How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help Following an Accident
As a top personal injury attorney in DuPage County, I’ve helped hundreds of clients receive compensation for injuries sustained in vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, construction site accidents, medical malpractice and excessive force by police.
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Before any settlement demand can be made, an attorney will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your case. This usually includes obtaining medical reports and bills, police reports, witness statements, video surveillance footage, employment records, property damage reports and more. The attorney may have an investigator take photos of the accident site or locate and interview witnesses.
A personal injury attorney will work closely with you to assess the impact of the injury on your life and daily routine and how long that impact may last. An attorney may refer you to doctors who can properly determine if your injuries were caused by a specific event and whether any long-term treatment will be needed.
Accident victims are often over-eager to settle injury cases and do so before the full extent of their injuries is known. Once a case is settled, you sign away any right to re-open a case if additional damages are discovered. An attorney will counsel you to wait until the full scope of your injuries is determined.
An attorney will also try to clearly establish fault for the incident. Laws differ by state. In some states, both the injured and negligent persons may share the fault under a theory of comparative negligence. An experienced lawyer should have a thorough understanding of the relevant state laws and how they may be applied to the circumstances of your case.
An attorney may have a list of doctors and experts previously relied upon who can be retained to provide evaluations or review complex issues. Due to a prior working relationship with the lawyer, the expert may agree to provide services without upfront payment relying, instead, on a lien against any future settlement or verdict
Once the cause of the injury is thoroughly examined and the full medical and financial consequences of the injury are known, a personal injury attorney will draft a demand letter summarizing the facts, assessing fault, and itemizing known or projected costs for medical bills, lost wages and future treatment. The attorney may include an amount for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and similar types of damages along with a justification for the amount.
The demand letter is typically sent to the insurer of the liable party. Once a response is received, negotiations may begin. An injured person should have a bottom line of what compensation amount is acceptable, but that number should only be shared with his or her attorney.
Initial settlement offers made by insurance companies tend to be very low. Insurance companies thrive by raking in premiums from customers but paying out as little as possible. An attorney who has handled many personal injury cases will know how to effectively negotiate and make the best case to obtain maximum compensation.
An attorney with a reputation as a hard-driving and honest advocate on behalf of injured persons can go a long way to achieving an acceptable settlement. If the insurance company has previously dealt with the attorney, the company may know of that attorney’s thoroughness, commitment and trial success.
When an injured party is seeking substantial compensation, such as tens of thousands of dollars, insurance adjusters rarely take unrepresented persons seriously. There is also a greater risk that a layperson may inadvertently say the wrong thing to an insurance adjustor and jeopardize the case. Research indicates that injured persons represented by an attorney achieve an average settlement of more than three times the amount obtained by persons who handle injury cases on their own.
Negotiating with insurance companies can be frustrating and aggravating for the average person. Having a trained negotiator working on your behalf can reduce that anxiety and allow you to focus on your physical recovery
If settlement attempts fail, your last recourse will be to file a lawsuit. At that point, it becomes essential to hire an attorney who understands the relevant law and is experienced in trial advocacy. Sometimes, simply the formal filing of a lawsuit will get the liable party back to the bargaining table.
There are dozens of complex rules outlining how claims must be presented, how to conduct the discovery process that can include depositions and other evidence-gathering techniques, what evidence may be presented in court, how witnesses can be questioned and much more. An experienced attorney will understand the court rules and procedures that are often confusing to non-lawyers.
At the very least, anyone who has sustained a personal injury is wise to arrange a free initial consultation with Mark Sutter at Sutter Law Group. He will provide an objective assessment of possible claims, and potential compensation amounts plus important information regarding the time frame in which a lawsuit must be filed. At the very least, a consultation will allow for a more informed decision about whether proceeding on your own or hiring an attorney is the best path to follow.
If you have questions about your personal injury case and live in Naperville, Oak Brook, Elmhurst, Roselle, Lombard, Chicago, Villa Park, Downers Grove or other surrounding suburbs, contact Sutter Law Group today! We offer free accident case consultations..CONTACT US TODAY: 630-519-6900