5 Reasons to Hire a Birmingham Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were hurt in an accident you’re probably wondering if you need an attorney. There are many reasons to hire a Birmingham personal injury lawyer. These are five of the top reasons you should consider when making your decision.
Knowledge and Skill
If you choose to work with insurance companies or take someone to court yourself, you will be at a distinct disadvantage. While you’re navigating the insurance and legal system for the first time, the people or businesses on the other side have in-depth knowledge and experience regarding their industries and how to use the law to their benefit. Insurance companies or large businesses often have teams of lawyers to defend them.
If you were hurt, you need someone on your side who knows the intricate details of personal injury law and has experience successfully handling accident and injury cases. Even if you hope to avoid court, hiring a personal injury lawyer is still the right way to go. An Alabama personal injury lawyer with experience representing injured people will know how to negotiate with insurance companies or use alternative dispute resolution methods to gain you an advantageous settlement — and will have the proven trial skills to convince a jury why you deserve to be compensated.
A Thorough Investigation
It can be difficult to negotiate a settlement or prove another person or business’s negligence in court without properly investigating your accident. However, you may not know how to gather the information you need, or even what you need.
Personal injury attorneys know where to start investigating your claim and how to obtain the information they need to bolster your case and gain leverage for negotiations. An experienced Birmingham personal injury lawyer will know if experts are necessary in your case, and, if so, will seek out the expert opinions you need. An injury lawyer also will know the rules and processes involved in obtaining medical records, accident reports, and other documentation of your losses.
Once you file a claim in court, your attorney will use the discovery process to obtain paperwork and other evidence from the defendants and take depositions from the defendants or witnesses. A good lawyer also will know how to take the evidence gathered and present it in the strongest light to support your claim for compensation, based on his or her experience with obtaining successful results from insurance companies or juries.
When you’re hurt in an accident, it’s understandable that you feel angry and resentful toward the responsible party. You have every right to be emotional, particularly when an accident can drastically alter the rest of your life. You may be looking at months of recovery or a long-term disability.
But it’s these emotions that can make negotiating with insurance companies on your own difficult, lengthy, and ultimately ineffective. An experienced personal injury attorney offers you objectivity. He or she will inform you of your rights and have an honest discussion with you regarding the amount you’re likely to recover. This can be a hard conversation, but you can trust that your attorney will aggressively fight for the most beneficial outcome for you.
Greater Amount of Compensation
In general, people who work with experienced personal injury attorneys have a greater likelihood of receiving a larger settlement or jury award than if they work alone.
Attorneys are trained to negotiate with their clients’ best interests in mind. Unless you have a career that involves negotiations and dispute resolution, a lawyer will be more adept at working with an insurer to increase a settlement offer. They will be able to use their knowledge of the law and the facts surrounding your case to demand a higher payment.
Lawyers have the knowledge and research to understand what an appropriate settlement is. If you calculate your compensatory damages yourself, there is a chance you missed potential future expenses and the costs associated with pain and suffering. You might also not know that you have a right to ask for punitive damages or interest in certain situations. An attorney can fight to see that your settlement or jury verdict is what you are due under the law. What you may consider fair might be far lower than you’re able to legally recover.
Ease Your Burden
When you’ve been in an accident, you have enough on your plate. It’s not enough to say it’s a stressful situation for you and your loved ones. It takes time to physically and emotionally recover from an accident. When you are facing severe injuries and long-term consequences, you have an even greater burden of figuring out how you’ll lead a normal life, get back to work, and financially support yourself and your family.
Quite simply, you have enough to do without negotiating with insurance companies or researching the law too. You deserve to have someone fight for your rights and take some of the burdens off your shoulders. An experienced personal injury attorney will do the leg work while you focus on getting better.
Many personal injury attorneys work on contingency fees, which means that they collect their fees as a portion of your settlement or jury award. If you don’t recover compensation for your case, they aren’t paid. This ensures that when you need help, you can get it. You don’t have to worry about high hourly fees that you can’t afford on top of your medical expenses and lost wages.
Additionally, the following tips can help you find the right attorney for your case:
- Look for a law firm that represents plaintiffs in personal injury cases. Lawyers are just like doctors. They concentrate in different areas. You wouldn’t go to a dentist to treat your broken arm. In that same sense, you shouldn’t go to a general practice lawyer or a wills and trusts lawyer to handle your personal injury case. You want to work with an attorney who has focused his career on representing injured plaintiffs. The attorney should not only have experience in cases like your own but should also have a reputation with insurance companies as a formidable opponent who fights to protect his clients’ rights.
- Look for an attorney with experience helping clients with the type of injury you sustained or the type of accident that happened to you. There are many different kinds of personal injury cases. People may be hurt by buses, trucks, cars, dogs, doctors, dangerous products or a host of other things. Obviously, a case where someone got hurt in a car accident is very different from a case in which someone became ill after consuming a dangerous drug. When you are hiring an attorney, make sure he has experience with the kind of injury you have suffered or the type of accident that you were involved in.
- Look for an attorney that has a track record of successful past cases. Every case is different, of course. Your own recovery of monetary compensation is going to depend on the circumstances surrounding your claim. However, the lawyer you select should be able to develop a solid case by gathering the right evidence, finding the right expert witnesses and presenting the case in a professional way. The lawyer’s ability to do so is often reflected in the past verdicts and settlements he has obtained.
- Look for a lawyer who isn’t afraid to go to trial. Personal injury cases are resolved either through negotiating with the insurance company (or, very rarely, with the defendant directly) or through going to court. There may be an attorney who will try to only settle cases and avoid litigation because of the time, effort and resources that going to trial requires. What you should seek is a lawyer who isn’t hesitant to stand up in court and fight to make sure you get what you deserve.
- Look for a lawyer who is a member of professional organizations or who has been recognized by the community or his peers. There are a lot of different ways that lawyers are recognized by their peers and a lot of ways they can participate in professional organizations. For example, an attorney can be a part of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. An attorney can also be named among the Alabama Super Lawyers, author professional papers or teach on legal issues. These are good indicators that your lawyer is a passionate, dedicated and skilled professional.
- Pay attention to how you are treated. You need to get along with your attorney, and you need to feel as though your lawyer is on your side and invested in your case. Pay attention to whether your lawyer offers a free initial consultation to learn more about you and your claim. Also, focus on whether your lawyer is listening and concerned when you talk about what you have endured.Find out what role your attorney will play and what associates in the firm will handle. Ask questions and pay attention to whether your lawyer stops to explain things to you or seems impatient. See how well your lawyer communicates.All of these are key factors in making the attorney-client relationship a successful one.
- Understand the fee structure. Ideally, you should work with a personal injury attorney who helps clients on a contingency fee basis. This means the fee is contingent upon your attorney obtaining monetary compensation for you. A contingent fee structure ensures that your interests and your attorney’s interests are directly aligned. Also, you won’t have to worry about losing money paying for a lawyer because you will have to pay for your attorney’s fees only if you obtain compensation.
Talk to the Personal Injury Lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. Today
The attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. are here to help if you’ve been injured in an accident. You deserve attorneys who will get to know you, investigate your case, and tenaciously advocate on your behalf.
Our Birmingham injury lawyers have more than 65 years of collective experience and have received multi-million dollar settlements and jury awards on behalf of numerous injured Alabamians. We have additional offices in Montgomery, Mobile, and Huntsville to best serve you at a location most convenient to you. Contact us today at 205-933-1500 for a free consultation.