Most of us — even if we’re staunchly opposed to the idea — will need to engage a lawyer’s services at some point in our lives. Whether it’s family law, worker’s compensation, a divorce lawyer, a personal injury lawyer, or an estate lawyer, we need their expertise in the legal aspects of our lives. Other than a divorce lawyer or someone in family law, the type of lawyer you might be the most likely to engage is that of a personal injury or worker’s compensation lawyer. But in any case, if you’re hunting for a lawyer, there are definitely things you should be aware of. We’ll cover some of the things you should know, including why having a lawyer on your side is useful, and what to look for in a lawyer.
When Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer or Worker’s Comp Lawyer?
Personal injury can sometimes fall under the jurisdiction of worker’s compensation, but essentially any time you or a loved one have been hurt due to negligence from an individual, business, or district, you should consider retaining a personal injury lawyer. Car accidents are one big cause of personal injury claims — which makes sense, given that there were over six million fatal, injury, or property damage accidents in 2015. Another big one is medical malpractice, which accounts for 15% of all cases in the United States.
In terms of worker’s compensation, you need a lawyer if you were specifically injured at work. (If you were injured elsewhere, it likely falls under a different category.) If you suffer from chronic pain, out of work because of the injury, your benefits have lapsed, or you are deluged with worker’s comp forms, it’s time to get a lawyer involved.
Why Is Having a Lawyer Useful?
A lawyer is your own personal expert when it comes to the legal system. They’ll have experience working these types of cases, know when to settle and when to push, and know the “loopholes” in the law, to get you the maximum of what you deserve. The legal system can often be very confusing, and if you’re going up against a corporation or other entity, it’s likely they’re well versed in clearing themselves of wrongdoing. They might present a variety of hoops that you have to jump through, which a lawyer can help you navigate with much more ease than you might on your own.
Similarly, a lawyer can help with all the forms and paperwork, making sure that everything is filled out correctly, all the information required is collected, and that everything is turned in on time to the right people.
Ideally, they’ll get you better terms than you could have gotten on your own, and if it goes past settlement, they’ll argue your case in court, challenging evidence, and finding the experts and witnesses you need to prove your case.
And, in the long run, hiring a lawyer might actually save you money! If you lose your case, you might wind up being uncompensated, having to pay civil fines, or you might face jail time, depending on why you’re retaining the lawyer.
What Should I Look For In a Lawyer?
Of course, you want your lawyer to have a high success rate — it means they’re more likely to win your case. But you also want to look at their reputation and experience as well. See if you can find testimonials or talk to previous clients. You need someone who you trust and who you feel comfortable with.
Your lawyer should communicate well and be available to you (within reason) when you need him or her. This perhaps sounds like a “duh!” item, but it’s more important than perhaps you think. Their payment structure should also be clear from the get-go, and reasonable for the services rendered.
Whether you need a family law lawyer or a worker’s comp lawyer, you want someone trustworthy, reputable, and driven. Family law, divorce law, personal injury law, and all types of law are complicated processes, but with a lawyer by your side, it can become much clearer.