interior view of a courtroomPeople hire attorneys for a multitude of reasons. Many hire attorneys because they simply are not aware of their options and look to advocates of the law in search of justice and fairness in winning their case. Others hire attorneys because they look to lawyers as having all of the answers when they understand very little about the legal process. Whatever the reason, attorneys, specifically Plaintiffs’ attorneys, are here to make the process easier and every step a little smoother.

Questions

When hiring attorneys, clients often have two major questions: how much money will I receive and do we have to go trial? The answer to the first question is largely dependent on the severity of the client’s injuries, the type of treatment they received, and how long they received said treatment. Clients are not often fond of the “it depends” response, but that is often the answer to the second question as well. Many times cases do not require a trial, especially when working in personal injury. Most cases with soft tissue[1] injuries will settle within about three to six months without the hassle of going to trial.

How will I know if my case will go to trial?

There are some cases, however, that will require going to trial and are taken on with that understanding, from the beginning, that a lawsuit will be filed. If the client received a great deal of treatment for a serious injury[2] and the offers extended from the insurance company are simply not enough, then a suit will have to be filed. Some cases will immediately send up a red flag for trial if the injury is considered to be serious, such as broken bones or an injury that requires surgery, and the insurance company is not offering proper compensation.

Are there alternatives to a trial?

Mediation and arbitration allow the client ample opportunity to settle outside of court and without the burden or stress of attending a trial. The benefit to mediating a personal injury claim is largely to avoid a conservative jury and lower verdict than a settlement would potentially provide. Mediation provides neutral, non-adversarial grounds for negotiating a claim and serves to maximize the settlement in most cases.[3]

Do I have a choice?

Ultimately, it is the client who has a choice over his or her case. The client has exclusive control over the claim that the attorney was hired to guide them through.[4] An attorney may be retained for many reasons, but the resolution and direction of the case must be steered by the client with guidance from the attorney. Therefore, to answer question number two: no, if you hire an attorney, your case will not require a trial. There are many options and alternatives to going to trial, but, definitively, it is up to you as the client to decide whether or not your case will go to trial. If going to trial seems scary, there are options like settlement and mediation with the guidance of your attorney.

[1] David Goguen, Mediation of Personal Injury Claims, NOLO.com (April 25, 2017), http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/mediation-personal-injury-claims.html.

[2] Russell L. Wald, Legal Malpractice – Attorney’s Unreasonable Settlement or Failure to Settle Client’s Claim, 26 Am. Jur. 2D §703 (1981).

[3] “A soft tissue injury is one involving injury to the ligaments, tendons and fibers of the body that connect the skeletal bones. Ligaments are the bands of tissues that hold bones together, and tendons are cords of tissues attaching muscle to bones. Soft tissue injuries, such as lower back pain from an auto accident, are difficult to prove because there is no absolute way to document the presence of pain or suffering in some soft tissue cases. Proof of a soft tissue injury is typically established through medical records documenting results of medical examinations and the injured’s complaints of pain and expert testimony.” US Legal Definitions, (April 25, 2017), https://definitions.uslegal.com/s/soft-tissue-injury/.

[4] “Serious injury is defined as “a personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.” Hyacinthe v. United States, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108192 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 19, 2009); See also, US Legal Definitions, (April 25, 2017), https://definitions.uslegal.com/s/serious-injury/.

September 14, 2017 | Categories: Legal Tips | Tags: , , , , , , ,