsuit yourself can be overwhelming. It’s better to hire a lawyer than to risk your legal rights in attempting to navigate the law yourself. The following are some specific ways an attorney can handle your case with expertise.
Without guidance, a layperson cannot correctly value damages, and this is one of the most important aspects of personal injury cases. If you were to undervalue your injury, or if you don’t heal as you expected you would, you can’t revise your lawsuit. An attorney can assess your case as well as your recoverable damages, which include nonphysical harm. From there, he or she can argue the merits of those damages.
Understanding Insurance Company Tactics
Without an attorney present, an insurance company may try to intimidate plaintiffs. They may try to shift blame for the accident to you. They often question your doctor’s assessment of your injuries or argue that you don’t have proof of the full emotional and physical impact of your injuries. An attorney knows that insurance companies can stall the claim settlement in the hopes you will settle for less due to mounting medical bills and other expenses.
Further, they know the track record behind the law firm you hire matters. A reputable firm has a better chance of receiving the money you deserve, partly because the insurance company knows who they are up against. Without an attorney, the insurance company knows you may be vulnerable in more ways than one.
Assessing Long-Term Effects of Injuries
One challenge people face when trying to handle their own case is to account for the costs associated with any future ramifications as it relates to their injury. For example, what if your recovery includes regular visits to a chiropractor for the rest of your life? Your injury may prevent you from returning to your position at work, thus affecting your ability to advance in your career or save for retirement.
Personal injury attorneys can work with your doctors to assess the future implications of your recovery period and resulting lost income potential.
Holding Negligent Parties Responsible
Many times, more than one entity is responsible for your injury. For example, if another driver hits you in an auto accident, some part of the other driver’s car may have malfunctioned, which contributed to the accident. In that case, more than one party is at fault.
A personal injury lawyer has a ready team of investigators and perhaps even accident recreation specialists who can determine who is responsible in car accident injury cases. The attorney can then hold those parties accountable when they file a lawsuit.
Knowledge of Local Laws
Each state has different laws that govern personal injury cases, car accident injury cases, and assessing damages for both. Attorneys are up to date on the laws and keep abreast of changes to legislation. Trying to navigate your state’s legal guidelines for your case yourself will be daunting, to say the least.
Experienced personal injury attorneys serving Denver have spent their careers learning the relevant statutes of personal injury law, including the legal precedents that pertain to automobile or slip and fall accidents, as well as workers’ comp claims.
Knowledge of Insurance Companies and Local Judges
If an insurance company won’t offer you a settlement for your accident claim, they are counting on the fact that you won’t be able to win in court without an attorney.
Personal injury law offices have teams of trial attorneys ready to take on your case. They make their living by negotiating settlements for their clients and, when insurance companies won’t cooperate, your attorney is prepared to fight it out in court.
4. How Much Do Injury Attorneys Charge?
Personal injury attorneys most commonly bill clients using contingency fees. This means that you don’t pay them unless they win your case. Even then, they receive a portion of your settlement rather than bill you directly.
The amount of those fees depends on several factors, including the hours put into your case, the challenges involved, the experience of the attorney or firm, other associated costs, and the amount of the settlement. Based on all these factors, the lawyer receives a percentage of the amount awarded to the client. An average percentage is 35%, though that varies across states and law firms.
If You Have a Personal Injury Claim
Navigating the legal framework surrounding personal injury claims without a lawyer is daunting. If you are in Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Denver, or elsewhere in Colorado and need a personal injury attorney, please contact us for a free consultation.