Although my friends and family know that I am a personal injury lawyer, even those closest to me do not really understand what I do for my clients. I got to thinking that’s probably, at least in part, my fault because I’ve never explained it to them, really. So that’s what I’d like to do in today’s blog: Explain what a personal injury lawyer does.
It is no secret that as a personal injury attorney I am fighting an uphill battle, as far the perception of the occupation is concerned. We have all heard the ambulance-chaser jokes. However, this is an image that the majority of personal injury attorneys, including myself, work hard to separate themselves from. Personal injury law firms represent clients who have been involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents or who have been injured in a fall or on the job. Many – probably most – of our clients do not have the resources to hire an attorney, so personal injury law firms are generally willing to finance the cases in exchange for a percentage of the recovery. The personal injury attorney is the injured party’s advocate that will make sure the insurance company or at fault party pays for the damages which their negligence caused.
What Causes the Negative Stereotype About Personal Injury Lawyers?
Television and movies play a large role in perpetuating the negative stereotypes of the personal injury attorney. The insurance industry also has its share of politicians in its hip pocket pushing “tort reform” at the expense of the reputations of hardworking personal injury lawyers. What’s worse, “tort reform” comes at the expense of people who get injured. Personal injury attorneys are often portrayed as greedy and completely lacking ethics or a moral compass. In my experience, it is an unfair portrayal and the vast majority of personal injury attorneys and law firms are extremely hardworking ethical men and women who are zealously representing the best interests of their clients.
What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
This is the million dollar question I set out to answer and about half way through this article, I realized I was not able to answer the question in the broad sense. What I can answer is what your personal injury attorney at this law firm will do on your case. First, and most importantly, I am experienced and therefore knowledgeable concerning the relevant laws and procedural rules that may affect your case. Do I know everything? Of course not. No lawyer does. Beyond requiring a knowledgeable lawyer, pursuing a personal injury claim can be very time consuming and expensive. When you hire a personal injury attorney, some of the activities that attorney will perform, include:
1. Meeting with you;
2. Gathering documents including insurance polices;
3. Collecting medical records;
4. Ordering police report;
5. Hiring an investigator to document the scene and vehicles involved;
6. Performing background checks on the at fault parties;
7. Following the client’s treatment;
8. Preparing a complete demand to the insurance company;
9. Negotiating with the insurance companies;
10. Negotiating with medical providers to reduce your bills;
11. Preparing all court filings should it be necessary to file suit;
12. Hiring expert witnesses, if necessary;
13. Taking depositions and preparing you for your deposition
14. Preparing an arbitration statement and acting on your behalf at arbitration as required by the New Jersey Rules of Court; and
15. Acting as your attorney during trial.
As you can see, there is a lot of time and expense that goes into a personal injury case. It is important to have an advocate to assist you in navigating this process and obtaining the best possible result for you.
Finally, I will always treat you like an individual. I will aggressively pursue the maximum recovery for your specific case.