Do I have a Personal Injury Case?

You have a case if the actions of another individual operating an automobile, truck, airplane, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle were careless. Careless is simply another word for negligent, which is defined as failing to do what a reasonable person would do, given a certain set of circumstances. For example, if an individual failed to stop his vehicle at a red light, as a normal person would, he could be considered negligent and responsible for damages. These can include personal injuries caused by his actions for any pain and suffering, permanent injuries, disabilities, or even death.

In order for damages to be sought, an injury need not be physical. Such cases that involve being subjected to extreme emotional distress or verbal abuse may also entitle you to damages. In the case of a death within a family, surviving family members can recover damages through wrongful death laws & litigation.

Although many personal injury cases only involve minor injuries, you may still be entitled to substantial monetary damages. Medical expenses, no matter how small they are, including hospital expenses, medications, personal therapy can be recovered. In addition, in cases of extreme negligence, punitive damages can be recovered to ensure that the conduct is not repeated in the future.

There is an increased use of mediation as a means of resolving personal injury claims. During the past several years this process has become one of the most widely used methods of arriving at a reasonable compromise settlement in an personal injury or wrongful death claim, especially in claims that would be the most expensive and difficult to litigate to a jury verdict. When approached effectively, it ends the claim or litigation without any further costs to the client; when it fails, the injured individual proceeds to use the regular procedures of litigation and jury trial without any penalties. Additionally, mediation is an extremely cost-effective procedure that could save the injured person an enormous amount of money in litigation expenses.

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Do I need an attorney?

In the case of an injury, there is a good chance that an attorney will secure more damages that you can yourself. However, personal injury is a specialized field, and only certain attorneys are qualified to handle these cases. For example, a corporate attorney specializing in contract law would not be the best choice for a personal injury case.

Choosing an Attorney

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a personal injury attorney. Although all attorneys have attended law school and passed the bar exam, this does not necessarily qualify them.

  1. How long has the attorney been in practice?
  2. Does the attorney have experience in similar cases?
  3. What is the attorney's record in recovering damages for clients?
  4. Is the attorney prepared to take cases on a contingency basis, and does he/she have the financial resources necessary to do so?

What are the costs for a personal injury lawyer?

Personal injury victims with a strong case should not have to pay any out of pocket expenses. Any attorney worth his salt will take on a personal injury case on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney will cover all expenses during the trial, and take his fee as a percentage of the recovery. Typically, this ranges from 1/3 to 1/2 of the total damages.

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