Even if you don’t know a personal injury lawyer, you’ve probably seen or heard advertisements by them, and you may wonder what they do.
Being treated fairly and recovering a reasonable settlement or judgment in a personal injury case is not guaranteed.
Many people find the entire process overwhelming, and most are simply not prepared to pursue their case without professional help.
Our personal injury lawyers at the Patterson Law Group are available to help you make your claim for damages under the law. Call us today at (817) 784-2000.
In this article:
- What’s the big picture?
- Why does an injured person need a lawyer?
- What kinds of cases do personal injury lawyers handle?
- What things do lawyers do in personal injury cases?
What Is The Big Picture Of Personal Injury Lawyers?
Simply put, a personal injury lawyer helps a person and/or their family to recover damages when they are injured by the negligence of others.
It’s a part of the practice of law that requires a particular skill, experience, and hard work to represent clients well.
Why Does An Injured Person Need A Lawyer?
In nearly every case where an injury occurs, there is an insurance company involved, with experienced professionals handling the claims, lawyers at the ready to defend them, and plenty of financial resources for a long and expensive battle. Few people can take on the insurance companies alone.
A good personal injury lawyer brings education and experience to level the playing field so you get the attention and respect you deserve for your claim.
What Kind Of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?
Any case where a person is killed or suffers a serious injury is potentially a case for a personal injury lawyer.
Some of the more common kinds of cases are:
- Truck wrecks
- Automobile collisions
- Workplace accidents
- Construction injuries
- Oilfield injuries
- Premises liability
- Dram shop liability
By consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can find out whether you have a case. If you do, your lawyer can help you through the entire process of your claim.
What Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Do Once They’re Hired?
After a personal injury lawyer meets with the potential new client and decides to take on the case, there are several parts to the representation, all of which take place over a period of several weeks or months, and sometimes years.
- Investigation: One of the first steps for a personal injury lawyer is to investigate the client’s claim. Statements of witnesses, official reports, photographs and video, and other data must be reviewed to give the lawyer a full picture of the case. That review leads to evaluation of the case and formulation of a theory of the case—the reasoning behind holding another party responsible for the client’s injuries.
- Notice: At about the same time, the personal injury lawyer will usually put the party or parties who caused the client’s injuries on notice of a claim and follow up to be sure the appropriate insurance carrier has notice of the claim as well. This is an important step to be sure the proper insurance company is engaged and supplied with the information they need to evaluate the claim. This also keeps the negligent party and their insurance carrier from discarding, losing, or destroying important evidence.
- Damages: As the process moves forward, the lawyer organizes and evaluates the information from doctors, employers, and other sources that will help shape the picture of the client’s damages. Medical bills and records, employment records, and a variety of other documentation can be relevant to the claim; these documents must be assembled and organized to present to the insurance company.
- Demand: Once the client’s overall situation reaches a certain point, it is usually time to present a settlement demand to the negligent party’s insurance company. Most often, this is done before a lawsuit is filed so that the client’s claim may be resolved without spending additional time and money. Often, the demand leads to negotiations that ultimately conclude in a settlement. If that doesn’t happen, a lawsuit can be filed, which takes the case to the next step.
- Litigation: When a case can’t (or shouldn’t) be settled through negotiation before a lawsuit, the courts provide a system where people who are injured can seek recovery of damages from those who caused the injuries. Pleadings are filed to begin the process. Written discovery and oral depositions can be taken to complete the investigation of the facts and circumstances that led to the client’s injury. Documents are produced and exchanged, motions are filed, and the case makes its way through the court’s docket as both sides compile and analyze information about the case.
- Settlement: Some think there are too many lawsuits filed, but only about 2% of injured people file a lawsuit. In fact, the vast majority of cases filed in our courts involve something other than personal injury. Real estate disputes, family cases, bankruptcies, employment cases, and businesses suing each other make up the bulk of the cases on file. Moreover, about 95% of all personal injury cases filed don’t go to trial but settle by agreement before a jury gets the case. These settlements are most often the result of negotiations between the parties, sometimes through a process called mediation. A capable and seasoned personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in those critical negotiations.
- Trial: If all efforts at settlement fail, our court system allows injured victims to have their cases heard and decided by a jury of their peers. Witnesses and documents provide the evidence for the jury to consider, and the lawyers argue their cases, asking the jury to render a decision in favor of their client. The jury has a tremendous responsibility—after all, there is only one opportunity for an injured person to seek justice for the wrong that has been done—and juries overwhelmingly return fair verdicts.
It is by no means a perfect system, but it works well most of the time when you have a good lawyer on your side.
Call The Personal Injury Lawyers At Patterson Law Group Today For Help With Your Personal Injury Claim
With the personal injury lawyer team at Patterson Law Group on your side, you will have the resources and experience you need to take on the insurance companies and fight for your rights.
Call us at (817) 784-2000 or fill out this form for a free consultation about your personal injury case.
Author: Greg McCarthy
Greg McCarthy is a personal injury attorney at Patterson Law Group serving Fort Worth, Arlington, and San Antonio areas.
Greg McCarthy is a 1985 graduate of Texas Tech University School of Law, and earned his BBA in Accounting from Texas A&M University in 1983. Greg has practiced law in Texas for more than 35 years, representing both Plaintiffs and Defendants in well over a thousand cases in a wide variety of civil litigation, including personal injury, medical malpractice, professional liability, products liability, oil & gas, premises liability, collection, employment disputes, construction litigation, and trucking accidents.
Greg has tried dozens of cases in state and federal courts from Dallas to Gilmer, from Denton to Austin, from Longview to Houston, and from Fort Worth to San Antonio. He was also a mediator with Gilbert Mediation Group in Dallas for 12 years, during which time he mediated hundreds of cases in all varieties of civil litigation.