Hiring a personal injury lawyer is free up front and not terribly expensive. However, hiring a lawyer after suffering a personal injury is intimidating for many. After potentially thousands in medical bills and other unexpected expenses following an accident, you may hesitate to add yet another expense.
Such a concern is understandable but not necessary. While hiring a personal injury lawyer does cost money, it will help you seek the highest possible compensation for your losses. With a good personal injury lawyer by your side, you have a greater chance of recuperating your losses after a devastating personal injury accident. After a serious injury, be sure to hire a lawyer right away to start your claim.
How to Seek Compensation After a Personal Injury Accident
If you’re looking for help to pay your bills and get back on your feet after injury in an accident, you can seek compensation for your losses. Title 2A of the New Jersey Legislative Statutes dictates how and when you can bring a claim in civil court to seek compensation. Victims must usually file their claim within two years of the accident to recover compensation.
When seeking compensation.
- Call a personal injury lawyer for a free case evaluation.
- Meet with a lawyer and sign the contract to retain their services.
- Collect evidence from medical bills, medical records, photos from the accident, witness statements, etc.
- Craft and send a complaint detailing your losses and asking for compensation.
- Receive a response from the at-fault party (i.e. the defendant).
- Negotiate for a settlement that both sides agree to.
- Help your lawyer collect further evidence in the form of interrogatories and depositions.
- If the parties cannot settle, take your case to court to try before the judge and jury.
- Receive a verdict from the judge and jury.
- Receive your settlement check, use it to pay outstanding debts (and your lawyer), and take the rest home.
As you can tell, working with a lawyer is crucial to ensuring that the personal injury claim process runs smoothly. Without legal help, you are more likely to miss deadlines, settle for less money than you deserve, and spend too much of your valuable time fighting with the insurance company.
Why Personal Injury Lawyers Don’t Cost Too Much
You may think that lawyers cost too much. After all, Glassdoor reports that most attorneys make upwards of $77,000 per year, with many earning hundreds of thousands of dollars. When you see a statistic like that, you’re inclined to think that lawyers must charge a lot from their clients. However, that’s not really how it works.
Lawyers are cheaper than you might think, for two main reasons:
1. Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluations
When you first suffer a personal injury, calling a lawyer is not the first thing you think to do. However, as soon as you’ve received treatment for your injuries, calling a personal injury lawyer is your next step. That’s because a personal injury lawyer will offer you a free case evaluation, usually on the phone, to help you determine how to proceed with your case.
It’s true that not every personal injury claimant can win compensation. If, for example, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage covers all your losses without putting a significant burden on you, you may not be able to seek compensation. However, this circumstance is rare after a serious accident, so you should always speak with a lawyer first.
A lawyer will indicate if you are eligible for a case and how much they think you can recover. They will tell you this information upfront during the case evaluation so that you don’t waste time or money on a case that will go nowhere. Lawyers generally only pursue a claim they believe they can win.
2. Personal Injury Lawyers Work on a Contingency Basis
Instead of charging fees up front, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This fee structure means that their earnings are contingent on the outcome of your case. If they don’t win your case, you don’t have to pay them anything. If they win, you will likely pay them a percentage of your settlement amount.
Working in this model is convenient for the lawyer and the victim. It helps ensure that the lawyer doesn’t waste time and resources on cases that will go nowhere, and it helps ensure that you don’t waste time and money on a lawyer who can’t help you. Ultimately, it’s a win-win situation for you and the personal injury lawyer with whom you work.
How Much Do Lawyers Charge for a Personal Injury Claim?
As you may imagine, trying a personal injury claim can become expensive. Lawyers will have to draft and file paperwork, pay to access various records, and complete extensive fact-finding and legal research pertinent to your personal injury claim. Pursuing such a claim on your own would be incredibly expensive, and it’s not cheap for a lawyer, either.
However, because they have more experience than you and know the law already, they will have a much easier time assembling a claim. They will also be able to do this more quickly. So, paying a lawyer to help with your case will save you money. Most lawyers will charge you a percentage of your final settlement. The average percentage they charge ranges between 33 percent and 40 percent.
Of course, the amount a lawyer will earn from that settlement varies based on the settlement amount. You will want a team that has won millions of dollars for victims of horrible accidents in the past. Trying a case with the help of a good personal injury lawyer will ultimately save you money.
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’re dealing with a personal injury and aren’t sure what a lawyer can do to help, here are a few ideas.
Lawyers Gather Evidence for You
Finding and collecting all the evidence you need to support your personal injury claim can be challenging.
You’ll likely need a wide variety of evidence, including:
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- A police report, if applicable
- Photos or video footage from the accident scene
- Eyewitness statements
- Receipts for repairing or replacing damaged property (e.g. a car or cell phone)
- A journal of your losses (personal, physical, financial)
- Testimony from your family
- Testimony from medical experts detailing the extent of your injuries
If you’re recovering from an accident and dealing with a significant injury, it will be even more difficult to gather the evidence you need. Plus, obtaining evidence from medical providers and police stations can take weeks and consistent encouragement. A lawyer can help handle this for you, so you don’t have to stress about it.
Lawyers Negotiate High
If you’ve ever dealt with an insurance company, you’re probably aware they aren’t interested in helping you. Most insurance companies make money by earning more from premiums than they pay out in insurance claims. Therefore, they will always try to pay as little as possible when someone brings them a claim.
If you’re trying to make an insurance company compensate for your losses and injuries, you’ll likely need to vigorously negotiate for the amount of compensation you deserve.
This step is where a lawyer comes in extra handy. Lawyers know how much you deserve in compensation. Unlike you, they won’t settle for less just so that they can stop dealing with the difficult insurance company. Instead, they will fight until they win every penny available to help you recover and get back on your feet.
Of course, they will run offers by you first, and you get the last say in what settlement amount you accept. With a lawyer, you know the true value of your claim.
Lawyers Know the Law
You’ve likely never studied the law in preparation for a personal injury claim. And if you don’t know the law, it’s probably not the time to learn it after a serious injury. Instead, contact an attorney who can help you understand the law and seek the justice it provides.
Connect With the Personal Injury Lawyer You Need for Free
As you can see, a personal injury lawyer doesn’t cost you money out of pocket. Don’t hesitate to reach out for fear that you’ll lose a ton of money. With a good lawyer, you could earn hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in compensation for your injuries and losses. Go ahead and reach out today to a personal injury lawyer to learn more.