A Personal injury lawyer works with injured people to get their lives back on track after an accident. They help them file a claim, negotiate with insurance companies and, if necessary, represent them in court. They provide objective opinions that are not clouded by the fear, anger, frustration and stress that many injury victims understandably experience. They also know how to properly document an injury and the associated losses so that their clients are fully compensated for their losses.
The first thing a personal injury lawyer does is conduct an investigation. This may involve on-site examination of the accident scene, interviewing eyewitnesses and other parties, hiring independent investigators or reviewing police reports and medical records. The lawyer will also review applicable statutes, case law and legal precedent. This is a critical part of the investigation since it helps them determine whether there is a strong basis to file a lawsuit against the liable party for negligence.
After they have a good understanding of the accident circumstances, injuries and losses, the attorney will develop a theory of liability. In some cases, this is a fairly simple task, especially when the case involves an auto accident or other relatively straightforward incident. However, some cases are more complex and require extensive analysis of complex issues and/or unusual legal theories.
They will also compile a list of your losses, also known as damages. This includes everything from your medical bills to the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property and lost wages if you can’t work. Intangible losses like diminished quality of life can also be included in a claim. It’s important for the attorney to carefully examine your expenses and losses so that they can accurately assess your level of suffering and the value of your claim.
Once they have a complete picture of your losses, the injury lawyer will negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company to try and reach a fair settlement. The attorney will take into account all of your damages when deciding how much to ask for in a demand letter.
The insurance company, on the other hand, will be looking for reasons to reduce or deny your claim. They may argue that the other party did not act negligently or that their actions were not the cause of your injuries. They will also hire an expert witness to testify against you, if necessary.
If the negotiations break down or the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable amount, your attorney will file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This legal document, known as a complaint, sets out the reasons why the at-fault party, called the defendant, is liable for your losses and specifies the amount of compensation you are seeking.