No matter what type accident you’ve experienced, one question you may be asking yourself is if you should seek legal counsel, meaning do I have grounds to sue or seek compensation. Each case is different and the decision to seek out a personal injury attorney is personal.
You may see ads from attorneys advertising for your business on TV and other media. Some attorneys may even call you and offer help. You should politely decline and hang up because you do not want to be pressured into filing a lawsuit. Rather deciding to seek compensation should be entered into with thoughtful consideration. Having said that, you do not want to delay too long as you may need to file by a certain deadline - for example within 2 years of the accident.
You want to do a bit of research to look for a reputable personal injury attorney. This can include talking with friends and family members, reading an attorney or law firm's Google reviews, and asking for recommendations from your doctors. Once you have narrowed down your search, take the time to talk with the attorney. Experienced personal injury attorneys should be able to explain the merits of your case and what types of things you should ask for - things you may not know about such as compensation for lost wages, long term care or rehabilitation costs, or cost for retraining for a new field if your injury does not allow you to do your previous occupation. Getting a comprehensive settlement needs to include monies for all damages, not just the cost of the initial emergency medical care.
The choice of legal counsel is your own and should be made based on your discussions with an attorney and the confidence you develop for your counsel.
Having said that, lets look at some of the roles a personal injury attorney does to help with your accident case.
Advisor and Advocate
During your initial consultation, the attorney will advise you on your rights and whether or not you have a case. Considering all the facts, they can make suggestions to you about how to proceed. The attorney will have a lot of questions for you regarding how the incident occurred, the injuries involved, and the treatment rendered to date. They will also try to get an understanding of what may be the treatment needed going forward. Questions about your job, lifestyle, and family life may come up as they seek to understand the impact the accident has had on your life. Ultimately, you choose the attorney who you feel you can work with, since you are sharing a part of your life with them. You also want your attorney to be realistic with you about what type of settlement you can expect.
If the attorney takes your case, you want them to be your advocate, meaning that they are willing and able to fight the insurance company or whatever entity you are going after for compensation. Do they have trial experience? You want to know that if your case has to go to trial, they are willing to do that. Not all attorneys want to go to trial and may try to convince you to take a settlement instead. As your advocate, they can also fight for a good and fair settlement and that is also okay. Whether at trial or in negotiations, you simply want your attorney to be your advocate in an arena you are not familiar with and therefore could be taken advantage of without legal representation.
Finally your attorney will continue to advise you on your case as it progresses.
A personal injury attorney is also an investigator. They can gather evidence like police reports and photos of the accident site. They will track down witnesses and get statements, request any photos or video surveillance, and other evidence to prove and support your claim. They may want work records, paystubs etc to document your work history. They can help get medical records and obtain medical experts written testimony about the nature of your injury and long term prognosis. In short, the personal injury lawyer will gather as much supporting evidence possible to prove the necessity for compensation.
One role of your personal injury attorney is to negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies
After an accident, you may get a "friendly concerned" call from an insurance adjuster. Should this happen to you, you should politely decline speaking with them for the time being about the extent of your injuries. Continuing that conversation will likely lead to an offer that won’t cover much of what you may need as a result of the accident. Their job is the offer you the smallest settlement possible as they represent the insurance company's interests, not yours. You may be better served by first discussing your case with a personal injury attorney. If the attorney lets you know you do not have a case for a large settlement, then at least you know you aren't being taken advantage of. But if you do have a good case, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf to get a settlement that fully compensates you.
Insurance adjusters are probably fishing for information that will allow them to either deny your claim, reduce your claim, or convince you that you are not entitled to much. Some may even tell you that you’re not entitled to hire an attorney! That is why you need a tough negotiator to deal with these folks. An experienced personal injury attorney knows the tactics of the insurance company and are better equipped to negotiate.
When your attorney is knowledgeable about the world of personal injury, they know what to say and do to get you a fair settlement.
As indicated before, some cases cannot be settled outside a courtroom. If settlement talks fail, because the other side is hoping you will settle and go away, you may need to take the next step and take your case to court. Your attorney will need to represent you in front of a judge and jury to argue your claim. They will need to present evidence, question witnesses, bring in witnesses and experts - and put on a strong case to prove the veracity of your claim. Your personal injury attorney should be comfortable in the trial arena and be able to fully present your case.
Should You Hire A Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney?
There are several reasons to consider hiring a local Kansas City personal injury attorney:
1. They know and understand Missouri’s personal injury law, and have experience dealing with the Missouri court system
2. They have resources available such as investigators to find evidence and expert witnesses that they can call upon to substantiate claims
3. They understand the kind of documentation needed to prove your claim and will gather it on your behalf.
4. They’re experienced in negotiations and know how to press your claim.
Remember the other side will have their own legal team. Having your own legal representative levels the playing field, ensures that your rights are protected, and increases your chances of getting a comprehensive settlement or award.
Popham Law - A Top Personal Injury Law Firm
Since 1918, The Popham Law Firm has helped hundreds of people in many accident types, from simple fender benders to accidents involving life changing injuries and major property damage. We'll be happy to review your case and let you know how we recommend you proceed. Contact us at (844) 243-2288 or use our online contact form to get started.
If you’ve suffered injuries from an accident due to the negligence of another party, it is worth a bit of your time to make sure you understand what you are eligible for. Whether a car accident, a medical malpractice, or a workplace injury, Popham Law has the caring and experienced personal injury attorneys to handle your case. It is okay to request to be properly compensated so you can take care of yourself and your family and we are prepared to help.