When you receive serious injuries in an accident or other unexpected event, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to contact a personal injury lawyer. But what, you ask, can a personal injury lawyer do for me? The answer is: more than you’ve probably ever thought about.
Common Personal Injury Lawyer Activities
A personal injury lawyer is a person who wears many hats. From the beginning of your case to its successful conclusion, he or she is the one who does all the necessary legwork to get you the most compensation possible. Consider the following:
Estimate Your Case’s Value
An experienced personal injury lawyer likely has represented clients in the past whose injuries are the same as, or very similar to, the ones you suffered. He or she is therefore familiar with such injuries and the value that insurance companies or juries place on them. He or she also knows the settlement amounts or jury awards he or she has obtained for his or her injured clients in the past.
All of this makes it relatively easy for him or her to arrive at an initial estimate of the value of your case. This starting point then sets the tone for the lawsuit that follows.
Thoroughly Investigate Your Accident
Your personal injury lawyer’s first job is to thoroughly investigate your accident and the circumstances surrounding it. To do this, he or she will likely:
- Assess the accident scene as soon as possible
- Check for nearby video or surveillance cameras that likely recorded what happened, and obtain copies of any such evidence
- Thoroughly review any accident reports filed by you or others
- Find and interview any accident witnesses
Keep in mind that the sooner you contact a personal injury lawyer, the sooner he or she can begin this all-important investigation, usually while you’re still in the hospital receiving medical treatment.
As part of your personal injury lawyer’s accident investigation, he or she will attempt to determine who or what caused it. This, in turn, determines who you can sue for compensation.
Negotiate With the Insurance Company or Companies
Insurance companies are the bottom line of any accident. No matter who or what entity you sue, he, she, it or they will each have an accident insurance policy out of which your compensation will be paid. Unfortunately, insurance companies are known for their dislike of paying claims. Consequently, the jobs of the various lawyers representing the insurance company or companies involved in your accident is to get you to agree to a quick, low-dollar settlement and to sign a release relieving them of any further liability.
You will probably be surprised to learn that many insurance company claims adjusters have no qualms about calling you while you’re still in the hospital to offer you what may seem like a reasonable settlement amount at first blush, but invariably falls far short of the actual costs associated with your injuries.
In addition, you’re in no position to negotiate with aggressive insurance company representatives while you’re hurting and probably taking pain and other medications. This is a job for your personal injury lawyer and is one of the most important things he or she can do for you.
Assemble Compelling Medical and Other Evidence
It goes without saying that the stronger your case, the better chance you have of receiving a high settlement amount or jury award. Therefore, your personal injury attorney will spend a good amount of time gathering the evidence, medical and otherwise, and assembling it in the manner most favorable to you.
This becomes especially important when establishing the negative impact your injuries will have on you and your earning capacity in the future, possibly for the rest of your life. Once again, your personal injury lawyer, through his past experiences, is in a prime position to work with your doctors and other professionals to ensure that your records and documents are complete and understandable to laymen.
Adhere to State and Federal Law
Every state has its own laws pertaining to personal injury lawsuits. One of the most important of these is your state’s Statute of Limitations, the time frame within which you must file your lawsuit. In South Carolina, for instance, the Statute of Limitations allows you, in most cases, three years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit. Special circumstances may apply to your case, however, that could extend this filing deadline. Your personal injury lawyer must be aware of all aspects of the SOL and ensure that all of your documents are filed on time and according to all state legal requirements. Depending on who you’re suing, one or more federal laws may come into play as well.
Try Your Lawsuit to a Jury
Finally, if the insurance company or companies involved prove to be unreasonable in their settlement offers, your personal injury lawyer must be prepared to exchange his or her negotiating hat for a courtroom hat and take your case to a full-blown jury trial. As you might expect, this requires an entirely different set of skills that an experienced personal injury lawyer should have.
Types of Cases Personal Injury Attorneys Handle
If all of the above sounds overwhelming and complicated, that’s because it is. Personal injury lawsuits can become very complex very quickly, especially with regard to all the confusing medical terminology applicable to your injuries. In addition, different types of accidents usually require different types of evidence and strategy.
You therefore are generally better off hiring a relatively large law firm whose team of lawyers have experience in numerous types of cases, including the following:
- Vehicular accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
If your injuries occurred in a nursing home, you’ll want to hire a personal injury lawyer experienced in nursing home abuse and neglect. Likewise, if a faulty or malfunctioning part caused or contributed to your injuries, you’ll want a personal injury attorney experienced in product liability accidents.
Wisely Choosing Your Lawyer
If your accident and injuries occurred anywhere in South Carolina, the experienced and dedicated team of lawyers at The Jeffcoat Firm Injury & Accident Lawyers stand ready, willing and able to help you get the compensation you deserve. We practice only personal injury law and have been successfully doing so for over 20 years. We have a proven track record of obtaining substantial settlements and jury awards for our injured clients.
We are likewise proud of our reputation for outstanding client service. You can rest assured that your lawyer will be just as concerned about your case and your well-being as you are and will treat you with the respect, empathy and compassion to which you’re entitled as an accident victim. We will always answer your questions, include you in the decision-making process and keep you fully advised of the progress and status of your case. Our goal is to relieve you of your stress and worry so you can concentrate on healing to the greatest extent possible.
So contact us today. We offer you a free initial case evaluation, and we never charge you an attorney’s fee unless and until we successfully conclude your case by getting you the compensation you deserve.