Personal injury attorneys help people who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct get compensation for the harm they suffered. They also help families who have lost a loved one to another party’s careless actions or deliberate wrongdoing.
Put simply, personal injury lawyers advocate for individuals and families and fight for their right to recover compensation. They do this by negotiating settlements with insurance providers and by filing a personal injury lawsuit against at-fault parties in civil court.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury claims usually revolve around an act of negligence or wrongdoing that led to someone being injured. While many people associate them primarily with traffic accidents, personal injury law involves a variety of legal matters. Some common types of cases that personal injury attorneys help with include:
- Bicycle accidents
- Boat accidents
- Car accidents
- Commercial motor vehicle collisions (including buses)
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Plane accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability (i.e., being injured on someone else’s property, which may include slip-and-falls, animal attacks, and negligent security)
- Product liability (injuries involving defective products or companies failing to warn consumers about the dangers of a specific product)
- Slip and fall accidents
- Truck accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Wrongful death
Some personal injury lawyers have experience handling a wide range of tort-related matters, while others specialize in one or two specific areas of personal injury law, such as auto accidents or slip-and-falls. When searching for an attorney to take on your injury case, you should look for a lawyer with experience handling claims that are similar to yours.
What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
A personal injury lawyer can help with an injury claim in numerous ways, including the following:
Conducting an Investigation
Personal injury attorneys always exercise care when taking on new clients since they typically finance cases themselves, making their money through a percentage of recovered compensation rather than upfront legal fees. Before they take a case, an attorney will assess the situation to determine whether the client has a valid claim. Personal injury lawyers don’t typically agree to work on a case unless they believe they have a solid chance of winning it for the client.
Once a personal injury attorney has decided to take a case, they will gather evidence of liability, which can be used to support the client’s claim. For instance, a personal injury attorney would likely seek out copies of any police or accident reports, medical records, and other documentation. If there were any witnesses to the incident that caused the client’s injury, the attorney may locate those people and get them to give statements. They may also compile visual evidence, such as photos taken at the scene of the accident or surveillance camera footage that captured the incident. Additionally, they might consult with experts who can provide testimony to support the client’s claim, including medical, mental health, and accident reconstruction experts. They will move quickly to gather and preserve any evidence that could potentially be lost or destroyed. This evidence can then be used to demonstrate that the alleged at-fault party was indeed responsible for the client’s injury.
Determining the Value of Your Claim
A personal injury attorney will calculate the value of the client’s claim once the severity and extent of their injuries and losses are known. The attorney’s goal is to help the client recover the maximum possible compensation for each loss they suffered. Losses can be economic, like medical expenses and lost income, or non-economic, like pain and suffering. For wrongful death cases, a personal injury attorney may be able to help a family recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, medical bills incurred by the deceased person before they passed away, loss of household services, and loss of companionship, guidance, love, and affection.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Personal injury lawyers have extensive experience negotiating with insurance providers, and they understand the tactics that insurance companies use to save money by reducing or denying claims. Injury victims stand a much better chance of securing a fair settlement if they have a personal injury lawyer to negotiate with the insurer and its legal team on their behalf. Personal injury attorneys often handle all other communications with the insurance company as well, which prevents the client from accidentally making a mistake that could jeopardize their claim.
Preparing and Filing Complaints
If settlement talks fall through, or the insurance company simply refuses to offer a fair settlement, a personal injury lawyer may take legal action by preparing and filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Referred to as a complaint, this legal document lays out the reasons why that party, now called the defendant, is liable for the injuries suffered by their client, who is now called the plaintiff. It also specifies the amount of compensation the plaintiff is seeking.
During discovery, which occurs in the pre-trial stage of the legal process, a personal injury attorney will turn over evidence that they have collected to the defense and request evidence from the defendant’s legal team. They may also conduct depositions with experts and witnesses.
Trying the Case in Civil Court
Many personal injury lawsuits end in a settlement agreement. Either party can agree to settle during discovery, mediation, or even during the trial. If a case proceeds to trial, a personal injury attorney will represent the client before a judge and potentially a jury. They will present their client’s case, call witnesses, and act as the client’s personal advocate throughout the often-confusing court proceedings.
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Cost?
Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, meaning that they don’t charge an upfront legal fee. Instead, the attorney only collects their legal fee in the form of a percentage of whatever compensation they obtain for the client. By hiring an attorney who works on a contingency fee basis, injured individuals won’t be adding to the financial burden they’re already facing due to steep medical bills and lost income.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Help
If you were injured in an accident in New York and someone else is to blame, hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you can mean the difference between receiving fair financial compensation and walking away with nothing.
The New York accident lawyers of Finz & Finz, P.C. have the skills, resources, and experience to help you pursue the maximum available compensation for the losses you’ve suffered. Let us help you hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence or misconduct. Contact us today at 855-TOP-FIRM to set up a free consultation.