If you have been in an accident or injured in some way because of someone else’s carelessness, you may be dealing with a number of question right now. You may be wondering what to do about your medical expenses and loss of income. You may be wondering how to adjust to your change in circumstances. And you may be wondering if you need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you seek compensation for your injuries.
Maybe all you need is some advice. In many cases, though, you may need an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you through the process and help you be restored as much as possible to your situation prior to the injury. We can help.
If you have a serious case, you need a serious lawyer. The lawyers at Jim Leach, L.C. can help guide you through the maze of a personal injury claim and let you focus your energy on your recovery.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer to Handle a Personal Injury Claim?
You are not legally required to have a lawyer handle your personal injury claim. You could file all the necessary paperwork yourself and represent yourself in court. However, your chances for winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve are much higher if you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury, you may need to bring in expert witnesses, sort through documents provided by the defendant, and provide a depth and breadth of evidence in court to prove your case. You need to follow complex rules of evidence and procedure to present your case, make objections, file motions, etc. Outside of court, you need to know how to leverage your case during negotiations to achieve a settlement you are happy with.
The insurance company – whose goal is to minimize how much money you receive – deals with these issues every day. Do you? If you’re like most injured people, you have never had much contact with the legal system before now.
An experienced lawyer will be able level the playing field by negotiating settlements, navigating the pre-trial process, taking your case to trial, and fighting for the compensation you deserve – all with a greater chance of success than if you do it yourself.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
It may be that you prefer to try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company or at-fault party, only to find that the only settlement offer you are able to get is completely unfair — or nonexistent! Having a personal injury lawyer will get the attention of the party you are claiming against, and your likelihood of negotiating a fair settlement is much higher.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
A good personal injury lawyer will listen to you, do thorough information and evidence gathering, talk to you about your options, and assist you in pursuing the course of action that you choose.
- Handling your case personally, listening to your needs, and responding quickly to your questions.
- Calculating and documenting all of your losses.
- Ensuring that all court documents, insurance claims, and other paperwork are filed correctly.
- Systematically gathering crucial pieces of evidence.
- Interviewing witnesses who saw the incident that caused your injury.
- Representing your interests during negotiations with insurance companies.
- Fielding prospective settlement offers and acting in your best interest.
A personal injury lawyer can help take the burden of the legal process off your plate and help guide you through this sometimes frustrating and complex process.
How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
There are a variety of options available to assist you in finding a qualified attorney. You can make a list of prospective lawyers by searching online, looking in the phone book or by checking with your local or state bar association. You might even ask friends or relatives whom they would recommend. Knowing what type of attorney you are looking for will narrow your selection process considerably.
Contact the personal injury attorneys on your list and arrange initial consultations with them. Many attorneys provide this service free-of-charge, while some charge their regular or a reduced hourly rate. The initial consultation is a time for you and the lawyer to assess your legal problems. It is also a chance for you to decide whether you want that personal injury attorney to advise or represent you. Look for someone you feel confident will give you good advice and effective representation.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Personal Injury Lawyer
When you meet with lawyers to decide who to use, you will want to find out certain things from each lawyer, such as the nature of their personal injury experience, if they have experience with your specific type of injury case, how they handle billing, how they manage cases like yours, etc.
Here are some specific questions you can ask:
- How long have you been in practice?
- Do you focus on personal injury?
- How often do you handle cases like mine?
- What types of verdicts and settlements have you secured for injured people like me?
- What factors do you see helping my case, and what might work against me?
- What bar associations and professional organizations do you belong to?
- Who will be my day-to-day contact if I have questions or concerns?
Is There a Limit on How Much Time Can Pass Before I File a Personal Injury Claim?
In West Virginia there is a time limit on filing a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases — the time frame during which you must file a claim in the state’s civil court system — is two years.
If you try to bring a claim more than two years after the date of the accident, you will probably be barred from recovering compensation within the court system.
If you’re looking for an experienced personal injury attorney you can trust in West Virginia or Ohio, please contact Jim Leach, L.C., today or call 1-304-715-2108 to for a free case evaluation. We can help you understand your rights and assess the true value of your personal injury claim. We serve Parkersburg, Wood County, Marietta, Washington County, and surrounding areas of West Virginia and Ohio.