Personal injury lawyers do several things:
- Determine the validity of your case
- Investigate your accident
- Gather evidence
- Establish the value of your damages
- Build your case and prove negligence
- Negotiate a settlement
- File a lawsuit
What to Expect from a Personal Injury Lawyer During the Initial Consultation
During the initial consultation, you explain what happened, and the lawyer assesses the strength of your case and explains your potential options to recover compensation. During or after this initial consultation, you decide whether to hire the lawyer. Most injury attorneys offer these consultations for free.
What the Personal Injury Attorney Will Do After Accepting Your Case
What a personal injury attorney will do after accepting your case can differ depending on the type of case you are filing. For example, the approach may differ between a slip and fall case and a car accident. However, many of the following remain the same regardless of how you suffered injury:
Investigating the Incident and Interviewing Witnesses
An attorney and their team will investigate your accident to determine exactly how it happened. The attorney may also interview eyewitnesses to obtain an unbiased point of view of the accident. An attorney may also look for surveillance video from nearby businesses to bolster your account of how the accident happened.
Gathering Records and Documents
The attorney will gather records and documents such as:
- Police or accident reports
- Medical records to substantiate your injury claim
- Employment records to show you missed work because of your injuries
Hiring Experts to Conduct Tests or Give Opinions
The attorney may also hire experts to support your case, such as the following:
- A mechanic or other expert can check your vehicle for signs of a defect, such as a brake problem.
- An accident reconstructionist can recreate the accident.
- A medical expert can look at your medical records or examine you to show a connection between your injuries and the accident.
- An economist can estimate your lost earning capacity.
Researching the Law and Developing a Strategy
An injury attorney may also research the law relevant to your case. They can locate similar cases, note any issues raised, analyze the results, and apply the principles of the previous cases to yours. The lawyer will also weigh the strengths and weaknesses of your case and then decide what strategies to use when negotiating a settlement in your case.
Negotiating a Settlement of Your Case
Most cases end out of court with a settlement, rather than a trial verdict. Parties often settle cases to avoid litigation costs.
Once the insurance company has considered your case, it will offer you a settlement. In many cases, this offer is much lower than you deserve. If you do not want to accept the offer, your injury attorney can negotiate with the insurance company for a higher amount. The lawyer tells you if they think the offer is reasonable, but you decide whether to accept it.
If you accept the offer, the case is over, and you get your money. If you refuse the offer, the negotiations resume. If the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, the attorney may suggest filing a lawsuit. Negotiations can continue after you file a lawsuit. The lawyer lets you know the highest offer they expect you to receive, and you decide whether to take it or continue with the lawsuit.
Filing a Suit to Recover Compensation for Your Injuries
If the parties cannot reach a settlement, your lawyer files a lawsuit against the responsible parties, for example, the other driver, the store, or the manufacturer.
Court Procedures and Deadlines in a Lawsuit
A personal injury lawyer files a complaint to start the suit. The attorney knows the deadlines for filing pleadings and motions, and they will keep you informed of the progress of your case.
Conducting Discovery and Filing Motions
Each side in a lawsuit engages in the process of discovery to get information from the other side about the case. The attorney files and answers interrogatories (a list of questions about the case). The attorney requests documents and records from the other side and takes depositions during which the involved parties, experts, and other witnesses answer questions under oath.
Trying the Case in Court
When your day in court comes, your lawyer will present your case. Your lawyer prepares you for your testimony. Witnesses for each side will testify, and the attorney sums up your case.
You may agree for a judge to decide your case. If a jury hears the case, the judge instructs the jurors on the law. Either side can appeal the judge's decision or the jury's verdict.
Learn More About What an Injury Attorney Will Do for You — Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Did you suffer an injury in an accident? Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation to learn more about how an injury attorney can help you. We can answer any questions you may have about the process of recovering compensation.