Short FAQ About Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

personal injury justice

Getting in a personal injury accident, whether it is a slip-and-fall, car accident or medical malpractice, is a stressful time in a person’s life. It can be quite scary dealing with the unknown, such as mounting medical bills and how they will get paid, how and when to replace a vehicle, insurance claims and whether to talk to an insurance adjuster. It is especially difficult if your injury impacts your daily life and delays your ability to get back to normal.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate what can often be a very complicated process.

What can an attorney do for me?

  • They know what to say (and more importantly, what not to say) when dealing with insurance adjusters.
  • They know how to draft demand letters, request the highest possible dollar amount and negotiate the best settlements for clients. Based upon the facts, they know what these cases are generally worth.
  • They know how to objectively look at the facts of your case at a time when you might be very emotional or dealing with the results of your injury.
  • They know how to get a copy of the police report if one was created.
  • They know how to get your medical records.
  • They know how to negotiate your medical bills after the case settles.
  • They often have teams of experts that they work with, such as accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and investigators. They may even have previous experience with the adjuster or the insurance agency.
  • They understand the laws related to your particular injury. As discussed in other articles, there are statutes of limitation and timelines that must be strictly followed once a case gets to a certain point.
  • If you must file a lawsuit, an attorney knows how to articulate the Complaint of Damages and the affiliated causes of action.
  • They know how to have valuable conversations with the defendant’s attorney.

How much does it cost?

Personal injury attorneys often offer a free consultation to their clients to assess the merits of a potential personal injury case. Once they decide to take on a matter, they typically get paid on a contingency fee basis. What that means is that they do not get paid unless the case settles and once settled, the attorney takes a fee that is a percentage of the recovery. That fee is usually 33.3% if the case has not been filed with the superior court, and 40% if it has.

Example
Settlement $100,000
Attorney Fee of 33% -$33,000
Client’s Share $67,000

a pile of money

Does the attorney work with my medical providers?

One of the benefits of having an attorney is that they often have professional relationships with medical providers. However, some underinsured victims are unable to get the care they need. In that regard, having an attorney who has relationships with medical providers such as chiropractors or physical therapists is key because these providers will often render care without charging upfront. This is called care on a lien-fee basis. What this means is that the medical provider renders the services with a lien signed by the attorney where the attorney guarantees payment for the care from the client’s personal injury settlement.

Once the case settles, the attorney is obligated by the terms of the lien to pay the providers before paying the client.

Example
Settlement $100,000
Attorney Fee of 33% -$33,000
Remainder $67,000
Doctor A -$11,000
Doctor B -$10,000
Client’s Share $46,000

 

Does the attorney advance any costs?

At times, an attorney will realize that financing a case is difficult for clients and they will make a decision to advance costs. Examples are things like: filing fees, police report fees, accident reconstruction, medical records fees, etc.  When the attorney does this, he/she is reimbursed for those costs at time of settlement. What is nice for the client is that they do not have to worry that they are unable to afford the costs of a lawsuit.stack of legal files from personal injury case

Example
Settlement $100,000
Attorney Fee of 33% -$33,000
Remainder $67,000
Doctor A -$11,000
Doctor B -$10,000
Police Report -$15.00
Medical Records -$150.00
Filing Fee -$435.00
Accident Reconstruction -$1,500
Client’s Share $46,000

 

Are there any drawbacks to hiring an attorney?

Some argue that, if you did not use an attorney, you would not have to share a fraction of the settlement with someone else. But the reality is that you’d be unlikely to get such a high personal injury case settlement without the use of an attorney. There are really no negatives to using an attorney because they are poised to get the highest dollar amount possible since their fee is contingent upon settlement.

If you have been in a personal injury accident, it is important to get the medical care you need promptly and without delay. It may also be important to find a skilled personal injury attorney to help navigate the process.

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