It can be astonishing how quickly your life can be upended thanks to an automobile accident. There are many potential causes for a car accident. Distracted driving, drunk driving, and reckless driving are among the top culprits. However, even unknown car issues can cause car crashes, like faulty brakes or steering systems, which can create both a breakdown and a crash (check out mechanical breakdown insurance for plans if you aren’t already covered).
If you’re lucky, you’ll walk away from the crash, or be taken to the hospital for treatment of a broken leg or laceration on your arm. After you recover from these minor injuries, you can fix your car or get a new one, go back to work, and generally resume your life.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, you may also suffer permanent injuries such as full or partial paralysis, traumatic brain injury, chronic back pain, or even emotional issues like PTSD. These may also include the inability to work as you once did, or even re-learning how to do everything that once came easily to you, including walking, talking, and feeding yourself.
It might not seem fair, but there is a way you can recoup some of what you’ve lost, by taking the negligent party to court. Personal injury law is a vast field, and one that is often misunderstood. That’s why we offer this list of answers to the most frequently asked questions about personal injury law and lawyers.
Q: What Do Personal Injury Attorneys Do?
A: Quite simply, they fight for justice. When someone has been wronged, has felt pain, or has lost money because of another person’s negligence, a personal injury attorney will assist that person in reclaiming what is rightfully theirs, or getting monetary compensation to make up for their suffering and anguish.
Q: Will I Have to Go to Court?
A: If you bring a personal injury lawsuit against another party, you and your attorney should be prepared to go to court if necessary — but also know that it’s not very likely. At least 95% of these cases, known as torts, will be settled without anyone involved ever stepping foot in a courtroom. It’s often possible to reach an agreement without an actual trial taking place. But make sure your attorney is willing to fight for you in court should your case turn out to be an outlier.
Q: How Do I Pay for a Personal Injury Lawyer?
A: This is one of the most common concerns for people who have suffered an injury. And given the reputation lawyers have for charging exorbitant hourly fees and retainers, it’s no wonder. But personal injury attorneys work a little differently. Rather than asking for payment up front, they work on what’s called a contingency fee.
This means that they only get paid if and when you win a settlement or succeed in your trial. You may be on the hook for some smaller filing and administrative fees, but in most cases the law firm will take care of everything, so you can focus on getting well and saving money.
Q: So I Only Have to Pay If I Win?
A: That’s right. The attorney will take a percentage of the damages you receive as their fee. This payment structure offers two major benefits: you don’t have to pony up any cash in advance or worry about what it’s costing you. Secondly, you can rest assured that your attorney will fight tooth and nail to win your case and to be awarded as high a damage amount as possible. After all, they have a pretty big stake in the matter themselves.
Q: How Do I Get Started?
A: Personal injury lawyers offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations. Think of it like a first date; you can get to know each other a bit, determine if you’ll work well together, and then take it from there. The attorney will want to review all the facts of your situation, and can then advise you as to whether or not you have a case — and whether or not they feel confident they’ll win it. If either party has doubts, you can go your separate ways. No harm, no foul, and you haven’t wasted any money on this meeting, either.