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Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law

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When To Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

A personal injury attorney can help you recover money after an accident to pay for your medical bills and loss of income. The person responsible for causing the accident may not take responsibility for causing your injuries, and your lawyer can take them to court to ensure they are held accountable.

Different states have different laws for personal injury lawsuits, including how long you have to file a claim and how much you can recover in damages. If you think you have a personal injury claim, contact a personal injury lawyer where you live for legal advice and help getting paid for your losses.

First Steps After an Injury Accident

The first step after an injury accident is to address your injuries. Some severe injuries, including head, neck, and back trauma, may be difficult to evaluate right after the accident. Many car accident victims go home after a crash and try to “walk it off,” only to wake up the next day with severe pain and limited mobility. Get medical attention after a vehicle accident.

Some injury victims may not want medical care because of the high costs of medical treatment. If someone else was responsible for causing the accident, a personal injury lawsuit could help you recover money to pay for the medical bills and other damages. A personal injury attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit and get a fair settlement offer to pay for your losses.

Types of Personal Injury Accidents

personal injury claim is a type of civil lawsuit where the plaintiff seeks to recover money damages from the defendants. Any injury accident caused by negligence or related to strict liability can be a type of personal injury accident. Some common types of personal injury claims include:

What Is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

A personal injury lawyer helps people who have been injured because someone else was negligent. A personal injury lawyer has a legal education and is licensed by the state bar association to provide legal services to their clients. An accident lawyer will generally understand state and local personal injury laws, local court rules, and ethical laws to act as a strong advocate for injury victims and their families.

A personal injury lawsuit generally starts with negotiating with the at-fault party who caused the accident. The next step is usually filing a personal injury lawsuit in court. Most personal injury lawsuits do not go to trial. Instead, they commonly settle before trial when the defendants make a fair settlement offer that the plaintiff accepts to drop the lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand more about the timeline of a personal injury lawsuit.

Benefits of a Personal Injury Attorney

There are many benefits to hiring an attorney as soon as possible after your injury. The insurance companies involved are likely to start asking questions immediately. Insurance adjusters could appear to be on your side, but they may actually be trying to get you to say something that hurts your case. Your personal injury lawyer can deal with the insurance companies, so you don’t have to.

Knowing you have an experienced attorney representing your best interests will take the pressure off you. Having a personal injury lawyer on your side also will ensure that you don’t say something to the insurance company or police that could later hurt your chances of recovering medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Can You File a Personal Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?

You have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit without a lawyer, but it can be a complex and confusing legal process. There are strict rules and timelines involved in a civil legal proceeding. If you miss a filing date by even one day, you could lose your chances to recover. There may also be a lot of expenses involved in a lawsuit. A personal injury law firm will generally advance the legal costs of the lawsuit and only recover a fee after you recover compensation for your case. If you have serious injuries, you should consult an attorney.

When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury lawsuits must be filed with the court within a specific timeframe. The statute of limitations is the time limit for filing a legal claim. The statute of limitations varies by state and may also change based on the type of legal claim.

For example, in Mississippi, personal injury actions need to be commenced within 3 years of the date the accident occurred. However, in California, a personal injury claim must be filed within 2 years from the date of the injury.

There may be exceptions for injuries not discovered until later or more time for minors who suffered an injury. For example, in Rhode Island, a minor who suffers a medical malpractice injury must file a medical malpractice claim within 3 years of turning 18.

There may also be shorter time limits when a personal injury claim is filed against the state or local government. For example, in New York, if you suffer a personal injury accident involving the city, a notice of claim must be filed with the city within 90 days of the date of the accident.

It is essential to talk to a personal injury lawyer in your state as soon as possible to ensure your case is filed in time. Filing one day late may mean you are barred from recovering money for your injuries.

How Can I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer?

It can be challenging to find a personal injury lawyer when there is so much information out there. To focus your options, consider the following ways to find the right personal injury lawyer for your case.

Referrals from Friends or Family

If you have a family member or friend involved in an accident, ask them if they have a lawyer they can recommend. Get some recommendations and make some phone calls. Reach out to the lawyers and ask for a free case evaluation. If you have a friend or family member who is a lawyer in a different practice area, they may be able to recommend a personal injury attorney who they trust.

Third-Party Search Tools

There are many third-party lawyer listings online, like LawInfo. LawInfo has listings of lawyers in your area that you can search by practice area and location. For example, if you are looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can search this link for the legal directory and search by legal issue and location. The site also has helpful legal resources and verified lead counsel information to help select legal representation.

State Bar Association

State bar associations license and regulate the practice of law in each state. Many state bar associations and local bar associations have an attorney referral service that you can use to get the name and contact information of lawyers who can help. Some bar associations also have lawyers available with a set fee for an initial short consultation that can help you understand if you have a claim and your legal options.

How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge?

Most personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis. A contingency fee agreement means that the legal team will pay for the upfront legal fees of handling the case, and the plaintiff will not have to pay anything until they receive a settlement or jury award. Contingency agreements are generally based on a percentage of the amount of money recovered. These types of agreements help level the playing field between an injury victim and the insurance companies, who have a lot more legal resources.

The costs of a personal injury lawsuit can depend on how complex the case is and how long it takes. These costs can include fees for filing, deposition costs, hiring expert witnesses, medical record examinations, and other expenses. Before hiring a lawyer, ensure you understand the fee agreement, the contingency percentage, and what additional fees and costs may be included.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Case

After you have a few phone numbers or websites, feel free to contact the lawyers and get more information. Set up an initial consultation to find out more and help figure out which attorney is right for you. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation. Go to the consultation with a list of questions you want to ask, including:

  • What is your experience dealing with cases like mine?
  • Do you charge a flat fee, hourly rate, or contingency fee?
  • How will I be informed and kept updated on my case?
  • Who will be handling my case?
  • Do I have a personal injury claim?
  • How long do I have to file my lawsuit?
  • How much is my case worth?
  • How should I respond to the insurance claim?
  • What steps should I take now?
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