If you have been injured, and believe you are entitled to compensation, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a qualified attorney. At this point, you probably have tons of questions, and it is important you have them all answered so you know what to expect during the process. Here are just a few of the most common to get the ball rolling:
How Should I Pick an Attorney?
Your choice of an attorney is paramount in winning a personal injury suit, and getting maximum compensation. First and foremost, work with an attorney who primarily handles these types of lawsuits. This may seem like an obvious tip, but it is all too easy to go with a lawyer who handles a garden variety of legal matters.
There is big money to be made in personal injury lawsuits, and be sure not to just go with some attorney who has a flashy ad. Referral services can be helpful, but make sure you know the criteria for getting listed for the service—some have more stringent requirements while others will accept any attorney in good standing with their bar association and able to pay the membership fee.
A host of cases fall under the umbrella of personal injury law, from medical malpractice to injuries in the workplace. Don’t just pick any personal injury attorney—go with one who is highly experienced with your specific type of injury. If you have a back injury in Colorado Springs for example, a quick browse of the website of personal injury firm Anderson and Lopez PC makes it clear they specialize in this type of injury.
You also want to consider an attorney who is familiar trying cases in the jurisdiction where the suit will be filed.
How Much Money Can I Get?
Ah, the age old question asked of many an injured party. Naturally, you are going to wonder how much your case is worth. There is no set answer, so be wary of any attorney that makes any sort of claims about a guaranteed amount. An experienced attorney may be able to give some insights based on past cases, but again, no way to know for sure.
Many individual factors come into play, such as the severity of the injury, the degree of fault you may have had in the accident, whether you impeded proper healing by failing to get recommended treatments or testing and the cost of treatment.
Insurance companies tend to use a formula where they add up all medical costs and then multiply that number by anywhere from 1.5 to 10. Then lost income is added on. This is not a set amount, and negotiations will usually ensue. There is no exact science to determining that multiplier, and many factors will be taken into consideration.
Will I Have to Go to Court?
A large percentage of personal injury cases are settled out of court. Negotiations can often go for many rounds…this can actually be another factor in determining how much money you get. If you are willing to hold out longer and keep going back to the table, you may be able to get more money. But, if you need it soon, you may end up with less than you could have gotten. Your attorney will advise you.
The one exception for out-of-court settlements is medical malpractice cases. Insurance companies and doctors have a strong incentive to fight it out in court, and will usually do so.