May 16 2016

Choosing the right type of lawyer to handle your personal injury claim

Not all lawyers are the same

After a motor vehicle accident, many injured accident victims may be tempted to call any lawyer they happen to know, regardless of what kind of law that lawyer practices, to see if they can get advice regarding their injuries and their rights.  Most general lawyers are smart enough to know what they don’t know and, if they don’t practice personal injury law, they will refer their client to a lawyer who has expertise in the area of motor vehicle accident claims. However, some lawyers dabble in personal injury law and may decide to keep the claim for themselves.

Six reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer

  1. General practitioners (or general lawyers) typically handle house deals, wills, estates and corporate/commercial transactions.  They have areas that they know well, and they are good at those areas.  Personal injury lawyers have specific expertise dealing with car accident claims. They know the laws and the limitation periods that apply, and they can maximize your recovery. This means your case will be handled efficiently and effectively.
  2. Personal injury lawyers know what injuries need to be assessed by a specialist and they can set up the assessments for you. For example, if you need an orthopaedic surgeon to assess physical injuries, a personal injury lawyer will know where to send you.  A general lawyer does not normally have contacts with medical experts, and they are not usually willing to pay the up-front disbursements to have an expert provide an opinion.  Personal injury lawyers will find the right medical expert, and they will carry the costs of those experts until your claim is finalized.
  3. Sometimes there are questions about what caused an accident and the answers can affect liability and the compensation payable to an injured person. A personal injury lawyer will know immediately if an accident needs to be investigated by an engineer specializing in motor vehicle claims. Further, personal injury lawyers have access to a network of accident reconstruction professionals and engineers that they can hire to give an expert opinion about the cause of the accident.
  4. The staff at a personal injury law firm have specific training in the area of personal injury claims. Personal injury legal assistants and paralegals know how to document, and process accident benefit claims properly. While they cannot give legal advice, personal injury legal assistants can give helpful tips to clients who have been injured.  The staff at a general law firm will gladly talk to you but they probably don’t know the “ins and outs” of personal injury claims.
  5. Most general lawyers work on the basis of up front payment (a retainer), or periodic payment where you receive bills every month or two.  Personal injury lawyers will work for you on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if and when your claim is resolved and you get your money. This means that you do not pay any money to start or process your claim.
  6. If you hire a general lawyer and you lose your case, a general lawyer may still expect to be paid for his or her time and any disbursements (expenses) incurred to take your case forward. There are never any guarantees that your claim will be successful. Personal injury lawyers, including our lawyers at Cummings Andrews Mackay LLP, agree that if for some reason you are unable to obtain a settlement or judgment, no legal fees are owing.  To put it simply, we only get paid if you get paid.

For more information about our services, or to receive a free consultation about your injury claim, call us at 780-428-8222.  If we can’t help you, we can at least point you in the right direction.