Personal Injury Law – What to Expect from your Attorney
Many years ago when my son James was about 4 years old, he was taking swim lessons at a local city pool. James loved his young instructor, Daniel, and it warmed my heart to see how attentive Daniel was to the future swimmers in his group. One week, however, Daniel could not make the lesson so another instructor filled in. Susan, the substitute instructor, had the children gathered on the steps of the pool holding the railing while she took turns with each child for individualized instruction further out into the pool.
While I sat and chatted with the other moms I happened to notice that James had let go of the rail. I quickly got up out of my seat and stood over the edge of the pool in terror. I watched as my dear child looked up at me from under the water with his arms outstretched, trying to get his head above the water. He had not learned to use his legs to kick and was flailing his arms, pushing himself further and further down towards the bottom of the pool. I looked up and saw that Susan had her back to James and was working with another child and was about 40 feet away. The lifeguard closest to us was focused on a different area of the pool while I stood there, hoping that James would float to the top. As I watched it was clear that he was not coming up and I had no choice but to jump in fully clothed and rescue him. Thankfully, he was not under the water long enough to need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but he was quit upset and as you would expect, I was to.
The instructor was negligent that day at the pool similar to a driver on the road who fails to look before running a stop sign or who did not slow their vehicle in order to avoid crashing into the car in front of them.
Personal Injury Victims are Entitled to Recompense
Oftentimes when I have a new personal injury client in my office, one of the first things they say is, “I am not the suing type.” The reality is, most people are not “ the suing type.” They are in my office because they or their loved one have suffered an injury and has been a victim of someone else’s negligence. Their injury caused by the carelessness and disregard for the safety of others. My clients do not want to be in my office and I would rather they not be hurt as well. Clients are usually in my office because they or their family member(s) have suffered an injury and are being treated unfairly by the insurance company of the person who did not care about their safety. They are hurting, angry, stressed and unsure.
Unfortunately I cannot wave a magic wand and make their suffering go away. What I can do to help as an experienced personal injury attorney is force the negligent party and their insurance company to take responsibility for their actions and pay for my client’s loss. Losses may include medical expenses, pain, suffering, lost time from work and the disruption of their life in having to deal with the aftermath of another person’s poor choice. It can also mean life long medical treatment and disability.
When you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you for injuries suffered as a result of someone’s carelessness, more often than not these types of claims are resolved prior to a lawsuit even being filed. However, if the negligent person or their insurance company is not willing to take responsibility for their actions a lawsuit must be filed. In reality, there are few people who are the “suing type” but rather there are many situations that require a lawsuit because someone has made a bad choice and refuses to take responsibility for the harm they caused.
What to Expect When You Hire A Personal Injury Attorney
Personal Injury Case Assessment and Negotiation
If an insurance company is involved, a personal injury attorney typically negotiates directly with the claims adjuster. However, these negotiations do not begin until my client has reached what is called “maximum medical improvement”; when he or she reaches the point in recovery where they are the best they are going to be. At that point the attorney will order all the medical records, bills and other information pertaining to the injury. There will be several discussions with you where we seek to have a better understanding of the pain and suffering you have or will experience and the facts surrounding your injury.
Sometimes it is useful for the attorney to contact your treating physician directly in order to get a better understanding of the medical aspects of your injury. The attorney then submits all of the information to the insurance company with a demand for settlement. The insurance company will review everything submitted and the claims adjuster and the attorney will begin negotiating toward a resolution of the personal injury claim.
Settlement Offers and Acceptance
In addition to negotiating the claim, a personal injury attorney will also figure out how your bills will be paid out of any settlement funds. If the bills have already been paid, we determine whether the health insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid needs to be reimbursed. While the negotiations are taking place, you as the client, will be advised of any offers made by the insurance company to resolve the case. An attorney is ethically bound to advise you of these offers, but will also make suggestions as to what they believe the value of your claim may be, based upon knowledge and expertise. Inevitably, the decision to accept a settlement amount is made entirely by you.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company does not offer enough money to adequately compensate you for your injuries, or if they are denying that their insured did anything wrong, then at that point a personal injury lawsuit is filed. The processes and procedures in filing a lawsuit can be overwhelming. The client who is not the “suing type” is now faced with having to be a plaintiff in a lawsuit. A personal injury attorney has the skills and knowledge to fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve as a result of your injuries and losses. Your attorney will work for you as your advocate throughout the proceedings.
Thankfully, the incident at the pool did not result in me having to take any legal action since my son was not injured. Had I not been present and something worse occur, I would have had no choice but to take some type of legal action to ensure that the swim instructor or any other swim instructor, would think twice about turning their back on 3 and 4 year old children in their care.
Any decision to hire a personal injury attorney does not mean you are “the suing type.” It simply means that you care about yourself and the people you love enough to make sure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you are due.
Have You Been Injured Through Negligence ?
Attorney Eileen Mullen can meet with you personally to learn about your personal injury case and review the compensation you are entitled to.