Should Your Injury Lawyer Have Trial Experience?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

When you think of retaining a lawyer, you might imagine a big courtroom with your legal representative in the midst of a heated argument before a judge and jury. While this scenario is certainly possible, it’s unlikely. In fact, only about 4% to 5% of personal injury cases in the U.S. go to trial. The vast majority reach successful settlements during pretrial negotiations with the insurance company or another defendant. Keep this in mind when wondering whether your lawyer should have trial experience, and then consider these facts:

There is a Chance Your Case Could Go to Trial

Yes, the odds of going to trial are slim; however, it is possible that pretrial negotiations won’t work for your claim, and the courts will need to impanel a jury to decide the case. The prospect of a potential trial will have a significant impact on your case and its value, regardless of whether it ever reaches the courtroom. In the event that pretrial hearings cannot resolve your case, your lawyer needs to be able to accept the responsibility of representing you during a personal injury trial. Imagine discovering your case needs to go to trial, only to find your lawyer has zero courtroom experience. This is why most plaintiffs want trial attorneys, not just personal injury lawyers.

Insurance Companies Are Savvy to Local Law Firms

You want the upper hand when it comes to negotiating your personal injury claim with an insurance company. Otherwise, the insurance agent or claims analyst can take advantage of you and offer much less than your claim is worth. One of the best ways to protect your best interests is to retain a trial-tested attorney for insurance negotiations. Why? If the insurance company knows your lawyer doesn’t typically go to trial, it can offer less because it assumes settlement is the only option. For maximum compensation, you want your negotiations to reflect the fact that if you cannot settle your case, it will go to trial.

You Need an Expert Negotiator

Settlement negotiations can get intense. There is a lot on the line – the amount your lawyer secures you can greatly impact your financial future. A lawyer with trial experience will be thinking of your case in terms of a potential trial. The lawyer will be considering what evidence you need to prove your case, the best methods for presenting this evidence, how to respond to possible defenses, and many other aspects. Even if your claim never goes to trial, you will benefit from the mindset that it could. Trial-tested attorneys excel at juggling many difficult and complex elements of a claim, from beginning to end.

All Trial Experience is Not Created Equal

Keep in mind that just any trial experience might not help your particular case. You need to find an attorney with experience successfully handling claims that are similar to yours. For example, if you need to join a class action against a drug manufacturing company, you don’t want to retain a lawyer who has only gone to court representing car accident lawsuits. Look for a track record of winning cases and securing jury verdicts for clients in similar situations to your own. You always want an attorney with experience in your area of injury law.

No Trial Experience Isn’t a Deal Breaker

Despite the benefits that go along with retaining an experienced trial attorney, it certainly isn’t a requirement. Sometimes, a lawyer with no trial experience is one who is exceptional at negotiating during pretrial meetings. This can work in your favor since settling pretrial is cheaper and faster than going to court. In the end, knowledge of how to successfully negotiate a settlement for maximum compensation might be more important than trial experience. The right lawyer for you depends on your specific claim.

Posted by admin at 6:43 pm

Why Won’t a Personal Injury Lawyer Take My Case?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

You attended a free case evaluation and spoke directly with a local Dallas personal injury lawyer. You explained what happened and discussed your injuries. At the end of the meeting, you were shocked to discover the lawyer wasn’t interested in taking your case. What happened? Knowing why a personal injury attorney won’t take your case is important for your future and personal peace of mind. Here are a few reasons why an attorney may have rejected your case:

You’re Contacting the Wrong Attorney

It’s possible that a lawyer won’t take your case because you contacted one without experience in your type of claim. During your search for the right attorney, make sure you find one who lists the practice area that’s appropriate for your type of accident. If you’re trying to start a medical malpractice claim, for example, don’t contact a lawyer who only has experience handling car accident cases. Odds are, this lawyer wouldn’t take your case. Search for prior experience handling cases that are similar to yours.

