You’ve been involved in a car crash, truck wreck, a motorcycle crash, or even a pedestrian incident that causes injury. You know someone is at-fault and you want justice, but where do you start? Ultimately, a lot of key steps must happen after a personal injury occurs to make sure you’re in the best position to get justice and the compensation that you are entitled to. Regardless of the type of incident, one of the first things you need to do is contact an injury claim lawyer, also known as a personal injury lawyer or a trial lawyer. A good personal injury attorney can walk you through the steps and explain the legal process to ensure you get the results (and compensation) you deserve following an injury. A personal injury attorney will also deal with the insurance companies and their lawyers so you don’t have to. This allows you to focus on getting medical attention and putting your life back together.
What is an Injury Claim Lawyer?
After getting injured, many people seek legal representation to help recover physically and financially. Medical bills, insurance issues, and other tedious tasks can be exceedingly complicated (and the organizations involved in the process are often not helpful as resources). It’s critical to have an attorney to call for help, or even to handle these interactions completely, to ensure you are not misled into harming your legal case, accepting lower compensation, incurring unnecessary bills, or otherwise prejudicing yourself or your family. Unfortunately, these less-than-ideal outcomes are extremely common because most people do not have the time or energy (especially post-injury) to read the fine print, make the phone calls, and do the hard work to ensure they receive fair results. That’s where injury claims lawyers come in.
“Personal Injury” vs. “Accident”
Did you get in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian accident? You may think so, but the reality is that it was no accident. The Merriam Webster Dictionary primarily defines the word “accident” as, “an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance.” This definition is also the most common understanding of the word among non-legal professionals – and it is dangerous for the administration of justice.
Why is the word “accident” even an issue? The most recognized definition of “accident” does not apply to injury cases that come through the door at personal injury law firms. For example, when someone chooses to pick up their cell phone and take their eyes off the road, they make a conscious decision that puts themselves and the individuals in the vehicles around them at risk. It’s a known danger to all licensed drivers. The words we use matter, which is why many lawyers continue to move away from terminology that uses the term “accident” – because it insinuates a lack of fault and unavoidability.
As personal injury lawyers, we believe it’s important to use the correct terminology to describe the injuries and crashes that arise from the negligent conduct of at-fault parties. When people refer to anything as a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, there is an implication that no one—not even a negligent or drunk driver—is to blame for the outcome and resulting injuries. Using the phrase accident implies that the results are outside the realm of human control and that no one should be held accountable. Insurance companies and defense attorneys love this implication. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Car and truck crashes are the predictable result of specific human actions and the laws of physics. Usually, the actions involved are a driver or a company ignoring safety rules that are designed to protect us all from serious injuries or death.
Since the causes of car crashes, collisions, or incidents can be identified, we can then hold negligent people accountable, and we can take actions to avoid similar injuries and crashes in the future. Changing the ways that we think and talk about car crashes makes everyone safer.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer that understands the importance of the words we use is the first step to protecting your legal rights.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer: Why They Help
So, do I need a personal injury lawyer? If you were injured in a vehicle crash, the best path forward is to hire a personal claims lawyer to handle the tough phone calls, conversations, paperwork, settlement negotiations, and even lawsuits that follow. Unfortunately, a lot of these proceedings and processes are complicated and filled with pitfalls for the unwary. A personal claims lawyer provides the experience and the expertise to help you seek justice if you or someone you love were injured by the negligence of another. Below are some areas where a personal injury lawyer can provide support:
- Post-Injury Support
- Insurance Conversations
- Gathering and Preserving Evidence
- Navigating Liability Disputes
- Injury Claim Valuations
- Settlement Negotiations
- Protecting Legal Rights
- Maximizing Recovery
- Negotiating Medical Bills
- Helping Facilitate Medical Care
- Filing a Lawsuit
- Taking Depositions and Discovery
- Going to Trial
After getting injured, the first thing you need to do is focus on your safety – call 911 if it’s an emergency and get checked out by a medical professional. Do not withhold information from those medical professionals and get the treatment you need. Once you are safe and you get immediate support post-injury, contact your lawyer. Several things should happen quickly after an incident occurs. If you are able, gather as much evidence from the scene. Beyond the other party’s information, pull out your phone and take pictures. Grab detailed photos of any damage, license plates, and the area around the incident as well.
The images and information gathered directly after the incident occurs is extremely valuable. It can be used as evidence and help your lawyer build a case when negotiating settlements (and even in court if the case ends up in front of a jury). A personal injury lawyer can be on-call to answer any questions and help you gather evidence.
After an incident, chances are you will have to work with insurance providers to recover from damages. At the same time, the other party’s insurance provider may reach out to you to get more information about the crash. Do not communicate with the other party’s insurance provider when they reach out. Those conversations should be handled by an attorney to make sure you are not negatively impacted. Ultimately, insurance companies put their own interest first, so most people need an advocate to ensure they get the support they deserve.
Gathering and Preserving Evidence
It is essential to the success of your personal injury case that you gather relevant facts and evidence about your case. Insurance companies have a national index system which shows the names of all persons who have ever made claims for injuries. They also use sophisticated research databases and sometimes hire private investigators. If there are bad facts out there that may harm your case, the insurance companies will probably find them. However, your personal injury lawyer can help you prepare for these issues. Your injury claim attorney will also investigate your case, gather important evidence, and make sure the other side preserves evidence that is relevant to your injury claims.
Navigating Liability Disputes
Understanding liability and proving fault after an incident can be a challenge. Personal injury attorneys have a deep understanding of the legal complexities behind determining fault – and the many laws related to injuries. For example, in a slip and fall case, the place and circumstances surrounding the fall greatly impact who’s at fault. Through consultation and legal insights, a personal injury lawyer can uncover details about the circumstances and help you present that critical evidence.
