There is an average of over a million auto accidents every year in the US, and unfortunately, many of these accidents result in serious injury. Suffering a serious injury after an accident can have devastating consequences. It can also impact your mental health and your relationships with those closest to you. Here is everything you need to know about the personal injury claims process and what to look for in a serious injury lawyer.
Finding an Injury Attorney
You need an experienced attorney to represent your interests after a serious injury accident. There are more than 1.3 million licensed attorneys in the country but the one you pick should have extensive experience handling cases like yours.
You can research a lawyer’s experience, qualifications, and reputation online. Look for key details like if any disciplinary actions have been taken against the attorney. It should also be apparent what area of law the firm specializes in.
In addition to your independent research, ask a trusted friend or family member for recommendations. It’s always good to know someone who has worked with an attorney first-hand.
The Initial Consultation
The initial consultation is a great time to learn about your prospective injury attorney. As you discuss your case, it should become clear if he or she is well-versed on the subject, especially when it comes to “serious injury.”
A serious injury lawyer is the best option for head trauma, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and spinal injury cases. An initial consultation will also help you and your prospective lawyer get a feel for each other. It’s vital that you and your attorney get along, as your case could last for a good amount of time.
Understanding Fee Structure
The fee structure for your serious injury case is crucial. This is important because the percentage a lawyer collects in legal fees reduces the amount you receive in a settlement. Therefore, you would of course want to know upfront how much you will be paying. A common form of payment structure is known as a contingency fee. This protects clients from being stuck with a large bill.
Essentially, lawyers are only paid if they successfully recover compensation. The contingency fee is based on a percentage of the recovered settlement. Be sure to review a contingency fee document so that you understand how you will be paying your attorney for their services. Don’t hesitate to ask questions before signing and agreeing to any contracts.
The Importance of Communication
Whether you’re looking to obtain a settlement for a serious injury or seeking compensation for property damage after a car accident, you must maintain communication with your attorney throughout the process.
At the root of the attorney-client relationship is a level of trust and consistent communication between each party. You need to feel comfortable speaking to your attorney candidly about the serious injury claim and its impact on your life.
Conversations with your lawyer are generally protected under attorney-client privilege. Unless you waive that privilege, what you discuss with your attorney is confidential. Besides feeling comfortable talking to your lawyer, you also need to know how to go about doing it.
Sending a Serious Injury Demand Letter
Your attorney will prepare a demand letter and send it to the other involved party’s insurance company. This is a persuasive document that is sent to the at-fault party. The demand letter will summarize the accident and the events that followed as a result of the crash. Also, this includes doctor visits, medical records, and out-of-pocket receipts.
Ultimately, the document will specify why the other party was liable for the accident and demand payment for damages. Putting a deadline on the demand letter will encourage the liable party to resolve the claim immediately.
Filing a Lawsuit
It’s not unusual for even the most well-written demand letter to not result in a resolution. If all involved parties cannot reach an agreement, your attorney will need to file a serious injury claim.
A lawsuit begins when your lawyer prepares a complaint and files it in court. The clerk of court will issue a summons, which compels someone to respond to the complaint. You must serve a copy of the summons and complaint on the other side to perfect the service.
After service, the other side will have 20 days to file a response to the complaint. The other party may move to dismiss the case. They could also file an answer and assert affirmative defenses for why they are not at fault.
Resolving Your Claims
Filing a lawsuit may help to reach a resolution to your serious injury and damage claims after your accident. Other times, it will only be the first step in litigation to recovering damages on your behalf.
Your lawyer may need to take part in a persona investigation, which is referred to as “discovery.” During discovery, both sides’ lawyers will collect information regarding the accident and prepare for trial.
When ready, mediation will commence. This is a formal meeting to discuss the case and try to reach a resolution short of trial. If you can’t resolve your case at mediation, your attorney will prepare your case for a trial by jury.
Hire a Lawyer After Your Serious Injury
Hiring a lawyer to represent you in your serious injury case is one of the most important decisions you will make after your accident. By taking time to research your options and understand the process, you will have peace of mind.
For more information about hiring a lawyer for your case, please contact Alpha Accident Lawyers. At Alpha, we represent victims who have been seriously injured in car accidents involving pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, trucks, rideshares (Uber and Lyft), and other automotive vehicles.
We offer a free case evaluation and are here to assist you 24-hours a day, seven days a week.Call for Your Free Consultation