A personal injury lawsuit can arise in a number of situations, and when one party’s negligence results in the harm of another. Individuals, businesses, and product manufacturers are just some of the many examples of those who may be found liable in a personal injury case. A personal injury victim often finds themselves dealing with pain and suffering, extensive medical bills, and lost wages after being harmed; this can even happen when the injuries are somewhat minor. In more severe cases, a personal injury can be permanent and affect the victim’s quality of life forever.
Some of the common types of personal injury cases a victim may be involved in include, but are not limited to:
- Intentional Torts
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Uber and Lyft rideshare accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Slip and fall incidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bite injury
- Defective products
- Boating accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Amusement park injury
- Wrongful Death
The number of accidents and injuries that occur across the country each year is staggering. The National Center for Health Statistics recently reported that approximately 31 million individuals sustain a personal injury nationwide annually. While not all of these injuries resulted in personal injury lawsuits, statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice also show that more than half of all injury cases (52 percent) are directly related to car accidents. A car accident lawsuit can result from a number of different causes, including a drunk driver, distracted driver, defective automobile, and so on.
What to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
While your attorney doesn’t decide whether you will obtain pre-settlement funding, they are essential in helping you to maximize your settlement amount. Engaging a specific personal injury attorney can feel daunting, afterall on a short drive home you might see half a dozen billboards with different attorney’s names…which one really will “fight for you”? To help you decide which personal injury attorney could help you to reach the settlement you deserve consider the following questions:
What is their area of personal injury expertise?
While these cases are all technically personal injuries or torts, they involve different types of experts, have their own unique complexities, and involve distinct and unique issues. Having an attorney who understands the special circumstances of your personal injury case can make a difference in terms of obtaining a fair settlement or verdict in your favor. Take the time to ask your prospective attorney about their depth of experience with your particular case. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals of clients they have helped with your same type of case or injury to speak to them about their experience with the attorney.
What is the personal injury attorney’s fee structure?
Both you and your attorney might be all smiles on your initial meetings but you want to ensure those smiles are still ongoing when you reach a settlement. It is very important to understand the fee structure of the attorney. A few key items of fees include the following:
- Percentage of Settlement or Judgment: The amounts can vary; however, in the typical attorney-client relationship, the attorney is entitled to receive 33 ⅓% of the settlement. Some attorneys can charge up to 50% of the settlement or judgment, so it is important that you ask and be clear as to what rate the attorney is charging before you sign an engagement agreement.
- Case Fees:Case fees are not attorney’s fees and are typically not included as part of the percentage the attorney is entitled to receive from a settlement or judgment. Make sure to ask what are the expenses that would be deducted from your settlement or judgment. It is important to ask if there is a maximum limit on those fees as well, and if not, feel free to negotiate that as part of your agreement.
- “No Fee if No Recovery”: It is important to confirm that you won’t be out of any money, including attorney’s fees or expenses, if your case is ultimately unsuccessful. Make sure to get, in writing, from your prospective attorney that if your case is not successful then you won’t owe any money. This is the same with a pre-settlement funding company; as with USClaims, if your case isn’t successful you don’t have to pay USClaims anything.
What percentage of cases does the attorney settle out of court?
This is a logical question and one that is tough for the average plaintiff to comprehend as if you believe what you see on television, then nearly every case goes to trial. Statistically 90% of lawsuits filed are settled before trial and of the ones that do go to trial, nearly 90% of those are settled before verdict. Going to trial is very expensive and often not the best solution for your case; however, it is important to ask the question as you will want to find out if your lawyer has extensive experience in trial.
What is their average settlement for a personal injury case?
There may be no such thing as an “average settlement” for all personal injury cases, as the list of potential elements to be considered could be extensive. You should ask your attorney what they consider an average settlement for your particular case. More often than not they will provide you with a range of possible amounts to help set your expectations.
How many cases does the attorney handle on a monthly basis?
Most clients want to know how many cases an attorney handles because it is generally correlated with the amount of attention and time their case will receive. After all, an attorney that handles upwards of 40 cases at a time will be spread much thinner than an attorney who handles 15 cases at a time…right? That may be true, but some attorneys who have a larger caseload often have larger staff and can spend just as much time on your case as those with a smaller caseload. Take the time to ask your prospective attorney if there will be anyone assisting them in the case, how often they will update you, and how long they expect your case to take. Asking key questions can help you to weigh what the relationship will look like outside of their caseload.
What is included in the settlement value?
One of the most important questions that will inevitably cross your mind is “what is my case worth”?. With each personal injury case having a multitude of unique aspects it is difficult to even put a range on values without examining the specifics of your case. It should be noted that there are common elements that can be included as part of your settlement value such as the following:
- Medical bills – It is important to keep a record of all medical bills associated with your personal injury case as you could be asked to submit all of that through your attorney.
- Lost Income – Missing work is costly, and even if you used vacation or sick time you could still be owed reimbursement.
- On-going treatment – Some injuries aren’t healed after a few months. It is important to work with your medical team of advisors to understand what on-going treatment will look like and cost to be included as part of your settlement value.
- Pain and Suffering – Pain and suffering can be a large portion of a settlement; especially if your injuries are dictating a different quality of life than you have enjoyed prior.
What are the payment options available for your settlement?
Understanding your payment options for your proposed settlement is essential to planning your financial future. Keep in mind that an average motor vehicle accident case can take 20 months to settle and during that time you have likely had medical bills and lost wages to deal with. When you understand your prospective settlement amount (which can be early on in your case cycle) you can get pre-settlement funding to help with those unexpected expenses and when it comes time to settle you can even look to have an option of a structured settlement. When you are considering pre-settlement funding or even a structured settlement as an option it is important to consult a financial advisor to help you determine which options are best for your situation.
Dealing with a personal injury, especially a serious injury, can be traumatic and shocking. Many injury victims are still trying to process the accident and the injuries that have followed. For some victims, their lives are forever changed and their injuries may be permanent. On top of everything, they may have bills and expenses accumulating. A settlement from a personal injury lawsuit may not make up for the harm that was caused, but it can help victims fight for their right for the justice they deserve. It can also help them cover any expenses, such as medical bills and loss of wages, that were the direct cause of another party’s negligence.
At USClaims, we offer pre-settlement funding, if a case is qualified for pre-settlement funding then we would purchase a portion of the proceeds of the anticipated court judgment or settlement for some cash now. USClaims only gets paid if a case is won or has reached a settlement! Apply now or call us today at 1-877-USCLAIMS to learn more.