The process of filing a lawsuit doesn’t begin when you file a complaint in court; it begins at the time of your injury. If you suffer injury and another person is at fault, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The clock starts running on a personal injury case as soon as you are injured, and there are many legal tasks to fulfill in your case before you even get to court.
Although you may be tempted to handle a personal injury claim on your own, there are a number of reasons to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
You Don’t Have A Lot Of Time
Personal injury cases come with statutes of limitations. This means that the law gives you a limited amount of time after your injury to start a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you will likely have no legal options to recover losses from an at-fault party.
In many cases, the statute of limitations is only a few years. While “years” sounds like a lot, don’t be fooled. The years pass quickly when you have an injury claim, a full-time job, and a family to support. You should contact an attorney immediately after an injury to ensure you hit the appropriate deadlines and preserve your rights.
Your Opponent Likely Has A Tough Entourage
A personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault party will likely involve a defense attorney from that party’s insurance company. Insurance companies have resources and legal teams that are hard to face alone. In one year, a large company can spend over $100,000,000 in total litigation costs. Not many personal injury plaintiffs can access a war-chest like that. Insurance companies can use their arsenals to pay for lots of expert witnesses and private investigators to dispute your claim.
Fortunately, many personal injury attorneys work on contingency. This means that the attorney will not collect attorney fees until you win your case. Personal injury attorneys have the resources to investigate your case, review and analyze evidence from your opponent, and secure the right expert witnesses to support your position. Speaking to an attorney as soon as possible helps you build an impressive arsenal of your own.
A Successful Case Needs Constant Tending And Evaluation
Lawsuits take months of preparation—you do not go to court the day after you file a complaint. The months leading to trial are supposed to give you time to develop your evidence, to hone your arguments, and to assess whether trial is your best option. The best way to build your case is with steady and consistent evaluation that starts early.
Attorneys are masters of developing evidence and for trial, and they know how to brace for threats to your recovery. An attorney’s advice at the outset can help yield the best possible outcome for your case.
Initially Assessing A Case
Personal injury lawsuits do not happen in a vacuum. In most cases, the injured party will have a history of damages they suffered before the defendant harmed them. These past damages could be prior car accidents, previous medical problems, pre-existing property damage, etc. Insurance companies will try to exploit these past injuries to argue that your current damages are not a result of the defendant’s actions.
A good attorney knows what excuses will likely come from the insurance. A good attorney also knows what evidence to gather and highlight and what experts to use to combat insurance arguments against liability.
Developing A Credible Case
One of the most important characteristics of your claim is its credibility. Recovering your due is difficult if the court does not believe you. You establish credibility by having an honest and consistent story behind your argument. Consistency should start from the moment of injury, and it requires proper focus.
An experienced attorney can quickly assess what the focus of your case should be and the resources you need to sharpen that focus.
Developing Credible Expert Opinions On Causation
In a negligence case, you must prove that the defendant caused your injury. If you suffered bodily injuries, an attorney can put you in touch with the right doctors to help determine which injuries were caused by the defendant. Focus on the right injuries can diminish your opponent’s ability to place the blame elsewhere.
Developing a relationship with the right doctors early in your case gives your doctors long-term understanding of your condition. The opinion of a doctor who has a long-term relationship with you can carry more weight than the opinions of random medical experts the insurance will likely employ to dispute you.
Developing Credible Expert Opinions On Damages
To recover in a negligence case, you must prove you have damages. At times, your best evidence of damages may come from a source that is unfamiliar to you. Without the preparation of a good attorney, your attempts to gather evidence from unfamiliar sources may only waste your time and money.
For example, a functional capacity evaluation may be the best evidence to prove your post-injury limitations. Proof of your post-injury limitations can boost your recovery of damages for pain and suffering and diminished wage-earning capacity. Functional capacity evaluations are long and arduous, and they involve many specific, physical tasks. An attorney can prepare you for what to expect in an evaluation, so you can receive the most accurate and helpful results.
Identifying And Preparing Witnesses
A personal injury attorney can determine early on which witnesses should testify on your behalf. Prior to trial, your attorney can normally interview and investigate each witness to determine their helpfulness. The earlier you establish a solid witnesses list, the better. You need to give early notice to secure a witness’s attendance at trial.
Having good evidence is only useful in your case if you can use it, and speaking to an attorney early can increase the usefulness of your evidence.
The Law Has So Many Rules
Even if you believe you can develop evidence on your own, navigating the court system alone is harder than you think. The Conversation reports that there are almost 200 tasks a self-represented claimant must perform to resolve a personal injury case. Not only is a personal injury claim time-consuming, but it requires compliance with a lot of rules.
Some of the most infamous rules for trying a personal injury case are the rules of evidence. If you want a judge or jury to use your evidence at trial, there are a multitude of evidence rules to follow. Your opponent wants to highlight any evidence rules you missed so they can block your arguments.
Florida, for example, has over 100 evidence rules, which could give a defendant many opportunities to overpower a claimant in court. A Florida personal injury lawyer knows the evidence rules well and can tailor your evidence accordingly before your opponent attacks.
You Should Give Yourself A Break After Suffering An Injury
Handling a personal injury case has many burdens you should not be expected to handle alone. A personal injury is already devastating, and the court system does not ease stress. You should speak to an attorney immediately after injury to at least determine what you can reasonably manage.
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