If you have been injured in an accident you may be considering a personal injury claim for damages to help pay for the costs related to medical care, lost wages, or repairs to material possessions. There are thousands of personal injury attorneys out there – how do you choose the one who is best suited to handle your claim? We’ve compiled a list of 6 things to keep in mind when choosing a personal injury attorney to represent you.
It may seem like an odd thing to consider when choosing a personal injury attorney to represent you in your quest for compensation. However, it is important to choose an attorney with whom you can be 100% open and honest. Failure to communicate openly with your attorney can lead to disaster. Most of the time, we tend to be open with people we are comfortable with.
If you are fearful of your attorney or don’t trust them, what are the chances of establishing transparency and good communication? The more comfortable you are with your personal injury attorney, the more successful your case will be.
A personal injury attorney’s record and experience are great indicators of whether they’ll be well-suited to handle your claim. While experience should by no means be the only factor you consider, it is helpful to gauge whether or not they are equipped to handle your claim. Attorneys with experience understand what to look for, which details can make or break a case, and how to best apply the facts of your specific case to general legal concepts.
New attorneys with little to no experience may have a general idea of how to approach a case, but may not have had the opportunity to really fine-tune their approach. Many times, however, new attorneys will practice under the supervision of older, more experienced attorneys, so it is important to take this into consideration.
Specialization Within Personal Injury
“Personal injury attorney” is a broad title that really captures a great number of areas of specialization. While many personal injury attorneys will be open to handling just about any “personal injury” case, others have specific areas of focus. For example, some attorneys may specialize in slip and fall/premises liability/negligence cases, others focus on medical malpractice claims, while others specialize in claims stemming from car/motorcycle/truck accidents.
While each of these attorneys may advertise him or herself as a personal injury attorney, his or her area of specialization is more specific. Finding an attorney whose specialty aligns with your accident can help to maximize recovery. Attorneys will be familiar with nuances of the specific area of law in which they generally focus.
They’ll Stake Their Reputation on It
Personal injury attorneys develop reputations with clients, adversaries, courts, experts, and just about everyone else they encounter on a daily basis. An attorney with a better reputation will be more likely to be successful in negotiating a better settlement for an injured client. To find the right personal injury attorney for your case, try getting recommendations from friends or family.
Technology and the internet have really expanded our ability to research and learn about personal injury attorneys in our local area(s). Try checking websites such as Avvo, Martindale, Super Lawyers, and Nolo to see what others have to say about your potential personal injury attorney.
Busy law offices can indicate a successful legal practice. However, if you have a seemingly minor personal injury claim that won’t generate much of a fee for the attorney you choose, your claim may not receive the attention it deserves if an attorney is overextended. Just because an attorney has a heavy client load does not necessarily mean that they will neglect your case. In many law offices, attorneys are able to assign legal tasks to paralegals or other attorneys in the office so that the caseload can be handled efficiently and effectively.
When deciding if an attorney is right for you, it is simply important to ask questions that will determine whether they have the requisite time to properly tend to your case. Fortunately, research about an attorney’s experience, reputation, and personality may help to shed some light on this ability.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they do not charge an up-front fee, but collect a percentage of your settlement or award at the end of your case. This allows injured clients to obtain necessary legal counsel without worrying about paying for unanticipated medical expenses, fixing a car or motorcycle, or dealing with lost wages due to missing work in addition to expensive legal fees. It is important, though, to ask personal injury attorneys for the exact percentage that they will take and whether this percentage covers court costs and fees.
Alternatively, some attorneys may request a small amount of money up-front to pay for filing fees, court costs, expert witnesses, and other expenses associated with a personal injury claim.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of PI claims are filed in the USA alone. These are typically from employees hoping to be compensated with money due to an injury they experienced on the job. But a personal injury claim could come from anyone at any time. You might slip on ice in the winter. If you’re on property owned by a private owner or public authority, you could sue. It was their responsibility to grit the area and ensure that it was not a safety hazard. However, there’s no guarantee if you do this, that you’ll win the claim. In fact, there are a few different factors that could affect your chances of winning.
If you are injured at work, one of the first things that will happen is your employer will try to get you to admit fault. They won’t do this in a way that is apparent. It will be quite subtle. Usually, they will ask what you were doing; then they will twist it to make you seem accountable. They can use any statement you make in their defense. That’s why if you do plan on making on PI claim, it’s best to keep your mouth shut. At least, until you speak to a lawyer.
It’s not just in the office that you need to stay silent either. If you are filing a PI claim, it’s best to be careful about what you say on social media. A claimant for PI usually has to show two things. They need to show that their daily life has been negatively impacted by the injury. They might also have to show a certain level of emotional distress. However, if the claimant is posting happy posts on social media, this can be put forward as evidence they have not been negatively impacted. As well as this, it’s possible that social media posts about daily activity could be used to show the injury has not been detrimental. At the very least that could alter how much money you receive.
The Right Lawyer
Of course, choosing your lawyer is a crucial part of winning a PI claim. Depending on the lawyer you might boost or limit the chances of you winning. But don’t forget a personal injury attorney can only win with all the facts. It’s up to you to provide them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you shouldn’t be honest with your lawyer. You should. They don’t have to disclose everything that you tell them during the proceeding.
Have you made a PI claim before? It’s unlikely that you’ll be compensated for a second claim. Courts don’t tend to buy that people get struck by lightning twice. In fact, if you’ve been affected by a PI twice, they’re more inclined to believe it’s your fault. That’s not to say a second claim is impossible to win. It’s just not very likely. The character is important when filing a PI claim. If there’s any evidence you can not be trusted, you won’t win.
