“The Power of the Lawyer is in the uncertainty of law.”
— Jeremy Bentham
Although Bentham’s theory of Utilitarianism might not be an ideal reflection of a perfect society, the quote mentioned above holds true under the purview of jurisprudence and law. And amongst every other branch of law, the definition of ‘personal injury’ might be the vaguest one.
From physical to psychological harm, everything comes under the boundary of personal injury law. While other branches of law have established codified acts and limited to its own perimeter, Tortious acts have not. The whole lot of Tort laws are based on precedent or prior case laws. Thus, Tort can be said to be one of the biggest examples of Personal Injury law.
Many countries have tried to come up with different codified principles to limit the wings of Torts, but none of them has got any universal acceptance. However, in recent times, motor vehicle accident injuries, medical malpractice injuries and work-related death or injury have become so common that gives a clear ray on the path of the law of personal injury or Tortious acts.
Thus, before getting into the matter of finding the best personal injury lawyer, it is safe to get a short introduction on the very matter of what a personal injury lawsuit refers to. Have a look.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In simple language, personal injury refers to bodily or emotional harm done to one person by another person intentionally or unintentionally. Depending on the seriousness of that harm and whether it amounts to a legal breach or not, a personal injury lawsuit is formed. However, a personal injury lawsuit is only restricted to seeking out civil or monetary compensation only and no criminal justice.
A personal injury lawsuit can be classified into two parts —
1. Formal Lawsuits:
These are the cases where the particular grievance is decided by the court under the Civil law of the State such as negligence under the Tort law.
2. Informal Lawsuits:
These are the lawsuits that are being mitigated outside of the courtroom, in the presence of the insurers and the attorneys of both sides.
Apart from these two, there is another dispute resolution procedure of personal injury, i.e. arbitration.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Now that you have a specific clarification about what ‘Personal Injury’ is, there is need to update your knowledge about what are the different types of personal injury cases that you can pursue. Mostly personal injury cases are the ‘tortuous cases’. But it is always helpful to have a detailed categorization here. Have a look.
1. Car Accident Cases
Car accidents spur out most of the personal injury cases in the whole world. There are countries which have specific and strict codified laws against it, but it can easily be included under the general statue of personal injury cases.
2. Medical Malpractice
While medical malpractice can easily be termed as a crime in some cases, it can also spur a personal injury case out of it. These types of cases often arise when a doctor or other health care professionals fail to provide a competent and skilled care to their patient or in some cases causes serious injuries to health as well.
3. Defamation Cases
Defamation in personal injury can be of two types – Libel and Slander. When a person suffers damage to their reputation due to any verbal rumours or written statement circulated by a person, personal injury case in defamation can arise quite easily.
4. Dog Bites
These types of personal injury cases are mostly famous in the Western Countries. Dog bites from pet dogs are quite common in neighbourhood and in such cases; the owners of the dogs are financially responsible to the plaintiff for the cost of injury suffered by him. There are state laws for these particular types of cases as well.
5. Assault/Battery or other Intentional Tortuous Cases
With a possible criminal suit up in sleeves, assault or battery cases can be instituted under personal injury cases as well. When one person physically attacks another person or threatens to attack any other person, the latter person can institute a case of personal injury against the former person.
3 Scenarios to Check Out before You Seek Out the Help of a Personal Injury Attorney
It is easy to pay your personal injury lawyer a visit after you have made up your mind to pursue your case further, but it is quite hard to judge when you can seek the help of a personal injury attorney and when you cannot. Let us chart that down here.
1. The Occurrence of an Accident
Personal injury cases are the scenarios where you will hold a person financially accountable for the accident that cost you money. Thus, it is very important to dissect every other little details of the accident and see whether the defendant was really responsible for the accident that happened. In order to suit a personal injury case, the defendant needs to breach a legal duty and if he does not, a personal injury lawyer will not take your case.
2. The Extent of the Injury
Not every other injury is a legal injury. To claim a legal damage, you need to prove first whether the opposite party has breached a legal duty or not. Just because you have suffered financial loss, that does not give you the right to file a suit against the other people. For example, if a person competes with you in a trade and gains profit more than you, causing you a substantial financial loss, it is not a legal injury.
3. Economic Reality of a Case
The economic reality or perspective of a case is another ingredient that you should take into consideration. Every personal injury lawyer judge a case from the economic perspective i.e. whether this particular case will do any justice for them or not and after careful consideration, they take the case.
Thus, before checking out these three scenarios, do not waste money on your personal injury lawyer.
5 Secrets to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case
The sheer number of law firms around the world is one of the best examples as to why you should know all the secret ways to choose your best personal injury lawyer. You can hire anyone who picks your call first or you can wait patiently and give your case to someone who can actually bring justice to your damage. But the problem lays elsewhere – the first-hand experience.
The moment a person meets with an accident, be it negligence, defamation or a strict liability case, the hurry of filing the case appears, and most of the people forget to research. Thus, we have formulated the best ways to judge a book by its cover. Let’s have a look.
1. Use Your Network or the Internet to Get the Reference
This is the easiest and the fastest way to get your personal injury lawyer. Ask your friend or relatives, who have been through any rough legal patch and got the right justice. Ask them for the contact information of those lawyers and explain your case. Or else, you can search it on Google, and you can go through the rating and reviews of other people on that particular lawyer.
