You Were injured. Now what?
An accident can cause pain and trauma. Not only are you suffering after an accident, but now you are facing an uphill battle when getting restitution for something you didn’t do. Alongside medical treatments and probably financial woes, you are also looking at keeping court dates or speaking with insurance companies and parties at fault for your injuries. The medical bills continue to stack up, and there seems to be no end.
The advice everyone seems to be giving you is that you need to find an attorney who can represent your best interests in these hard times. But where do you even begin when it comes to finding a personal injury lawyer? The first place to begin is by narrowing the legal practice field to someone with a solid reputation in personal injury litigation.
Also, by no means an exhaustive list, these injuries can be life-changing and threaten the livelihood and happiness of those injured in an accident.
- Traumatic brain injury
- Cognitive damage
- Crush injuries
- Sports injuries
- Broken bones
- Assault cases
- Loss of hearing and other senses
- Loss of limbs
- Burns and/or disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
Consequences of personal injuries
Being hurt in an accident can be a scary and stressful time. The events of just a few seconds can impact you and your loved ones for a lifetime.
You might encounter any number of these experiences.
- Hospitalization: From the time an ambulance is called to the beginning of your recovery in the ICU to surgeries that help save your life or repair a damaged body, personal injury can put you in the hospital. Serious injuries can land you in the hospital for a long time, with expensive bills.
- Lost time at work: Lengthy hospital stays and recovery often mean lost time at work. As the medical bills accumulate, you also face the problem of losing income due to losing time at work. Your injuries might even mean your livelihood in your profession is threatened, and you will either need training for a new profession or you will find yourself on temporary or permanent disability.
- Rehabilitation: Recovery can mean a few different types of rehabilitation. Physical therapy is a long and painful process that is expensive and time-consuming. You might have cognitive impairments due to traumatic brain injuries, and your old way of life is completely lost, forcing you to find new ways to relearn a job and support yourself.
- Pain management: Serious injuries, especially shattered bones, TBIs, and dismemberment, may require extensive pain management through medication. These drugs can be very expensive. Pain management is part of the struggle of recovery, which can extend for a lifetime.
- Permanent injuries/disabilities: Some injuries may result in paralysis, permanent brain injury, dismemberment, and psychological trauma, which make it difficult to navigate the world without serious effort and infrastructure. Your whole way of life will change, and you will have to relearn how to do simple tasks you once took for granted because of no fault of your own.
- Pain and suffering: Among the physical pain associated with personal injury, there is also the psychological aspect. Post-traumatic stress can increase your world, causing stress, anxiety, depression, and other neuroses that will impact your life. You may have to endure years of therapy to get through the experience. These long-term mental illnesses may even result in self-harm or suicide if left untreated.
- Death: A permanent end for someone injured in an accident; however, their loved ones and those who depend on them for financial and emotional support are left with a hole in their lives that will almost be impossible to fill. Those people should recover compensation, and an attorney can help them do that.
Ways to find a personal injury lawyer
There is no one way to find a personal injury lawyer. All sorts of options are available to you as you negotiate with insurance companies, litigation against other parties, or even fight for compensation from corporations or government entities. Each way is stressful, time-consuming, and potentially frustrating, just to attempt to make things right.
Here are some ways to find an attorney:
- Word of mouth: Friends and family can help find a capable attorney. Usually, their experience will illustrate to you how attentive their attorney was to their case, as well as knowing details about the experience over time.
- Advertisements: You might be driving down the expressway and see a billboard or a bus stop listing the names of a familiar law firm. Turn on the TV, and you might see an ad for a law firm asking if you have been injured in an accident. These firms can afford to advertise because they get results from cases reaching into seven and eight-figure amounts. They might be worth checking out!
- Website reviews: Websites such as AVVO can give you testimonials about individual lawyers, the law firms they work for, and details about the fields of law they practice. Review sites like Yelp! can assess lawyers on their effectiveness and how personable they are with their clients.
- News sources: Reading the news online or in the newspapers can indicate law firms handling large cases with a lot of public notoriety. Often, these law firms are available to represent your case. If you read a story in the papers that resonates with your case, you can often see the outcomes and settlement amounts attributed to the law firms representing those clients. An online search can yield their contact information and get you moving in the right direction for representation.
- Other lawyer recommendations: If you consult an attorney and they refer you to another attorney, look into them. Lawyers typically won’t recommend someone they don’t think can handle your case. A consultation might reveal that dream team of attorneys, paralegals, and aids that will get results for you.
What can an attorney do for me?
The experience of working through a personal injury case can be a long and confusing process. With deadlines, investigations, and negotiations with insurance companies working hard to make sure they pay out as little as possible, you need an attorney willing to fight for your rights and best interests. An attorney can turn a difficult process into a much simpler situation while you can focus on healing and getting your life back on track.
As you work towards a settlement, an attorney can focus on ways to use evidence as leverage in the negotiation process and even take the matter to a trial if necessary. Going to court is an added level of stress, so hire an attorney who understands jury selection, discovery, arbitration, and how to use statutes and case law to support your rights and argue your case in court.