A person who is injured due to someone else’s negligent actions may be entitled to compensation for the injuries and losses suffered. A personal injury lawyer can assist in filing a claim or lawsuit for damages from the responsible party. Compensation may be awarded for future medical costs, lost income or wages and even loss of enjoyment of life. In a wrongful death personal injury case, compensation is often awarded for funeral expenses and the loss of companionship of a loved one who has died.
A reputable injury lawyer will listen carefully to your version of the accident and gather relevant facts from you. The lawyer will review documentation such as police reports, medical bills and income loss statements. He or she will advise you of what other documents are required to pursue a settlement or file a lawsuit.
In a complex personal injury case, the attorney will review relevant statutes, legal precedents and common law. This analysis will help establish a valid rationale for pursuing a claim against the responsible parties. This process is time consuming and requires in-depth research.
If a lawyer offers a free consultation and tells you that he or she will not charge a fee unless there is a recovery in your case (known as a contingency fee agreement), this is normal. Virtually every lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases will make this offer.
After reviewing the case facts, the injury attorney will work with you to determine a value for your injuries and losses. This valuation will be based on three categories of damages: general, special and punitive.
To calculate your losses, the injury lawyer will review your medical records and obtain narrative medical reports from your treating physicians. These reports will describe your injuries, treatment and initial diagnosis, prognosis, and disability information. The lawyer will also work with vocational experts and economists to determine the extent of your limitations caused by your injuries.
Your attorney will take into account your current and projected future losses in order to calculate a reasonable amount of damages. A reputable injury lawyer will never encourage you to settle for less than what is fair. He or she will explain that a quick settlement that is likely to leave you far from a state of recovery is not in your best interests.
If the defendant is a corporation or large company, your attorney will consider whether it can be held accountable for the acts of its employees. For example, if your injuries are caused by a defective product, the law may hold the manufacturer accountable through a doctrine called vicarious liability. In this situation, the employer of the doctor who treated you at a clinic can be held liable for malpractice as well.