Were you injured in an accident as a result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or careless behavior? Did you sustain an injury from someone who intentionally hurt you?
If another individual’s actions resulted in physical or emotional pain to you, it’s important that you speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Your attorney can tell you whether you have a valid claim and how to seek compensation for the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering that you’ve experienced as a result of your injuries.
Still wondering whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim? At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we offer free consultations to all injury victims.
Call us today at (410) 288-2900, or contact us online, to assess the validity of your claim with an experienced attorney. You will not be required to pay any attorney’s fees unless we successfully recover compensation for you, so you don’t need to worry about being able to pay up front.
Two key questions determine whether you need a personal injury attorney.
First, were you injured? This includes physical, emotional, economic, and non-economic injuries that you may have experienced as a result of an accident or injury.
Second, did someone else cause your injury? If the answer to both of these questions is YES, then you should reach out to one of our experienced attorneys today.
A personal injury attorney represents individuals who have been injured due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another person or business entity. This area of the law focuses on the expense, pain and suffering, and hassle that a victim suffers as a result of someone else’s actions, rather than on property damage.
Compensation for personal injury claims may include expenses associated with bodily injuries, emotional injuries, and occupational losses. After many types of accidents, especially auto accidents, injured individuals may seek compensation for both personal injuries and property damage.
Personal injury attorneys typically accept cases on a contingent fee basis, meaning that attorneys keep a percentage of any final compensation amount won as attorney’s fees.
Under this payment scenario, clients do not have to pay out of pocket or up front for legal services. The potential settlement may also pay for costs and expenses associated with the claim, including postage, payment for medical records or billing information, and expert witness fees.
At some point in their lives, many people will require the services of a personal injury attorney. Car crashes, medical malpractice incidents, slip and fall accidents, and industrial accidents can all leave victims struggling to secure the compensation they need to cover the full cost of their injuries.
Until you need a personal injury attorney, however, you may have no idea what they actually do. Below we answer some of the most common questions that people have for these attorneys.
What is a personal injury lawyer? A personal injury lawyer represents clients who have been injured in an accident. Your lawyer will negotiate with the liable parties and their insurance companies to seek a settlement, and if settlement is not possible, will take your case to trial and represent you in court.
How do you find a personal injury lawyer? Personal injury lawyers are often the ones that you see advertisements for on billboards, the sides of buses, or television, but you don’t want to call the first attorney for which you see an ad.
Instead, you might choose to ask friends and family for a recommendation, to ask an attorney you’ve worked with in the past for a referral, or to contact the Maryland State Bar Association for a list of licensed lawyers. Looking online for referral sites like FindLaw, Avvo, Nolo, Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, Justia, and HG.org can also be an excellent source for reviews and referrals.
You may also choose to turn to social media or to contact some of the attorneys represented in those television, billboard, and radio ads. As you choose your preferred attorney, make sure that you ask the right questions when interviewing potential candidates, including:
When should you hire a personal injury lawyer? You’ve just been injured—now what? At what point in the process should you hire an attorney to represent you?
Ideally, you want to contact an attorney immediately following your injury, but you can retain an attorney at any point during your legal proceedings, particularly if you feel that you’re in over your head or that the insurance company isn’t offering fair settlements.
Under Maryland law, you have three years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. The sooner you start this process, however, the more likely you will secure compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
Why do people hire personal injury lawyers? Victims in personal injury claims retain attorneys for a variety of reasons.
Some victims want to ensure that those responsible for their injuries are held accountable; whereas others want someone else to handle all of the important details associated with their claim while they focus on their recovery. In some cases, victims may decide to hire a personal injury attorney to ensure that they receive maximum compensation; simply retaining an attorney often results in an immediate increase to any settlement offer.
How long do you have to file a personal injury claim? How long you have to file a personal injury claim depends on the circumstance surrounding your injury.
In most cases, you’ll have between one and three years from the date of your accident to file, depending on how your injuries occurred and what led to them.
Failure to file your claim within this window can lead to an automatic denial of your claim. Regardless of how long you have to file, the sooner you start the claims process, the easier it will be to gather evidence and interview witnesses.
Many individuals prefer to handle minor personal injury claims on their own, without retaining an attorney. Claims that involve non-serious injuries, like soft tissue injuries or minor lacerations, are often handled by the victim.
In cases of more serious injuries, however, victims should tread carefully; many insurance companies offer unrepresented victims with serious injuries far less compensation than the full cost of their injuries.
While victims have the right to represent themselves during settlement negotiations and in court, there are many benefits to retaining an attorney. For example, your personal injury attorney may:
If you plan to handle a personal injury claim on your own, make sure that you collect as much information as possible at the accident scene, including photographic evidence and witness statements.
If necessary, you should seek immediate medical attention, keep copies of your medical documents and bills, and obtain a copy of any police report.
Next, using the evidence you have gathered thus far, you should estimate the full cost of your injuries, including medical expenses, non-economic damages, property repair costs, lost future wages, and lost earning capacity due to a permanent injury.
In many cases, victims who choose to handle a personal injury claim on their own end up accepting low settlement offers.
Not only does an experienced personal injury attorney understand how to navigate the legal system, but also his or her presence will put insurance companies on notice that you are serious about seeking compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
Working with an attorney will also ensure that your claim proceeds in a timely manner and that you do not miss any important details or deadlines.
Under Maryland law, a victim in a personal injury case must establish the following five elements in order to be eligible for compensation:
In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured victim is the plaintiff and the negligent party is the defendant. If more than one party’s negligent actions caused the accident, then the case may contain multiple co-defendants. Once a case is filed, it must follow the established legal process for personal injury cases, discussed below:
Step one. First, lawyers for each side gather facts about the incident, in a process known as discovery. During discovery, your attorney will file written interrogatories—or questions—that the defendant must answer, conduct on the record interviews, and gather photographs, medical records, and other important information relating to the accident.
Step two. Next, you will likely receive a settlement offer. The first settlement offer is the initial attempt by the insurance companies involved to settle the case outside of court for a set amount of compensation. Your lawyer can help you negotiate the amount of this settlement.
Step three. Finally, your case may go to trial. If you don’t accept the settlement offer provided by the insurance company, or if the defendant is attempting to completely deny responsibility for your injuries, you will need to take your case to trial. At trial, your attorney will present evidence and make an argument that you are entitled to compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Ultimately, a judge or jury will enter a verdict; oftentimes, they use their own calculation to determine the damages amount.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our attorneys have extensive experience settling and litigating personal injury cases throughout Maryland.
We’ve represented victims involved in a wide variety of accidents, and we know when it’s time to forgo settlement discussions and file a lawsuit. Some of the most common types of accidents involved in our past cases include:
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we have extensive experience handling personal injury claims and can assist you through every step of the legal process.
We also have the resources to take your case to trial if the insurance company fails to present a fair settlement offer; we even cover the up-front costs of litigation, so that our clients can focus on recovering from their injuries rather than paying legal fees.
When you retain us to represent you, our first goal is to build a strong argument for a substantial settlement. However, if the insurance company fails to present a settlement offer that compensates you for the full cost of your injuries, we aren’t afraid to take your case to trial and fight for maximum compensation.
If you have suffered an injury and are considering filing a personal injury claim, or if you have already filed one and are struggling to negotiate with the insurance companies, you should contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 288-2900, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation.