What You Need To Know Before Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit

19 July 2017
 Categories: Law, Blog


Accidents and injury lawsuits can be complex and can take many different forms. Working with a qualified personal injury lawyer helps break down the complex issues and figure out if you have enough grounds to initiate any claims for compensation. How you prepare for the process, expenses and challenges can break or make your case. Here are some relevant questions to answer before you decide to file a case.

Which Law Applies to My Case?

Personal injury cases are governed by one of the three torts laws; intentional tort, negligence or strict liability law. You can file an intentional tort case where the offender had an intent to cause a result that invades your interests in a way that the law does not approve. These include assault, battery, infliction of emotional pain, or false imprisonment. A negligence case is where the other person failed to use care as a careful and prudent person would under similar circumstances. Product liability, on the other hand, offers you a legal right to sue a manufacturer or seller for damages or injuries you have suffered because of a defective product you bought from them.

How Much is My Injury Claim Worth?

A whole list of variables affects the value of an injury claim. Many lawyers will give you a ballpark figure at the consultation level, which will help you decide whether or not the case is worth your time, effort and money. While every situation is different, there are several common factors that either increase or decrease the compensation you can claim for an injury. These include the type of harm, the period of treatment, medical expenses and permanency of an injury, the level of daily life disruptions, and extent of emotional distress.

How Do I Choose a Lawyer?

A good personal injury lawyer will offer you a free initial consultation either on the telephone or in person. They will explain how the process works and are very honest on the merits of your case. Be wary of a lawyer that make grandiose promises and only tells you what you want to hear. Key factors to consider before choosing a lawyer include their location and accessibility, reputation, trial experience, and winning and disciplinary records. Also, working with a large law firm can mean the contact may be impersonal and the company can delegate your case to a younger, inexperienced lawyer. Choose an attorney that is personal, is willing to meet you at home if you are still recuperating, is keen on gaining a personal perspective on the case and will personally visit the scene of your accident, and is fully committed to your case.

How Much Should I Pay My Lawyer?

A reasonable personal injury attorney will sign a contingency fee agreement where you only pay the legal fee if there is a recovery in your favor. Some states limit the percentage that a lawyer can claim as a contingency fee. For most cases, the rate varies from 33 to 40 percent, the most common being a third of the settlement or 33.3 percent. You can, however, negotiate for lower rates. Ensure you agree on who takes care of costs and expenses such as filing fee, trial exhibits, postage, police and medical reports. While most lawyers will cover the expenses and deduct from your share of the settlement, it is good to be clear from the onset.

It is paramount that you understand your case and get a good personal injury lawyer from the beginning to save yourself the pain and frustration of having to find another legal representation halfway the case. Contact an office like Erickson Law Office to learn more.