Let’s face it personal injury lawyers get a bad rap. They are called “ambulance chasers” and worse by many people, even to this day. The ambulance chaser name for example is based on some bad apple lawyers that when personal injury law first started becoming big, were caught hiring people to follow ambulances to the emergency room to find clients who had been injured in accidents and try to persuade them to contact the lawyer.
They have also gotten a bad rap for so called “frivolous lawsuits”. We have all probably heard about the lady who spilled scalding coffee on herself in the mid-nineties and then successfully sued McDonald’s for millions.
Then there are the horror stories about injury lawyers making back room deals with doctors where the attorney wanting to have a better chance of winning a case involving a car accident might send his injured client to a friendly doctor that would validate and even exaggerate the true level of the injury. The same doctor might even testify in court in support of the lawyer’s client.
And let’s not even mention the onslaught of annoying lawyers on tv commercial and cheesy billboards bragging about their high dollar injury settlements.
Today many of these unsavory tactics are no longer practiced and in recent decades the rules surrounding personal injury lawyers and what they can or cannot be done marketing wise has become much more strict. Many states have also passed “tort reform” where they have put in place damage caps on certain kinds of damages such as pain and suffering that a victim can claim.
But are personal injury lawyers really all evil snake oil salesman who are only out for big pay offs at the expense of the public?
The answer is no, personal injury attorneys do serve an important role in the United States and elsewhere in the world as a balance to the power of large insurance companies who as “for profit” entities do often try to screw over the little guy and pay them as little as possible in compensation for their injuries.
“An experienced personal injury attorney can provide clients with valuable representation at very stressful time” says Matthew Willens from Willens Law in Chicago. Willens and other attorneys like him often find themselves up against extremely powerful corporations and institutions and it’s their role to make sure their client’s rights are protected under the law and to ensure they get full and fair compensation for their injuries and other damages.
So let’s take a look at some of the things personal injury lawyers do for clients:
They protect your rights
You will need the personal injury lawyer so that you understand your rights better along with the legal issues in case you have suffered an accident. The injury laws and legislation are different with respect to the state/country where you reside. And the truth is that only a legal professional understands the laws and legislation associated with your accident. So it is always a great idea to go for a professional and legal expert.
They provide sound legal advice
You need to understand that a injury lawyer have vast real-life experience when it comes to dealing with insurance claim adjustors and their legal team. The legal system is difficult, and you will require professional guidance to ensure mistakes are not made. Submission of statements to the insurance company to deny any liability charges and framing of documents to verify the association of the accident with the resulting injury often will require professional help that only an experienced lawyer can provide.
They aide in the investigation
Your personal injury lawyer can perform an investigation to reconstruct the events of the accident and interrogate the parties who were involved. They may even hire other professionals and expert witnesses to lend credibility to their clients side of the events. The investigation actually helps in forming the groundwork for the recovery of fair compensation.
They charge on a contingency basis
Most personal injury lawyers charge on a contingency basis, that is to say they don’t charge the client legal fees unless or until they win the case and the clients gets a monetary settlement or verdict in the case. This means having to front the costs for medical expenses, all the legal work and for any external expert witnesses. If the case goes to trial then the upfront costs skyrocket.
They assess all the damages
In the very unfortunate cases where the accident you have been involved with has causes serious injuries net loss doesn’t stop with medical expenses and lost wages. You will also have to take into account the mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of future earnings capacity and much more. A good lawyer can help calculate and fight for all damages present and future.
They may need to go to trial
The legal processes is not for amateurs. If the defense is stubborn and the case proceeds to a full-blown litigation battle a strong lawyer in your corner will be invaluable. The reality of the matter is for most cases you will not have to set a foot inside a courtroom as most of the cases usually get settled outside the court. But in case of a proper civil trial involving the recovery of compensation you will need to do things by the book. That is where your personal injury lawyer will come handy for a proper representation of your rights and interests.
You don’t need one until you need one
In conclusion, it’s been said that people hate personal injury lawyers until they need one themselves, as we’ve seen personal injury attorney serve an important purpose and will protect your rights and have a vested interest in the successful outcome of your case.