What is a Personal Injury Law Firm Consultation?
What is a Personal Injury law firm consultation?
A law firm that has decades of experience explains the process of pursuing litigation in a way potential clients can understand, at no charge. There’s a lot of legal speak happening behind the scenes, but the best lawyers take the time to explain everything to the client. This way, the client can choose to move forward with their case, or walk away.
What is a Personal Injury consultation?
Normally, Personal Injury law firms offer free case evaluations. These are also referred to as “consultations”. It’s a red flag to find another firm if the firm in question is charging to review a Personal Injury case at the first meeting. Once a lawyer accepts a case, they do so on contingency. Contingency means the lawyer only makes money after the firm wins the case. There is no up front cost to the client.
After sustaining injuries in an accident, the last thing victims should worry about is the cost of litigation. The process of pursuing a lawsuit post accident can be time consuming and confusing. Sitting down with a well established Personal Injury law firm for a consultation can help make the process easier.
What happens after a Personal Injury law firm accepts a case?
Many times, clients call or e-mail their lawyer several times a day with questions. They may be frantic because they receive a piece of time sensitive mail (such as a subpoena). Most clients are simply confused and scared. Occasionally, there is the rare client that should be grouped with the liars. However, this is infrequent, as most clients are good, hardworking people who simply need help.
It’s all about trust in the Personal Injury law firm
Lawyers who ignore clients honest questions do not build trust between themselves and the client. While credibility is always necessary in Personal Injury cases, so is trust. A lawyer with experience knows taking extra time to answer questions builds trust. When trust is there, so is credibility for the case. The two go hand in hand.
With trust and credibility, the legal process moves more quickly and smoothly. A client with little trust in their attorney rightfully feels the need to call and “check in” more often. This causes delays. This is why “paper pusher” lawyers require more time to try cases; they ignore simple client questions due to lacking the experience to answer.
So what do all these Personal Injury terms actually mean for the client?
From ADW to PPD, lawyers are lacking the time in the day to get a full sentence out. So, unless a client asks what something means, a lawyer may not go into detail. This is not because they don’t care. It’s because the client isn’t asking!
It’s important to ask a Personal Injury lawyer representing the case any questions pertaining to specifics prior to mediation or trial.
The following is a thorough list of common Personal Injury terminology and corresponding Law Resource publications. These terms may help potential clients understand what their consultation is all about.
Average Daily Wage: Also known as “ADW”. This is the near-exact calculation of an employee who sustains an injury on the job’s average [daily] wages and is frequently used to determine wage-lost benefits after they become injured; these wages may also be calculated when providing for surviving family members after a workplace-related wrongful death where dependents were left under financial duress.
Shaked Law Resource recommends: What is Wrongful Death in the Workplace]
Endangerment: Not the same as “negligence” or “recklessness”. Endangerment is the act of knowingly exposing others to danger.
Independent Medical Examination: Also known as “IME”. After injury, an insurance company is in the practice of having the victim visit a specific physician. This is in an attempt to obtain a more objective evaluation of the victim’s health. In the case of an accident involving two parties (plaintiff and defendant, respectively) the defense may choose to hire doctors to examine the plaintiff. This part of the process is “DME”, or Defense Medical Examination.
Shaked Law Resource recommends: What Are Defense Hired Doctors?
Letter of Protection: A letter of protection in Personal Injury Law is a letter to medical professionals from a reputable law firm. This letter guarantees payment for medical treatment from future compensation. The compensation comes from a trial verdict or settlement at mediation.
Living Will: This can also be known as an “Advance Directive”. A living will specifies the wishes of a person in writing. This document will specify everything from life sustaining measures to be taken (or not taken), organ donation preferences, next of kin to serve as power of attorney, and who may or may not obtain medical records should the person become unable to express these wishes themselves due to accident or illness.
Shaked Law Resource recommends: Physician Patient Privilege
Mediation and trial terminology
Mediation: Mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution method that’s favorable to Personal Injury lawyers. This is due to its ability to achieve a favorable settlement on behalf of the client more quickly. It can also save the law firm thousands of dollars in legal costs, which can benefit the client. Mediation allows the insurance company and the victim’s lawyer to find an acceptable amount of compensation for the client’s pain and suffering. When there is no sufficient settlement offer, a case progresses to trial.
Negligence: Failure to abide by a reasonable standard of care in a given situation. Acting in a manner that a person would not normally act in a situation, thus causing harm or grave injury to another party or parties. Wrongful death may also occur as a result of negligent decision making. Lack of foreseeability in a situation that a reasonable person would be aware causes harm.
Shaked Law Resource recommends: What is Negligence in Personal Injury Law?
Pain and Suffering: Quite simply, this term means physical, emotional or mental anguish due to an accident resulting in injury. A judge can make a determination of legitimate pain and suffering, then a victim receives sufficient compensation. This can either be through the court during trial, or during mediation as a settlement.
Recklessness: For behavior to be reckless, it goes beyond ordinary negligence. To be reckless, the opposing party’s conduct must demonstrate extreme indifference to the consequences of their actions. They also must be causing harm or wrongful death to another.
Shaked Law Resource recommends: What is Recklessness in Personal Injury Law?
Post-mediation or trial terminology
Recover: When lawyers “recover” damages for a client they’re explaining that they obtain money through court judgement. Sometimes to recover adequate compensation for pain and suffering, mediation is not enough, and the case must go to trial.
Settlement: A settlement is a sufficient amount of compensation in regard to the client’s injuries. This offer comes from a successful mediation.
Verdict: A verdict is compensation awarded by a judge. These damages are available only after a case goes to trial. Top Personal Injury lawyers prefer not to go to trial if mediation is a viable option. However, if compensation is not sufficient, they do not fear taking any case to trial.
It’s all about the Personal Injury law firm’s experience (and credibility!)
It’s important that victims properly research every aspect of what goes into a great Personal Injury law firm! During consultation, there are several questions potential clients must ask. How many cases does the firm see to verdict monthly? Are the verdicts high dollar? How many years have the founding partners of the firm practiced law? Board Certification is just one part of what makes up an entirely exceptional firm.