2. Check the Law Society Record
Another great way to find the best personal injury lawyer is through the law society record. Most of the countries have their own law society record where all the outcome of the different cases and the name of the attorneys have been mentioned chronologically.
3. Review the Lawyer’s Website
Reviewing the lawyer’s website is another great step to find the right personal injury lawyer for your distinct problem or circumstance. Check which type of injuries he covers such as medical malpractice injuries, psychological injuries, motor vehicle accident injuries etc. Also, check the years of experience, the types of cases he has done till date and whether he works with the clients directly or indirectly. These kinds of information will ease your process to filter the best personal injury lawyer.
4. Pick those Attorneys who Practice Personal Injury Law Exclusively
Not many people emphasis on this point but it is surely one of the most important aspects while choosing your personal injury lawyer. The best personal injury lawyer will never mix up his type. Thus, close your radius of searching to those attorneys who have exclusivity on this particular field only.
5. Interview Different Attorneys
Lawyers can be manipulative, and they can easily sway you away with their way of talks. Do not restrict your search only to two or three lawyers. Interview at least six or seven personal injury lawyer before hitting it off permanently! This will not help you in your recent case, but your future case references are secured as well.
10 Things You Should Ask before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
As personal injury lawsuit comes under the purview of the civil matter, it is important to search the best personal injury lawyer that suits your case. The above mentioned five ways might get you narrowed down to 5 lawyers, but how can you interview them to filter the best out of them? Or what questions should you ask to narrow down who would be best suited? Let’s keep reading.
1. Technical Knowledge and Experience
This is the most basic question everyone should ask their lawyer before hiring them. It is true that most of the people do not have the slightest idea about the field of law they are about to jump in, but it is important to understand the technical words the lawyer pronunciation, so keep up a little! Look into the account of practising years and question them various circumstances as well.
You do not want to wait too long to get an update on your case, do you? Thus it comes to the question of availability. And even if you are not familiar with the legal procedure, the constant availability of your lawyer will help you make better decisions as well. If he waits for a week to give you an update, he might not be the best lawyer for your case.
3. The Willingness to Take the Case to Trial, if necessary
Check his willingness as to how far he would go to solve your case. Many personal injury lawyers do not want to go to trial and put your case before the jury or the judge and pressure to get settled out of the court room. This will not only harm your claim, but it will also give your insurer or the other party to get away with it easily. This should not happen at any cost. If you interviewed lawyer hesitates to take your case to trial, you know the time of bidding farewell is there!
4. Ask about the Timeframe
A personal injury lawsuit can go a long way if the lawyer wants. If you do not want to get stuck in the loop of paying a visit to your lawyer’s chamber, clear out the confusion first. Ask your lawyer about the timeframe under which your case will wrap up. Or you can check his other personal injury lawsuits and the timeframe of those cases as well. This will give you a fair idea about your particular circumstance at best.
5. The Chance of Maximum Recovery
Now people file a personal injury lawsuit with a hope that it will get him a lump sum amount of compensation in exchange of his damage and dedicated time, right? Never fear to ask your attorney to ask the question. Also, ask what your lawyer thinks about the point of maximum recovery. If necessary, put your own demand for compensation on the table and see how the lawyer is reacting.
6. The Talk of Contingency Fee
The contingency fee is one of the most critical aspects of any personal injury lawsuit, and it can get very costly, very fast. There are two types of the contingency fee, i.e. flat contingency fee and gradual contingency fee. Where the first one stays constant even if the compensation amount of lawsuit increases, the second one increases with your increased compensation. Mostly, the range of contingency fee varies from a range of 25% to 40%. Thus, this is one of the most important talks of money you are ever going to ask your future attorney. Do not mess it up!
7. “No Fee if No Recovery.”
Following the topic of the contingency fee, here comes the important provision that says personal injury lawyers go by the rule of ‘No fee if no recovery’. Thus, the consultation with your personal injury lawyer is free, and there will not be any fee of a lawyer if no recovery is done. It may sound simple, but it isn’t. Even if you do not have to cover your lawyer’s fee, you have to cover the court expenses such as court witness fee, charges for medical records etc. In some cases, the lawyer bears with all the expenses and gets reimbursed at the end of the recovery. However, not all lawyers do that. Be careful of this provision!
8. The Percentage of Case Referrals from Other Lawyers
This answer will give you the best shot at imagining how popular your personal injury lawyer is. If your chosen lawyer works on several referral cases on a daily basis, he might be the best personal injury lawyer in that area. Thus, you can trust him with your case as well.
9. The Number of Other Attorneys Working on the Case
This is a big problem if you are going for the best personal injury lawyer in town. Most of them are so busy that they will not single-handedly work on your case and employ his juniors to see the daily updates. In such cases, you might want to clear it out at the first meeting itself. Check out which junior attorney will work on your case and if possible, have a talk with him as well. This will pull you out from any vague case updating process.
10. Look Out for any Red Flags
Even if all the points mentioned above are cleared, check out the chosen lawyer’s background in search of any kind of red flag. If the lawyer has been censored on any disciplinary or contempt of court matter, it would be best to avoid him at any cost.
At the end of everything, check whether your chosen lawyer will fight to the last resource to give you what you deserve. A lawyer is a fighter. Make sure to choose the best fighter for your rights. All the best!
It is not really that hard to find the right personal injury lawyer to speed up your case. Follow the above steps and you will find your personal injury lawyers in no time!