You are badly injured. It could be from a truck crash or a construction site incident. It could be because of a doctor's mistake or a hospital's negligence. The bottom line, how do you obtain fair compensation?
The answer is both simple and complex. Get a good lawyer and follow their advice. Finding a good lawyer who will be responsive to you can be tricky. There are a lot of adds on TV for attorneys but who knows if what is in the ad is accurate?
Why You Need An Experienced Lawyer
Probably the best way to find an effective lawyer is to talk to friends, neighbors and relatives to see if they have had a positive experience with a lawyer. Take the time to talk to prospective lawyers for your case. Meet with them and make sure you are comfortable communicating with them and that you understand what will be expected of you.
This concept is important because even the best and most experienced personal injury attorney will require your help and cooperation. If you missed time from work, your attorney will need your help to document what time you missed, how much it cost you and why your particular injury or injuries make work infeasible. If you are injury has made it impossible to perform your household chores witnesses will need to be developed to support this.
You must feel comfortable with communicating with your lawyer and you must choose a lawyer who has time to communicate with you. Many victims of personal injuries find that once they are a client of an attorney, the attorney suddenly is too busy to make time to answer their understandable questions. If your attorney is never able to speak to you consider terminating your attorney and finding one who cares enough about you and your case, to find time to communicate with you.
How Are Lawyers Compensated?
Okay, so you have done your due diligence and met with an attorney who you feel comfortable with and who has experience in your sort of case. (Many attorneys don't actually do all kinds of personal injury cases particularly medical malpractice cases) What next? How you will pay them?
The answer is simple. Personal injury lawyers work on contingency fees. A contingency fee is an agreement that if the lawyer sucessfully obtains compensation for you they will get a percentage of your verdict or settlement as payment. Many people have heard that the lawyer will receive no fee if no recovery. Typically the contingent fee is either 1/3 of your recovery or in some circumstances up to 40%.
Thus, if your case produces a $100,000.00 recovery the lawyer receives 1/3 or $33,333.33. You pay nothing if you get nothing. Such an arrangement provides a powerful incentive for your lawyer to maximize the amount of any settlement or verdict.
Obviously paying 40% is substantially more than 1/3 (33.3%) and if an attorney seeks a higher percentage don't just roll over and say okay. On the $100,000.00 recovery above, you lose $6,666.66 at 40%. If your prospective lawyer wants 40% find out why and if you are not satisfied, move on.
What Information Will My Attorney Need?
Once you have engaged a lawyer you will need to help them come to an understanding of how your injury occurred and why it is someone else's fault. In car and truck crash cases, this often contemplates police reports, interviews of witnesses, pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved in the crash. Vehicular damage often is a key to understanding how a crash happened. The more information you can provide the better.
In slip and fall cases, you must show that you were the victim of a hazardous condition that would not have been obvious to you but that would have been known to the owners or managers of the premises where you injury happened.
In medical negligence cases, is is very important to explain what you believe went wrong and why. In all of these personal injury cases the "Liability" end of the case is the first order of business. Without "Liability" or legal responsibility, there can be no case.
If an explicable basis for liability can be sensibly arrived at then the area of "Damages" comes into play. "Damages' are literally the physical, emotional, psychological and economic damages you have suffered.
For "Damages" please stay tuned for tomorrow's article and/ or call Clark and Steinhorn, LLC at (301) 317-1001.