Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

After you receive treatment for injuries you sustain from an accident, your next call should be to a personal injury lawyer. Without legal representation, you could miss out on financial compensation you are entitled to. This compensation is critical to paying for medical care and other support for yourself and your family. Not all personal injury practices are the same, and neither are their lawyers. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when choosing a personal injury lawyer:

Hiring a lawyer with little experience
Personal injury law is a specialized field, and you should be sure to select a lawyer that can represent you at the highest level. Your case will not go well if a well-seasoned lawyer is representing the other side, and a rookie is representing you. Experience and quality go hand in hand, so you will not get far with a lawyer that has less of a track record of success. You cannot gain experience as a lawyer - you must earn it, and an experienced personal injury lawyer will have proven their mettle over time.

Hiring a lawyer with hidden fees
The cost of an attorney should be upfront and easy to understand. Any firm or lawyer that tries to hide their fees does not have your best interests at heart. The last thing you need to be thinking about after suffering a severe injury is surprise expenses. Make sure the lawyer you retain is forthcoming about how their fees are structured.

Paying too little or too much
The cost of losing your case can be higher than the cost of the legal fees. Be prepared to pay for the best legal representation or risk losing it all. Successful personal injury lawyers do not earn most of their fee unless they win their cases. Your lawyer should always represent your best interests, but investing more money in them can give them extra motivation. It also proves that you have faith in their ability to win your case. Do not balk at a higher fee because it means your attorney has confidence in your case and is willing to put in that much more work to ensure you win.

Picking someone you do not like
You should not retain a lawyer that you do not feel comfortable with. This does not mean you need to want to be best friends with your lawyer, but you should feel confident in their abilities. Your case rests on you being comfortable enough to tell your lawyer everything, honestly and openly. If you do not feel confident telling them every detail, then they are not the right lawyer for you. Your lawyer should answer any questions you have and keep you informed on a regular basis. Lawsuits are complicated and frustrating, and even more so if your lawyer does not keep you informed.

Using a trial-shy lawyer
Most personal injury cases do not go to trial because it is often in the best interests of both parties to settle. That being said, the lawyer you choose should not be afraid of appearing before a courtroom. A lawyer who is confident about their abilities to win a trial will give you more negotiating power should your case go to trial.

Hiring the right lawyer is the difference between winning and losing your case. Do not get yourself unjustly buried in a mountain of debt - call Verhaeghe Law Office today.

Do’s and Don’ts of Personal Injury Law


Do's and Don'ts of Personal Injury Law

Do's and Don'ts of Personal Injury Law

If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer, then chances are that something bad has happened to you or a loved one and that you need legal representation as a result. While no one hopes to one day gain legal representation due to an injury or illness, it can happen to anyone, and you want to make sure that you make good decisions during this difficult time so that you have the right representation. The team at Verhaeghe Law Office has created a list of dos and don'ts for those searching for a personal injury lawyer.

Don't - Expect U.S. Style Settlements

Due to the pervasiveness of American media, including American style personal injury lawyer advertisements on television, Canadians can have a misguided sense of the outcome of their personal injury settlement. In Alberta, courts tend to be conservative for awarding compensation, even juries, and it needs to be noted that pain and suffering are capped at $330,000 while pain and suffering for strains, sprains, and whiplash-injuries (WAD 1 and WAD 2)are capped at $4,000 ($5,000 with inflation). You can still get a fair settlement for your injuries, but understand that this is not going to be a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Do - Keep Exchange of Information to a Minimum

It can be tempting to talk about your case to others, especially if you have outwardly visible injuries and people are curious about them. The best thing to do is to limit what you say as much as possible and only speak to insurance companies, your lawyer, and the police. In Canada, a person in a conversation with you, as well as you, can record the conversation, so if you are asked by an insurance provider or another lawyer to talk, they can be recording you, and this can be used as evidence in your case. Always ask to have your lawyer present when discussing your case and if people ask just say that it is a matter before the court and that you cannot discuss it.

Don't - Expect to Have Your Day in Court

Though you may want to have that day in court, chances are, as with most personal injury cases, your case will end in a settlement. For a vast majority of people, this is the best case scenario. Settlements are often quite fair and help speed up the process and get you the money that you need faster. If your lawyer negotiates a settlement for you, this is incredibly common, and they have worked hard to get you compensation similar to what you would get from a judge or jury. If they recommend that you accept it, it is because they do not think you could get a better deal at a trial.

Do - Feel Free to Speak to Multiple Lawyers

Being comfortable with your lawyer is incredibly important, and so if you shop around and meet with multiple lawyers, this is fine. Research their reputations, how long they have been in business, and their standing with their professional association. Finding a lawyer who is the right fit for you is crucial to your comfort for the remainder of the case.

