Let’s suppose something happens, as things do, and you get seriously hurt. You’ll be OK—after a projected few weeks and many medical bills. Notably, the something that happens involves someone. In fact, although things happen, you’re pretty sure this one wouldn’t have, if not for the actions (or inactions) of that someone.
For all of this scenario’s convolution, you see what it’s getting at: bodily injury caused—directly or indirectly, in whole or part—by another person or persons. Every personal injury case centers on a scenario like this, whether an auto accident (by far, the most common), a workplace accident, a slip-and-fall incident, a lack of security/safeguards or a host of other possibilities.
If you have suffered a significant injury that you believe was, at least to some extent, someone else’s fault, should you call a lawyer? The short answer is yes. Consulting a personal injury attorney does not mean you’re taking anyone to court. Regardless of what ultimately happens—or even just what happens next—it’s a wise first step.
A partnership of knowledge
The initial purpose of meeting with a personal injury attorney is to exchange information. Based on details from you (about the incident, your injuries and other factors) and your attorney’s expertise in the law and legal precedents, you can together determine:
- Whether you have a potential case
- The odds of an immediate settlement
- An appropriate dollar amount (or range) for a settlement
- The effect of a potential settlement on other areas of your life and finances, such as income taxes
- How far you are willing to take the case, and what you are willing to risk—monetarily and otherwise, such as family stress or negative publicity on either side
A single meeting with a personal injury attorney can be extremely enlightening for both of you, resulting in a solid plan for next steps.
The truth about trials (you’re unlikely to have one)
As you ponder whether to pursue legal action for personal injury, don’t let fears of courtroom drama get in the way. The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court; in fact, sometimes parties agree on a settlement before a lawsuit is even filed.
Why? Simply put, no one wants to go to court. It’s often expensive for all involved. It can be emotionally and physically draining, and it can take time—a lot of it. In fact, it has the potential to take over both parties’ lives, and/or to have a long-lasting impact on them. The goal is almost always settlement, and an experienced personal injury attorney has the tools and strategies needed to make it happen—in a way that works for you.
Personal injury law is among those service areas that, on the one hand, even the attorneys themselves hope no one has to use. On the other hand, its availability is invaluable. Just as there’s often someone behind those things that “happen,” it’s good to know there’s another someone who can help make it right.