Personal Injury Lawyer Baldwin County, Alabama
When someone suffers a severe physical injury or is the victim of an accident that causes significant mental duress, their life is changed forever. When the injured party decides to seek compensation for their losses in order make their lives whole again, it is best to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer.
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What is a Personal Injury Attorney?
A personal injury attorney is a civil litigator who offers legal representation to those who claim physical or mental injury due to the actions of another person or entity, whether intentional or a result of carelessness. Some personal injury attorneys will focus on specific kinds of personal injuries, such as medical malpractice or consumer fraud.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Handle?
Nearly all cases personal injury lawyers take fall into the category of tort law. Tort is the body of the law that allows an injured person to obtain compensation from the person or entity that caused the injury. This is a broad area of law that encompasses a variety of personal injury allegations. The purpose of tort law is to compensate the injured person for their losses and discourage the defendant or anyone else from repeating the behavior.
In personal injury cases, there are various types of damages depending on the situation, including the victim’s circumstances and local laws. Compensation can cover medical bills, lost wages, damaged or lost property, physical or mental suffering, wrongful death, and much more.
Following are three common personal injuries a victim can be compensated for:
- Accidents. The rules of personal injury cases apply in circumstances where one person’s negligence or carelessness causes harm to another person. Examples of accidents under tort law include workplace accidents, car accidents and medical malpractice.
- Intentional Acts. Intentional acts involve one person’s intent to harm another person, whether physical or mental. Examples of intentional acts include assault, fraud, defamation and theft.
- Defective Products. Personal injury law applies to defective products when a person’s injury is the result of a product that has been manufactured or marketed poorly and/or dangerously. There have been several prominent product liability (defective product) cases, including the McDonald’s hot coffee claim in 1994, when a 79-year-old woman sustained extensive burns when a cup of McDonald’s coffee spilled in her lap.
When Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You often need a personal injury lawyer when claims are involved. The most critical times when you should consult with a personal injury attorney are:
- Long-Term or Permanent Injury. Someone who has suffered long-term or permanent injuries as a result of an accident should hire an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can calculate the cost of the injuries, including how those injuries will affect someone’s ability to generate income for themselves going forward.
- Severe Injury. A severe injury that requires a stay in a hospital or even surgery often results in expensive medical bills. The insurance policy of the at-fault party may have limits on what they will cover. If the medical costs exceed those limits, the injured party may be denied compensation for their medical expenses. At this point, the injured party should hire a personal injury lawyer so that they are sure to receive the full amount of compensation owed.
- An Impact on Daily Life. In accidents, assaults or other types of injuries, the victim may miss work or lose the ability to perform daily living tasks. A personal injury lawyer advocates on behalf of the injured to receive adequate compensation for their injuries and loss of independence.
- Multiple Parties Involved. Accidents that involve multiple insurance companies quickly become complicated. If several people have been injured in an accident, the settlement the at-fault party is required to pay may be split among all the victims. There is also a chance the person making a claim may bear some responsibility, which will affect the amount of compensation they receive. In this situation, personal injury lawyers will navigate the complicated process of dealing with the insurance companies and advocate for their clients so that they receive as much compensation as possible for their suffering.
- Bad Faith Tactics. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to offer an unfair settlement or refuse to provide any compensation. When the at-fault party’s insurance company refuses to negotiate, injury lawyers will advocate on behalf of the person making a claim, giving them their best chance to receive the settlement they deserve.
Is Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Worth it?
The complexity of personal injury cases can quickly become overwhelming for an injured party. Navigating the turbulent legal system while recovering from losses suffered in an accident is no small task. It is always worth hiring a personal injury lawyer in these cases. Not doing so puts the victim at a higher risk of losing their case, especially if the other party has legal representation. Contact the experienced legal team at Hadley Law Firm to help you decide if hiring a personal injury attorney is the best option.
How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Make Money?
There are two primary ways personal injury lawyers make money. They either win a personal injury case in court or settle the case outside of court. This type of arrangement is known as a contingency fee agreement. A contingency fee agreement means that a lawyer’s fee is contingent on their winning the case. If the case is not successful, then the client does not owe their lawyer any fee.