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J.Bryan Mann wanted to know what was behind an increase of injuries among University of Missouri football players. At the time, he was an assistant director of strength and conditioning at the university, and is now an assistant professor of physical therapy. He began studying the problem, running analyses to determine the root cause. But none of the models he tried seemed to explain the rash of injuries. “We ran everything we could possibly think of,” he told The Huffington Post, “We found nothing.”
Finally, Mann decided to see if there was a correlation between the increased injuries and the dates they occurred. The results stunned him. He noticed that football players were more likely to be injured during certain parts of the year. Training season saw a big spike in injuries, but this was more or less to be expected. What really caught Mann’s eye was the injury spike during exam weeks.
Photo Source: www.carolinahuddle.com
Looking to corroborate his research, Mann took his findings to Brick Johnson, a fellow professor at the school who specializes in health psychology. The two enlisted the help of other professors, and together they produced the paper called The effect of physical and academic stress on illness and injury in division 1 college football players.
The researchers found that players were three times as likely to suffer an injury during periods of high academic stress, such as midterm exams and finals.
“Stress is a syndrome, and all stress affects the body the same way, although not to the same intensity,” Mann writes. “So it doesn’t matter if the stress is coming from practice, from strength training, from conditioning, from academics, from relationships, from monetary [issues], from any of those means. It’s going to affect the body in the same way. And we’ve only got so much resistance that we can give before something starts to break.”
The effects of stress on illness have been studied for quite some time, but the relationship between the two is far from fully understood. Based on Mann’s and similar findings, many schools have begun trying to reduce the amount of academic stress their student-athletes face during the school year. The Pac-12 Conference, for example, advocates health and promotes wellness of their athletes. A report from the conference found that, although the majority of students were satisfied with conditions for student-athletes, many of them were working with schedules that prevented a full night’s sleep. “Sleep is the number one thing their athletic time commitments prevent them from doing, ultimately hindering their athletic and academic performance,” the Pac-12 report stated.
Mann hopes his study will inspire other universities to look into the issue. “We can’t account for when somebody’s significant other breaks up with them. We can’t account for financial problems that the athlete’s family has,” said Mann. “But you know what we can account for? Whenever there’s going to be a test.”
Mann recommends coaches relax training and practice schedules when they conflict with periods of high academic stress. “They cannot say, ‘Campus you are not having tests. That’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “But what they can say is, ‘Look, instead of two hours of practice maybe we go an hour and a half, an hour and forty five. Maybe we pick some drills that work more on the technical and tactical side rather than the physical side of sport preparation for the week. It’s just small changes like that.”
Mann believes that coaches should view student-athletes as equal parts student, and equal parts athlete. The numbers don’t lie, either—athletes perform better when they’re under less stress. Otherwise, college campuses face the very real possibility of going head-to-head with a personal injury attorney. Time will tell how these findings factor into decisions by college administrators.
In a push for progressive immigration laws, California Governor Jerry Brown is removing the word “alien” from the state’s labor code. Brown contends the term has come to be used negatively as a pejorative.
“Alien is now commonly considered a derogatory term for a foreign-born person and has very negative connotations,” said Senator Tony Mendoza, author of the bill banning use of the term. “The United States is a country of immigrants who not only form an integral part of our culture and society, but are also critical contributors to our economic success.”
The move is just one in a host of progressive immigration reforms the state is making under Governor Brown, who has also signed into law legislation that protects the rights of immigrant minors in civil lawsuits. The move has been applauded by the more liberal-leaning portions of the state, but has, predictably, come under fire from some conservatives.
Photo Source: e3visa.com
The banning of the word “alien” comes amidst widespread abandonment of the term “illegal alien” in the media. A 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center found that use “illegal alien” among media outlets declined to just 5%, down from 21% usage six years ago.
“The concern is that the use of the word ‘alien’ would dehumanize the people affected” and lead to “lack of protections under the law,” Johnson said.
Noncitizens, who have historically had a difficult time utilizing the country’s legal system, may be afforded easier access to a personal injury attorney, family lawyer, or other legal representative in civil court cases.
In addition, Brown signed into law a bill allowing high-school aged immigrants to serve as poll workers. “Not only are we expanding our access to bilingual poll workers,” said Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, “we are providing high-school-aged lawful permanent residents firsthand experience with American democracy, hopefully inspiring them to become naturalized voting citizens in the future.”
After years of being a moderate state under the Governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger, California is surging ahead as one of the country’s most progressive regions, especially on the issue of immigration. But immigration reform isn’t the embattled governor’s only concern. Environmental concerns in the state have risen over the last few years, and they reached an all-time high when California entered a state of severe drought.
Governor Brown is currently waging a political battle against the oil companies using California as a resource, saying they sell a “highly destructive” product and contribute to the kind of ecological decline that has put the state in the environmental spotlight. “The oil industry is in deep trouble,” Brown told reporters. “[Oil companies] have a product that is highly destructive, while highly valuable at the same time. And we’re trying to work out the right policies.” Brown proposed cutting the state’s gasoline consumption in half by 2030, but the plan isn’t without its critics.
Representatives of the oil industry say Brown’s plan would lead to gasoline rationing, and could lead the state further into debt. Supporters of the plan accuse the oil industry of “making things up”.
Whatever the truth of the matter is, Governor Brown says he won’t be intimidated. “I have no intention of backing down,” he said. “We’re going to intensify our efforts to do lower-carbon fuels and lower-carbon pollution, now and into the future.”
Governor Brown remains popular with California’s liberal population, and his progressive stances on immigration and the environment reflect a shift in the state’s politics—one that many predicted after the popular but right-leaning Governor Schwarzenegger left office and returned to the world of action movies and wonderfully over-the-top cinema.