A personal injury lawyer legally advocates for someone who has been injured because of another person’s negligence or carelessness. Before any advocacy occurs, however, a lawyer first listens to find out what happened and then discuss the legal options available to get the compensation that injury victims may be entitled to under the law.
Because there are a variety of situations that can cause injuries, a personal injury lawyer can offer advice on the best way to proceed. For instance, serious and fatal injuries can result from situations such as:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Defective products
- Food poisoning
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Workplace accidents
Auto accidents cannot be left off the list because car crashes are the most familiar examples where negligence plays a role in altering lives. For example, if a person impaired by alcohol or drugs causes an auto accident that results in bodily injuries and fatalities, a personal injury lawyer can help the injured parties hold the impaired driver legally responsible for their damages.
As it turns out, not all personal injury cases, including those involving impaired driving, are clear-cut. Complications can arise when the person accused of negligence denies fault. When this happens, a personal injury lawyer has another job to do.
To win a personal injury case means proving that an individual’s or a company’s negligence caused harm to someone. But, proving negligence is not always a simple task. This is one of the reasons why personal injury lawyers conduct investigations.
An investigation is a way to find out what happened and how it happened. As part of an investigation, a lawyer collects documents, media and other evidence that helps to support an injury claim. This evidence may include:
- Traffic or surveillance camera video
- A police report
- Statements of eyewitnesses
- Photographs of the accident scene (if available)
- Records of a defendant’s prior negligent acts or violations (if applicable)
- Medical records of injured parties
In some investigations, a lawyer might hire an expert to help with the probe. For example, a personal injury lawyer may hire an accident reconstruction expert to determine the cause of a complicated auto accident. Or, a lawyer may ask expert medical witnesses to testify in medical malpractice cases.
Another important piece of evidence is the statement from the injury accident victim. In some instances, a personal injury lawyer travels to a hospital or rehabilitation facility or the person’s home to get a statement if the victim’s injuries prevent them from traveling.
Generally, the location of the accident or the victim is not a barrier to personal injury lawyers who do not limit themselves to only serving specific geographic locations. For instance, Caldwell Wenzel Asthana is a Foley law firm and they cater to the whole state of Alabama. Since injuries can occur anywhere—on a highway in Montgomery or a medical facility in Tuscaloosa—one of the firm’s lawyers can handle a case anywhere in the state.
In sum, collecting information from various sources and hiring specialists helps to build a strong case that supports a personal injury claim.
Using Evidence to Prove Negligence
A personal injury lawyer’s job is to help an injured party link the evidence with negligence. Doing this can show that a defendant failed to exercise reasonable care and this failure caused harm or injury in some way.
For example, in a food poisoning case, a manufacturer could be found negligent if consumers are harmed after eating contaminated food. A personal injury lawyer would collect evidence to prove that the manufacturer violated safety standards and produced and sold tainted products. As a result, consumers suffered serious or fatal injuries after eating tainted food.
Confronting Negligent Parties
It is not unusual for negligent parties to become confrontational and reject an injured party’s request for compensation. While the negligent party may not outright reject the request, the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company may find ways to place blame on the individual to reduce the amount of compensation the injured person should receive.
Personal injury lawyers are aware of the tactics insurance companies use to devalue cases. So, lawyers use this knowledge to counter low offers that do not sufficiently cover their clients’ losses. They know an unfair settlement offer when they see one. So, they continue negotiations until they can get a fair offer for their clients.
Going to Court
At-fault parties and their insurance representatives are not always willing to negotiate fair settlements for those who were injured through no fault of their own. So, in an impasse, a personal injury lawyer may file a lawsuit against the defendants on behalf of the injured client.
Taking a case to court is a lengthy process but it lets defendants know that the injured party is not going to give up and go away. In some instances, lawsuits motivate defendants to negotiate a settlement prior to trial. Whether or not defendants agree to settle, a personal injury lawyer prepares for a trial to resolve the matter in court.
Getting Compensation for Injured Clients
A personal injury lawyer uses the evidence collected to determine how much a case is worth. This helps a lawyer know how much compensation to ask for on behalf of an injured client. After all, what could be more important for an injury victim than to get compensation from the party who caused the injury in the first place?
An injury victim or surviving family members may be able to recover compensation for such damages as:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future wages
- Loss of future income
- Loss of personal property
- Expenses for physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Wrongful death
The total amount of compensation received depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the person’s injuries.
In essence, a personal injury lawyer plays an important role in the lives of the injured by protecting their rights and fighting to get the compensation they deserve.