You Don’t Have Enough Damages or Losses

In most cases, attorneys don’t offer their services for free. Instead, they work on contingency-fee bases, in which they subtract their attorney’s fees from their clients’ compensation awards upon successfully completing the case. You may be hearing “no’s” from lawyers if you were in an accident but only suffered minor injuries or damages. Your case probably isn’t worth enough to make hiring a lawyer worthwhile. If you think this is the reason you can’t get an attorney, consider trying to negotiate an insurance settlement without a lawyer.

There Is No One Liable for Your Accident

Many people mistakenly assume there is always someone liable for their accidents and personal injuries. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Depending on state laws, there may not be any person or entity legally responsible for your damages. You must have four main elements to prove most personal injury cases:

  1. Someone else owed you a duty of care.
  2. That someone breached his or her duty to you.
  3. The breach of duty caused your accident.
  4. You suffered damages as a result.

Sometimes, accidents are no one’s fault. You may have gotten hurt due to an act of God, such as bad weather. Perhaps a tree limb from your neighbor’s property fell and hit you, but your neighbor was responsible in his efforts to trim the tree. Perhaps your own actions led to the accident more than anyone else’s. The bottom line: Not all claims are grounds for personal injury lawsuits.

Your Case is Too Small (or Too Big) for the Lawyer

After a lawyer turns you down, consider that maybe your case is too big or too small for that particular law firm. Some boutique firms don’t have the resources or experience to handle high-value claims or those that need to go to trial. A major firm might not accept claims beneath a minimum value. Shop around for a law firm that takes on cases that are the same caliber as your own to optimize your odds of an affirmative answer. An appropriate-sized firm can benefit you by offering the right kind of help, personal attention, and price for your unique claim.

Posted by admin at 6:29 pm

What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do That You Can’t?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

It is not a requirement to retain a personal injury attorney to represent you in Texas. You’re welcome to represent yourself during insurance settlement negotiations and even in a trial, but there’s a reason the overwhelming majority of plaintiffs opt for professional help. There are many things lawyers can do that the typical person can’t – including, in most cases, getting the most compensation for your claim. If you’re on the fence about retaining a lawyer for your case, find out what you’d be missing should you self-represent.

Negotiate a Fair Insurance Settlement

One of the most daunting aspects of any personal injury claim is your first discussion with an insurance claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is the person in charge of analyzing your insurance claim and deciding how much to offer in a settlement. The adjuster is not on your team and will typically offer much less than your case could be worth. The best way to have an advantage over the adjuster, and to secure a fair and just settlement, is through an attorney.

An attorney protects your best interests. He or she will take over settlement negotiations and often spare you the time and money it would take to go to trial. In the majority of claims, a lawyer can achieve an out-of-court settlement that gives you the money your injuries demand. A lawyer can deal with the other party, its insurance company, and its lawyers, so you can focus on yourself instead of complex legal processes. The settlement process is much simpler and more rewarding with professional representation.

Bring Elements of Proof

There is much more to a lawsuit than just proving you were hurt. Most personal injury cases require the plaintiff to show four main elements: duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages. It can be difficult to show these four elements depending on the circumstances of the case. You will need to provide evidence such as medical records, official documents, police reports, expert testimony, eyewitness statements, and more for a successful claim. There are rules you must obey during the evidence gathering and discovery phases – all of which a lawyer can help you navigate.

Preserve Important Evidence

Speaking of evidence, another reason to hire a lawyer is the preservation of vital information relating to your case. Certain pieces of critical evidence, such as the data from a large truck’s black box after a crash or another driver’s cell phone records, can get destroyed, erased, or tampered with after an accident. Fast action to preserve this evidence can be imperative to the claim. A lawyer can submit an evidence preservation letter or file a temporary restraining order to prevent the destruction of evidence – safeguarding information that could make your case.

File Within the Deadlines

The world of civil law abides by many important deadlines. Missing a deadline, or a statute of limitations can mean losing the right to ever pursue compensation for your accident. Deadlines change according to the type of claim you’re filing, as well as on a state-by-state basis. In Texas, you have two years from the date of injury to file your lawsuit. The timeline for claims against the government is much shorter, often only giving you 60 to 90 days to file an initial notice. A lawyer knows all of the deadlines specific to your case and can make sure the right documents are in front of the right people at the right time.

Posted by admin at 6:24 pm