Accidents are by no means an uncommon occurrence, and in a densely populated city like Philadelphia, the risks and liability are through the roof. If you or a loved one find yourself as the victims of an accident where you were not at fault but were left severely wounded or out of work, it is your constitutional and human right to seek compensation. These are claims, and will require legal battle.
That’s why there are attorneys who prioritize and specialize in legal matters pertaining to accidents, personal injury lawyers, and they can help you on your journey to recovery.
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The Right Timing: When to contact a personal injury lawyer?
There is a time and place for everything. When you’ve been wronged, hurt, or severely injured, there is a time and place for recovery. That’s priority. There is also a time and place to seek justice. Even while you’re ailing, and your wounds are still healing, you’ll be fielding calls from family, co-workers, employers, human resources, insurance agencies, maybe even the police, all inquiring you to remember the accident, the facts of the case, and how well you are doing in the aftermath. In this messy period, you may be wondering when you’ll catch a break. That might be the window to call your lawyer.
As soon as possible, from the moment you’re out of the emergency room or when the accident investigation team releases you, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. The earlier you call, the speedier your lawyer can assist in the case and get all the facts squared away for determining liability. Witnesses are key, and memory fades, so having their testimonies is crucial. Accident reconstruction experts will also be fresh on the scene, and can assist with determining fault, and your lawyer can begin building your case quickly. Having names and license plate numbers is also crucial, as in cases with a hit-and-run, it’s not always easily accessible.
They can also negotiate with your insurance carriers, and can get your insurance as well as medical bills paid off – and you’ll want to make sure you’ve paid a visit to the emergency room, you’ll want it on the record what your injuries were and to what extent they incapacitated you. They can also assist with getting your car, truck, motorcycle, or any vehicle of choice back on the road in no time.
The Cost of Justice: How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Take?
Your personal injury lawyer just helped you win a legal case, and now you’re reaping the rewards of the settlement. Your lawyer is going to want their cut of it for helping you get this deal, so the question is: How much should you expect to give?
This will already be outlined in the agreement you’ll sign before negotiations even begin, but typically you’ll see the industry rate go for 32% (roughly one-third) of the compensation go to PI lawyer. This number can vary, in some cases, below 20%, to even as high as 40%. The degree of experience and expertise your PI lawyer carries, the market rates for other local PI lawyers, and the complexity of the case can all very much factor into what percentage is negotiated.
Also be aware that, in some cases, there can be case-related expenses (such as court filing fees or extracting medical records) that are oftentimes reimbursed to the lawyer, and that you may be responsible for even in a lost case. However, the rewards from a settled case will more likely than not cover the costs of any of these fees.
Effective Communication: How to Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s not always legalese. Your first consultation will normally be free of charge, so that will be a good window for you to build rapport with your PI lawyer.
Honesty is the best policy. Cliché, yes I know, but you aren’t doing your PI lawyer any favors if you aren’t being honest about the situation. It may be human instinct to say you were driving the speed limit when you were in fact going 25 mph over the speed limit, but you’re only hurting the trust you and lawyer are meant to share.
Consultations are not therapy, either. Yes, you’ve been wronged, and your lawyer and his assistants are all aware you’ve been wronged, but it isn’t the time where you wail about how badly you’ve been hurt or emotionally try to curry sympathy. Your lawyer will be looking to access the facts of the situation so they can most adequately represent you. So, you’ll need to play it cool and by the book. They can always recommend a therapist, too, and make sure you’re compensated for any psychiatric fees that come along.
Being professional, being polite, and being concise are the three keys for any relationship with your attorney for a smooth and satisfying path to rightfully owed compensation.
Timing Matters: Knowing When to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you’ve completed the hunt, read the reviews, gotten a second opinion, and are confident you’ve found the lawyer for your case, you’re ready to make “the call”.
You’ll make a call to the lawyer of your choosing where you’ll be able to explain your situation and the facts of the accident, and get ready to schedule your very first consultation. It’s important to make this call soon, even during recovery, because you’ll need counsel at every step of the process. As mentioned above, the earlier your lawyer can get involved, the better.
That’s why timing matters, and why getting the facts right is the most important factor to building a strong case, and maximizing how much your compensation will be worth when all is said and done.