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What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

What is Personal Injury?

Personal injury means injury to a person as opposed to injury to property.  It is a term that covers many kinds of injury from a ligament strain to a fatality.  It can be caused by a car or truck accident, falling down, a medical mistake or any other kind of incident in which you are injured.  Not every injury requires a lawyer, though.  Typically, a person who has been injured seeks out the services of a lawyer when he or she has been injured due to someone else’s wrongdoing.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

When you hire a lawyer to assist with your personal injury claim, they take on the role of gathering information, presenting the information in an organized manner with supporting documents and case law to the responsible party and negotiating a resolution to your claim.  In cases where the offer is insufficient to fairly compensate you for your medical bills, pain and suffering and other damages, the lawyer may file a lawsuit on your behalf.  Then the lawyer must exchange information with the other side, advocate on your behalf, continue to negotiate and, if necessary, take your case to trial.  A lawyer can help you express yourself clearly, streamline the process and protect you from unfair questions or impositions by the other side.  Lawyers with experience in personal injury are also generally familiar with the results of other similar cases within the community, what juries are willing to award for similar damages and can help you evaluate whether the offer presented is reasonable under the circumstances.

Do You Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Most people injured due to the negligence of another would benefit from the advice and experience of a lawyer to help them through the process.  Arizona does not recognize a claim for third party bad faith of insurance carriers – which is a fancy way of saying that the insurance company has very few responsibilities to claimants.  While they must treat their own insureds fairly, they may perform activities during their investigation that will adversely affect your claim.  Because insurance is a business, one that makes lots of money.  How they do that is by brining in insurance premiums and paying out as little in claims as possible.  One expert with whom this firm has worked has called the process the law of big numbers.  Out of 1000 claims, if an insurance carrier makes a low offer on all of them a certain high percentage will settle right away.  Sometimes they outright deny a claim, knowing that many will go away without any recovery.  Of those that continue on, possibly 100, the insurance carrier has nothing but time and resources to fight a claim – two things that the average injured person does not have.  Having a lawyer in your corner doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome, but it does mean that you have someone to do the work for you.  Someone to listen to all the reasons the adjuster thinks a claim is not worth much, and carry on.  Someone to present the information and hear the arguments in response, and carry on.  Someone to fight for the recovery you are entitled to and carry on with your claim so you can keep doing the things that are important in your life:  working, spending time with family, getting medical treatment and just recovering.

How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Get Paid?

That depends on the case and the firm, but typically lawyers take on a personal injury claim on a contingency basis.  Contingency means that the lawyer’s payment is contingent on (depends upon) your recovery.  The contingency is usually a percentage of the total recovery and separate from the costs spent to obtain that recovery.  The lawyer receives a settlement check or check in satisfaction of any judgment and retrieves his or her fee at the same time you receive your portion of the recovery.