According to the CDC, approximately 40 million Americans seek medical treatment every year, and car accidents cause 4 million of them. The National Safety Council reported that over 4 million people are injured on the job every year. With the common occurrence of injuries in the United States, personal injury cases are increasingly more common.
If you sustained an injury through the negligent actions of another person or persons, experienced New York personal injury attorneys can help you recover the compensation that you deserve. If you think you can handle a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your own, consider these 10 benefits for hiring an attorney first.
1. Get You the Maximum Compensation
Once you have collected all the necessary documents needed as evidence in your case and calculated the compensation you deserve, it is time to send the settlement demand letter. That may sound easy enough. However, without experience in personal injury cases, you might miss potential opportunities to collect more in your settlement.
An experienced personal injury attorney can get you a higher settlement in a few ways:
- They refuse to let the insurance adjuster make a low offer without explanation.
- They do not ask for compensation without concrete evidence that you deserve it.
- They accompany hard evidence with emotional points that personalize your account of the accident.
- They never reduce the amount demanded before getting a response from the insurer.
New York personal injury lawyers understand the laws, such as no-fault insurance requirements and slip-and-fall laws, that govern specific personal injury cases in the state. With legal representation, you stand to receive a much higher settlement than you would on your own.
2. Protect You From the Bad Faith Tactics of Insurance Companies
Once you file a claim with the insurance company, an adjuster is assigned to your case and investigates your claim. Make no mistake, an insurance adjuster represents the best interests of the company and will often do whatever it takes to save the company from substantial policy payouts to the extent that some of the tactics used have been termed “bad faith tactics” for the nature of their actions.
One of the benefits of hiring NYC personal injury attorneys is that you can avoid potential bad faith tactics, such as:
- Delaying payment for a valid claim
- Unreasonably denying a claim without explanation
- Refusing to provide requested documentation
- Using intimidation tactics, such as threatening
- Failing to complete an investigation into your claim
- Misrepresenting the policy in a way that makes it benefit the insurer
- Refusing to pay a claim without reason
- Undervaluing a claim
- Refusing to pay for medical expenses that are covered by your policy
Adjusters behave differently with attorneys. They know that a personal injury lawyer is aware of their tactics and will not tolerate them.
3. Know How to Negotiate
Negotiation skills are an asset in a personal injury case. Most cases do not make it to the trial phase. More often than not, they are settled in negotiations between the attorneys and insurers. A personal injury lawyer in New York not only has the negotiation skills needed to get the maximum compensation, he or she also has the knowledge needed to distinguish a bad offer from a good one.
4. Understand the Legal Process
Removing the guesswork from the many steps in the legal process of a personal injury case makes it go faster and more efficiently. An experienced attorney will handle the filing and document collection for you. Navigating the deposition, preparing for a potential trial, negotiating a settlement, and potentially needing to appeal can be overwhelming for someone with little or no understanding of personal injury laws and liability rules.
New York Personal Injury Laws and Liability Rules
A New York personal injury lawyer is well versed in the state laws that govern your case. Here is a basic overview of prevalent regulation:
- No-fault insurance is required for every driver in New York state. In the event of a car accident, your insurance pays the cost of damages even if you are at fault. To file a liability claim, your injuries must meet the standards for a serious injury set by the state.
- Shared fault rules in New York require that accident victims pay a percentage of the damages incurred in an accident based on the percentage of responsibility they bear.
- Statutes of limitation vary based on the type of personal injury case. Most are limited to three years.
- Claims against the state government are handled using a different set of rules than claims against another citizen or a company.
- Liability in slip and fall cases is often very difficult to prove and requires the help of an attorney.
At the very least, an attorney can save you from making mistakes as you try to navigate the legal requirements for your case.
5. Can Properly Value Your Injury Claim
Some damages incurred from an accident are obvious. Others require more calculation and stronger justification.
Types of damages include:
- Economical: cost of current and future medical treatment, loss of wages, loss of earning capacity, estimates for repairable property damage, the estimated value of irreparable property damage, household services, rehabilitation costs, and all other out-of-pocket costs
- Non-economical: pain, suffering, humiliation, loss of enjoyment, emotional distress, reputational damage, and worsening of prior injuries
Both of these damages fall under the umbrella of compensatory damages, which means they are meant to make you whole after you suffer an injury. Economic damages calculate easily and require evidence in the form of bills and official estimates. Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate because they have to be quantified first. One of the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer is that they have experience calculating damages and can deduce the value of your claim.
6. Advocate for You When You Need Support
A personal injury lawyer in New York, NY will advocate for you. Personal injury cases cover an array of accidents that can cause minor and serious injuries. If you require medical treatment, you often battle your insurance to cover the expenses for treatments that you need.