Don't - Expect Quick Results

Personal injury cases tend to take quite a while the more severe your injuries are. This is because part of the compensation that you receive will be determined by whether or not the damage is life-long and what ramifications that has on your wellbeing and lifestyle. For soft tissue injuries and whiplash, your healing time is much shorter, and so your case can be determined in a shorter period of time than someone who has sustained much more severe injuries.

Do - Call Verhaeghe Law Office in Edmonton

If you have suffered an injury or illness due to the negligence of someone else, then you need to contact our law office. Please note you have a two year limitation to file your claim; however, it is better to start gathering the evidence and preparing your case far before the two year deadline. Our Edmonton law firm will help you navigate the world of personal injury and do our best to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact us today.

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal Injury Lawyer
If ever you're involved in a car accident or something happens and you're hurt, you'll want to have a personal injury lawyer on speed dial. Still hesitant about finding an attorney? We have 10 reasons why you should reconsider your stance on hiring a personal injury lawyer.

In 2017 alone, motor vehicle collisions caused 160,315 personal injuries.

The odds of a motor vehicle or workplace incident happening to you are low. If it does, though, it can be a difficult legal battle to receive the financial compensation you deserve.

Whether or not you have a top-rated personal injury lawyer on your side could make the difference between receiving financial compensation or not.

When Would I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You might need a personal injury lawyers when you get hurt by someone else, either directly or indirectly.

A direct injury is called an intentional harm or tort. If someone becomes angry and breaks their friend's leg by pushing them down a staircase, the other friend can sue for intentional harm.

Negligence is an indirect harm or tort. If a customer falls on a slippery floor, the restaurant didn't directly make the customer fall, but they were negligent because they did not put up a wet floor sign. Any injuries the customer suffers from are the restaurant's fault.

Most claims are not settled in court but instead through an informal settlement between the two parties before a case formally begins in court. No matter what the situation, though, having a personal injury lawyer will always lead to the best outcome.

Read on for the 10 reasons you need to hire a personal injury lawyer.

1. Personal Injury Lawyers Have Experience

While most people will only suffer from one or two accidents during their life, personal injury lawyers deal with cases like yours on a daily basis. They know the ins and outs of the court system and know what is best to do.

Lawyers must spend a total of seven years in undergraduate and post-graduate school, and most have years of experience before handling a personal injury case on their own.

Knowing that a lawyer must be well versed in order to take care of your claim should make it easy to trust them with your case.

2. Red Tape Can be Overwhelming

Unfortunately, just because someone has wronged you doesn't mean you are automatically entitled to financial compensation. You have to go through civil procedures to formalize your request and prove the other person's fault.

And you probably haven't had to deal with civil litigation before and may struggle with the seemingly endless paperwork, tiring court meetings, and strange vocabulary. Lawyers specialize in this and know how to thrive despite it.

Here are just some of the words, phrases, and abbreviations personal injury lawyers use daily:

  • ADR
  • Act of God
  • IRBs
  • Quid Pro Quo
  • Exhaustion of Benefits
  • Pecuniary Damages

Although you may know some of these terms, understanding all of them and using them yourself can be difficult while trying to recover from your injury. A personal injury lawyer is an expert red tape cutter, and moving your claim to the next step will be a breeze.

3. Lawyers Also Work As Investigators

While you may be able to argue your case well, a lawyer can take it to the next level with more hard evidence only they can find.

In TV shows and movies, lawyers are often shown working late nights and early mornings to study their client's case. They research topics, contact witnesses, and deduce the truth in hopes to help their client.

Believe it or not, lawyers do this in real life too.

As advanced researchers and logical thinkers, you can trust a personal injury lawyer to find the evidence and testimonies they need to prove your claim. Some lawyers even have their own investigative team to do this work with them.

4. Personal Injury Lawyers Let You Relax

You just had an accident. Whether it was a major car wreck or a broken bone at work, you are in pain, and letting your body heal should be your first priority.

Maybe it was some kind of emotional pain, and now it's hard to focus on anything at all.

If you don't take a moment to deal with this pain, your suffering will only prolong itself. The very last thing you need to be doing is worrying about your case.

A situation like this why it is so important to let a personal injury lawyer take care of you and your claim.

Because the case will go quicker and smoother, you'll have time to focus on yourself and breathe. Before long, you'll return to your hobbies, family, and work, because of your personal injury lawyer.

5. You'll Recieve Higher Compensation

During a settlement, a plaintiff has a better chance to receive more money if they have a lawyer than if they do not. There are a few reasons this is the case.

  • Insurance companies, defendants, judges, and juries take a case more seriously if a lawyer is involved in it. They know a lawyer will be able to hold them accountable and do what is necessary for their client.
  • Lawyers have quality experience in personal injury cases. As said before, their experience helps makes the claim process easier, but it also means they know what to do to make sure you get the correct financial compensation.
  • Personal injury lawyers are also master negotiators. It's not enough to win a case; a lawyer can make sure you win and receive the right amount of money.

