There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding personal injury law. For too long, personal injury lawyers have been painted as predators by the press, convincing people to pursue frivolous lawsuits, when this couldn’t be any further from the case. In fact, personal injury attorneys exist to help people who have been wrongfully treated or injured in an accident due to another person’s reckless actions. For that matter, personal injury cases are much more complex than many give them credit for. One of the most famous personal injury claims covered by the media was the “hot coffee” case. In that case, a woman sued McDonald’s after spilling one of their coffees on herself. While this was painted as frivolous, in fact, the coffee was hotter than it safely should have been, and the woman sustained serious burns. But the derogatory coverage of cases like these, which are usually very valid, makes many nervous about the idea of pursuing a personal injury claim. But pursuing a personal injury case is about much more than knowing that you have a claim to make. Did you know that about 20,000 medical malpractice claims are filed each year? With that being said, let’s look into what you should keep in mind before filing any sort of personal injury claim.
Technically, you don’t need a personal injury lawyer in order to file a personal injury claim. But you’re much better off if you have a lawyer on your side. These laws are complex and easily become confusing to the average person. Lawyers are trained to handle these types of cases, particularly those who work in personal injury law. Yes, you will need to pay for your attorney; but you’ll also be much more likely to receive more either through a settlement or a win if you work with a lawyer. Working with a lawyer makes it easier to give what you must to a case, while also trusting that it’s being handled properly by a professional.
You shouldn’t wait on filing a personal injury claim or getting in touch with a lawyer. For one thing, a lot of states have statutes of limitations that they follow related to personal injury claims. Some statutes are more forgiving than others and may vary depending on what type of personal injury case you’re pursuing. The fact is that you need to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as you can after an accident happens, and for that matter, get started on your own as soon as possible, gathering evidence like witness testimonies and documentation.
One way that you can shut down your potential claim before it happens is by signing away your ability to make a claim before you begin one. This happens all too often after accidents occur. One of the reasons why people often have issues with personal injury claims getting anywhere is that those at fault want to resolve them before they start. They’ll offer money, or to simply cover medical bills or time spent unable to work; and if you accept this money, you’ll probably need to sign something in exchange that will make it so that you are legally unable to pursue a claim later. Make sure that you talk to a lawyer and discuss your options with them further before you dismiss the idea of a personal injury claim outright by signing away your rights to pursue one.
With that being said, working with a lawyer doesn’t mean that you need to win a case in order to be compensated. Many personal injury cases are resolved pretrial, through a settlement. Your lawyer would likely be able to negotiate better terms than you would be offered outright. It’s important for you to understand exactly what you want out of your case.
The leadup to a claim is hard, but with the right lawyer, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.