As previously mentioned, your attorney acts as a buffer between you and the insurance adjuster, but he or she does not just fight to get compensation for treatment that you have had. A lawyer fights to ensure that you get all the proper treatment needed to promote a speedy recovery. Attorneys are representatives. Their job is to advocate for you as if they are advocating for themselves.
7. Prepare You for Trial
Even though most personal injury cases settle outside of the courtroom. Personal injury lawyers prepare your case as if it will go to trial. For example:
- They collect all the evidence needed to corroborate your account of the events before and after the accident. This includes conducting an investigation, sometimes with the help of experts.
- They file all the necessary paperwork on time to ensure that you can go to trial if necessary.
- They determine the value of your claim by only using permissible evidence.
- In the event that you do go to trial, they prep you for the potential questions you may face and teach you how to respond.
In general, attorneys in personal injury cases want to see you settle out of court. However, you always face the possibility that the defendant or insurer is not willing to budge on an offer that you know is not acceptable. You need someone who can prepare you for trial and help you through the proceedings when you get there.
8. Work on Contingency
There are many ways that a lawyer can charge you for legal services. Retainer fees work like a down payment and cover a portion of the services agreed upon. Any work conducted after the retainer is exhausted is billed at an hourly rate. Some lawyers charge a flat fee for specific cases, such as driving violations and divorce. Hourly rates add up quickly and having money upfront is often difficult.
The most convincing benefit of hiring a personal injury lawyer is that most of them work on contingency. A contingency fee arrangement is different because your lawyer only receives payment if he or she successfully recovers compensation on your behalf.
In essence, your lawyer gets paid when you get paid, and you do not have to worry about covering legal fees while trying to work through the financial devastation of medical bills and lost wages. Additionally, a New York personal injury lawyer will not take your case and waste the time and effort it takes to fight it if the chances of recovering compensation are not good.
9. Provide Professionalism and Objectivity
The circumstances surrounding a personal injury case naturally invoke an emotional response. If you were injured in a car crash or lost a loved one to medical malpractice, you may be rightfully angry. There is an appropriate emotional element to arguing your case. However, you can also negatively impact your case if you are struggling to handle anger, pain, and grief.
Having legal representation gives you the benefit of objectivity. You need someone with less emotional investment to present objective arguments on your behalf. A lawyer also provides you with an air of professionalism. Insurance adjusters, police, and others involved in your case are more likely to approach you with more respect when you have legal representation.
10. Know Alternative Ways to Reach a Resolution
Ideally, your case reaches resolution when your attorney successfully negotiates an acceptable settlement in a timely manner. However, that does not always happen, but that does not mean that you will end up going to trial. Your attorney can pursue alternative ways to reach a resolution.
The U.S. Department of Labor defines alternative dispute resolution as “any procedure, agreed to by the parties of a dispute, in which they use the services of a neutral party to assist them in reaching agreement and avoiding litigation.” The two most commonly used methods are mediation and arbitration. Both you and the other party must agree upon a chosen mediator or arbitrator and split the payment for services rendered.
Differences between the two are slight. A mediator opens the door to a collaborative approach to reconciliation. If successful, both parties sign a mediation agreement at the end. The arbitrator is tasked with solving the disagreement for you by listening to the details of your case and sometimes requesting written statements or interviews from both parties. Your attorney represents you in mediation or arbitration to ensure that you are fairly treated and compensated.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Before you contact a personal injury lawyer in New York, you want to know if your incident qualifies as a personal injury case.
The most common types of personal injury cases are:
- Car accidents, which make up the bulk of personal injury lawsuits. If you were seriously injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
- Workplace accident cases occur when a person is injured or killed on the job because of a negligent action by the employer or other employees.
- Medical malpractice cases come in many different types and are the result of serious injury caused by the negligence of the medical staff, including doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, and any other medical professional.
- Wrongful death cases are filed by the family member of a person who was killed by the careless acts of another.
- Premises liability cases primarily refer to slip and fall cases.
These are the most commonly filed personal injury cases. Others include nursing home abuse or neglect, boating accidents, aviation accidents, animal bites, food poisoning, asbestos exposure, and any accident that causes injury due to someone else’s actions.
Schedule a Consultation With a New York Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have a personal injury matter due to the negligent actions of another person, speak to an experienced New York personal injury lawyer at Abrams & Associates, P.C. for a personalized evaluation. Our law firm approaches every situation and client with a clear understanding of their needs and offers support every step of the way. Contact us today for a free consultation.