While your claim is not only about receiving financial compensation, it is a large part of it, and you'll want to make sure you have enough to cover your legal fees, lost income, hospital bills, and anything else that may come up.

6. Personal Injury Lawyers Speed Cases Up

You've probably heard horror stories of court cases dragging on for years and costing plaintiffs thousands of dollars.

This is not far-fetched.

In fact, the longest court case in Canadian history lasted from 1992-2015, and while yours probably won't last quite that long with or without a lawyer, you could be waiting months or years longer on your settlement without the expertise of a personal injury lawyer.

Settling a claim is a time-consuming process as well. Letting an injury haunt you for a long time will make free time hard to come by and work more exhausting.

A personal injury lawyer will be able to take care of your case much more quickly, and because it's part of their job, you'll be able to get back to yours.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Personal injury lawyers can also make sure you don't have to deal with a frustrating trial. Instead, they may be able to help the two parties use an ADR, a settlement made outside of court.

There are a few different types of ADRs.

  • Arbitration can be thought of as a mini-trial. The two parties will choose a neutral third party to serve as the judge of their trial. They will present their evidence, and the third party makes a decision they agreed to accept beforehand.
  • Mediation is similar to attribution, but the parties can accept or reject the compromise the mediator, the neutral third party, makes. If either party rejects it, the two parties may use another ADR or move to trial.
  • Negotiation is a situation in which two parties attempt to compromise without a third party. Usually, this step will always be taken whether formally or not.
  • Conciliation asks a third party to meet with the two other parties separately. In these meetings, the conciliator tries to calm each party down. This method is less formal but useful when tensions are high.
  • Neutral Evaluation is similar to mediation, but the third party gives suggestions and not a potentially binding settlement. The third party here is usually a neutral lawyer and helpful for legally complex issues.

An ADR will not only save your time but also your money. Court fees and trial lawyers are expensive, but an ADR will keep you from paying for them. A personal injury lawyer will work to give your claim a chance outside of court.

7. You might not have to pay anything

When deciding whether or not to hire a personal injury lawyer, many people worry about the cost of hiring one, and this makes sense. Some lawyers charge hundreds of dollars per hour, and spending money that you may not be able to pay unless you win can be frightening.

This isn't always the case though.

Many personal injury lawyers do not charge you for their fees if they do not win the case. This is called a contingency fee and is settled before the lawyer takes the case officially.

Lawyers who work for firms or have a lot of cases are able to do this because they win enough cases to pay for the ones they lose. If they win 9 out of 10 cases, they can afford losing one.

Using this strategy, attorneys can open up their services to cases with plaintiffs who are worried about affording a lawyer. This gives them more business and, in the long run, more money.

If you find the right attorney, there is no risk in losing money when you hire a personal injury lawyer to take over your case.

8. Lawyers will be more rational

When someone has wronged us, it can be easy to see it from our perspective alone or be overly frustrated. Simply thinking about the situation can be painful.

This is an easy trap to fall into when dealing with personal injury claims, especially in intentional harm. We may make decisions based only on emotions and not on what is best for the situation.

Letting a lawyer take care of your case will help make sure the most logical decisions are being made. While they care about you and your case, they have not been hurt personally, meaning they will see the situation through an objective lens.

Being so close to the case may also continue to emotionally hurt you, but a lawyer will be able to think more clearly about it. For personal and legal reasons, having a personal injury lawyer is the safest bet.

9. Insurance companies are difficult

Insurance companies ironically do not want to give their clients money when they need it. Although their entire business is based on the promise that they will give the money back to their clients, it can be difficult to make them keep that promise.

Insurance companies have professionals working for them, and you should too. Just like a personal injury lawyer, insurance lawyers deal with cases like yours daily.

It is their job to make sure they give you as little money as possible. Don't let them take away the money that rightfully belongs to you by throwing confusing words and complex terms at you.

Going to court against an insurance company alone is not a safe bet, but a personal injury lawyer will do wonders against the insurance company's attorneys. Your claim will be taken more seriously, and the possibility that you get your insurance money increases.

10. Personal Injury Lawyers Want to Win Just as Much as You Do

Although it might seem obvious, it can be easy to forget that personal injury lawyers want you to win your case. They make their livelihood through cases like yours and will do everything they can to make sure you win, even if the odds are stacked against you.

Winning a case gives them money and also helps their reputation. With a better reputation and more money, personal injury lawyers can continue to grow in their business.

Losing, on the other hand, does the opposite for them. Losing has negative consequences for a lawyer, maybe even more than you would have.

With this in mind, it should be easy to hand over your case to a personal injury lawyer. As a team, you and your attorney can work together to settle your case and continue your healing process.

Next Steps

Understanding the importance of having a personal injury lawyer is not the end of the line. The next step is to find a lawyer, and while searching, "lawyers near me" might work, we suggest visiting our contact page to speak with us today.

And, if you're still not convinced, explore our blog to find out more about working with a lawyer.