Injury Claim Value
Depending on the case, who’s at fault, injury severity, and many more influences, an injury claim can hold a wide range of values. Identifying the value of a claim is a complicated process, but insurance companies will try to streamline and under value claims as much as possible. Unless you have a lawyer on your side, it’s extremely difficult to find someone to advocate for you and the value of your case. Damages go beyond medical bills or car fixes. Injury claims lawyers hear stories from people every day, and many are entitled to additional compensation for the long-term physical (and emotional) impact an injury or wrongful death has on their life.
Finally, when it comes to settlements, it’s best to have an expert on your side to handle those negotiations. Injury claims lawyers can consult on and organize your medical records and provide them to the insurance company in a settlement demand package. This includes evidence gathered after the incident, information you provide to your lawyer, and their legal argument for the desired settlement. Getting the expert insight to back up your requests following an incident provides the rock-solid support you need to recover and get the ideal outcome from a traumatic experience.
Protecting Legal Rights
Insurance companies, corporate defendants, and their attorneys spend vast sums of money trying to minimize the amounts of money they have to pay out for their negligence and wrongful conduct. Oftentimes, insurance companies will knowingly provide false information in an attempt to lowball or force an early unfair settlement. Hiring a personal injury attorney familiar with car crashes, truck wrecks, and premises liability act claims will ensure that your legal rights are protected.
A personal injury attorney will also make sure that you are fairly compensated for your claims. Many people don’t understand the ins-and-outs of damages claims in Colorado. There are important differences between economic damages, non-economic damages, and physical impairment damages. The law places caps on non-economic damages but not physical impairment. In Colorado, you are entitled to the amounts billed for medical care, not just the amounts paid to medical providers. Insurance companies don’t want you to know this. An Denver personal injury lawyer will explain the different categories of damages you are entitled to under the law and work hard to make sure you receive a just settlement or verdict.
Helping Facilitate Medical Care
Medical records are one of the most important pieces of evidence you will use in obtaining justice after a car or truck crash or other incident. Unfortunately, many people don’t know the right providers to go to or wait too long to obtain medical care. Many times people who are seriously injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident or truck accident have never seen a medical specialists besides their primary care physician. A personal injury attorney can help guide you to the best medical doctors for car crashes or personal injuries and make sure you receive good care.
Negotiating Medical Bills
Your personal injury attorney doesn’t just help maximize your recovery by settling for a large number. Some people don’t know that you have to pay back your medical bills and health insurance at the end of a case. When your case is finally settled, your personal injury attorney can also help put more money in your pocket by negotiating down the medical liens, bills, and health insurance.
Filing a Lawsuit
While some personal injury cases can be settled without having to file a lawsuit, often it is necessary that a suit be filed. A personal injury lawyer will handle this process. Generally speaking, a lawsuit is started by delivering to the other party legal papers called a Summons and Complaint. These papers indicate that the other party is being sued as a result of the car crash, truck crash, or other incident, and start the process with the Court. The adverse party, called a defendant, will deliver these papers to their insurance carrier, if they have insurance, and the adverse party will have to file a written paper with the Court called an Answer. Even if a suit is filed, it is important you are aware that a majority of these types of personal injury cases are settled without going to trial. The key to obtaining a fair and reasonable settlement, however, is that you have a personal injury attorney on your side that is prepared and willing to go to trial if necessary.
Taking Depositions and Discovery
Once a lawsuit has been filed, the insurance company will retain an attorney to represent their insured who is at-fault for your injuries. They will also generally assign the case to a claims supervisor who has authority to settle the case for a fair amount. The claims supervisor asks an adjuster to gather facts, or asks the insurance company attorneys to use discovery procedures. Both sides have the right to use discovery procedures. Generally, discovery involves written questions to the other side that have to be answered under oath. These are called interrogatories. Your personal injury lawyer will help you answer these questions and object where appropriate. Your injury lawyer will also propound discovery to the other side. Depositions are also part of discovery. Depositions are questions asked before a court reporter who takes down the answers to the questions. When the other side uses discovery procedure that will involve you, we will make sure you are prepared.
Going to Trial
Most personal injury cases never go to trial. Instead they are usually settled at some point before the trial begins. Sometimes cases are settled a few days before the trial date or even on the day of trial. However, it is very important that you actually be prepared to go to trial so that you are able to receive a good settlement. Your personal injury lawyer should spend the weeks before the trial date preparing your case for trial. You will be involved in this process and your lawyer will explain what is expected of you at trial in advance of going to the courthouse. If the case is not settled, your personal injury attorney will guide you through the stressful trial process, pick a jury, make opening and closing statements, handle evidentiary objections, direct and cross examine witnesses, and all the other nuances that occur at a jury trial. Trials are stressful and high-risk events, even for lawyers who do them all the time. Trial is definitely not the time to represent yourself.
Do I need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
So, do I need a personal injury lawyer? If you were seriously injured in a car crash, motorcycle crash, or another unfortunate incident, do not hesitate to call an injury claims lawyer. They can support you through the claims process, help you reach a settlement, and if necessary, take your case to court. At the end of the day, getting answers to your questions empowers you to get the compensation you deserve. CO Trial Lawyers provides quality consultation to people throughout the greater Denver area so they can seek justice.
Work with Leading Injury Claim Lawyers at CO Trial Lawyers
Interested in working with a leading injury claims lawyer? CO Trial Lawyers is a Denver personal injury law firm that helps people navigate the legal complexities following car crashes, truck crashes, bicycle crashes, and other personal injury incidents. Contact us today to receive a free case consultation.