Understanding The Personal Injury Process

What Does An Injury Attorney Do For Their Clients?

If you have any picture of a personal injury attorney in your mind, there's a good chance that it's probably from a TV show or movie involving a trial. Although that's certainly a potential part of personal injury representation, it's worth noting that the vast majority of cases will never go to trial.

You may now wonder what an injury lawyer does for the clients. Here are three things that a personal injury attorney normally deals with.

Evaluating Cases

Before someone becomes your lawyer, they have to decide whether the case you're up against is right for them. Many attorneys in the injury field offer free or low-cost consultations. A client will contact them, lay out the basics of the case, and ask whether they can get compensation.

Often, a lawyer will need to dig into the details of the case before they can decide to provide personal injury representation. They might look at police and medical reports, contact witnesses, and even visit the scene of an incident.

Note that one attorney deciding not to take your case doesn't mean it's bad. Some lawyers specialize in certain types of injury claims. You should talk with several attorneys even if you have a strong case, anyhow, so just proceed with that.

Assembling the Initial Demand Letter

Injury claims don't start rolling for legal purposes until the claimant's side sends a demand letter to the defendant. When defendants have insurance policies, demand letters often go straight to their carriers, too. The demand letter outlines what you believe happened and how much compensation you feel you deserve.

A major part of sending the demand letter is getting it out on time. Most statutes of limitations for most claims allow between two and three years to prepare a case. It's important to deliver the demand letter before that time expires.

Negotiating a Settlement

Normally, an insurance company appoints a claims adjuster to review the case. This person is authorized to pay out the claim as long as it proves to be valid. If the adjuster is comfortable with your right to claim compensation, they'll send your personal injury attorney a settlement offer. Your lawyer is required by law to share the offer with you and to explain whether they think it is a good one.

If the offer doesn't hit the mark, the lawyer and adjuster may go back and forth to negotiate. Should a settlement be impossible, either due to rejection or too many low offers, then would you sue.