Contingency fees are subject to local laws and regulations. Typically, a lawyer charges a percentage of the total amount of the settlement. The country-wide average for most personal injury claims is about 33%. However, in Alabama, the Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting Act caps the amount a personal injury lawyer can take at 22% of the first $10 million.
How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s not hard to find a personal injury lawyer. Hiring a reputable and experienced personal injury lawyer is critical to the success of a victim’s claim. Following are tips on how to search for and vet a personal injury lawyer:
- Get Referrals. One of the best ways to find a reputable and trustworthy personal injury attorney is through a referral from friends or family. There is an abundance of personal injury lawyer advertisements. Using the recommendations of close relatives or friends will give the victim a shortlist of trustworthy lawyers with a proven success record.
- Research Online. Researching an attorney online can quickly show whether that attorney is licensed and in good standing with the state. Internet reviews through Google or similar sites will allow the victime to see how the attorney’s past clients have viewed an attorney’s services.
- Check Their Trial History. Not all cases end up going to trial, but it is crucial to choose a personal injury lawyer who is willing to take a case to trial if the need arises. Checking an attorney’s trial history shows how many and what kinds of cases they have taken to trial in the past.
- Check Their Settlement History. Some personal injury cases involve settlements in the millions of dollars. In these cases, it’s best to work with an attorney who has a history of delivering large settlements. Researching the settlement history of a personal injury attorney allows you to see how many winning verdicts they have received and the size of their settlements.
- Consider Associations and Memberships. Reputable personal injury lawyers will often belong to multiple associations across many states. When searching for an attorney, check what states’ bar associations they are members of as well as any other memberships they have. An essential association for personal injury lawyers in Alabama to be a member of is the Alabama Association for Justice, formerly the Alabama Trial Lawyer’s Association. The Alabama Association for Justice works to ensure that any person injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms.
Be Sure to Discuss Attorney Fees Up Front
Discussing a personal injury lawyer’s fees upfront allows you to know the details of a lawyer’s contingency agreement fees. Transparency in legal representation is crucial to the client’s success. While personal injury lawyers receive a percentage of the settlement, it’s essential to know the fine print of their policy regarding the collection of fees if they do not win the case.
Reasons Personal Injury Lawyers Refuse a Case
Occasionally, a personal injury attorney will refuse to take on a case. For those who are considering hiring a personal injury lawyer, it is important to know the reasons a lawyer may refuse to take on a case.
Here are three of the most common reasons a personal injury lawyer will pass on a case.
- The Injuries are Minor. The most common reason a lawyer passes on a case is that the injuries are minor. The severity of the injuries determines the compensation for any personal injury case, so if the settlement is small or if it is difficult to prove that payment is necessary, an attorney may not take on that case.
- Too Difficult to Prove Fault. A personal injury attorney is not likely to take on a case if the case has no clear defendant or if it would be too difficult to prove the defendant is at fault. For example, if someone injures themselves inside of a store by falling when their shoe comes off, it is unlikely an attorney can prove it is the store’s fault. In this case, an attorney will not likely spend the time or money trying to get a settlement.
- Statute of Limitations. Every state has laws that require civil claims to be brought up within a certain number of years. In Alabama, the time limit is two years from the date of the incident. If a suit is not filed before the two-year deadline, then the person attempting to file a claim will be barred from doing so. There is no point for a lawyer to try to win a case like this.
Contact Hadley Law Firm for Quality Legal Representation in Personal Injury Cases
Someone who has suffered injuries in an accident, or who has been the victim of defamation or assault will have significant losses for which they will need compensation going forward. They can use the legal system in Alabama to receive a settlement from the at-fault party that will return some normalcy to their lives. Personal injury cases require a comprehensive understanding of the legal process. Residents in Baldwin County, Alabama, and the surrounding area can look to the Hadley Law Firm for quality legal representation in their personal injury case.
1. National Association of Legal Fee Analysis
2. Alabama Association for Justice