The first thing anyone injured in an accident should do is ensure that they are safe, and seek any medical attention if necessary. Upon being treated, the next step anyone involved in an accident should take is to call an Atlanta personal injury lawyer. It is important to establish that relationship immediately so the attorney can quickly investigate the case and offer support to the investigator. As the client’s advocate, their lawyer has to begin understanding the accident in order to maximize the recovery. This early stage is crucial, because evidence, both physical and mental, is at its freshest. Physical evidence includes things like accident photographs and debris, while mental evidence relies on memory, and it is important to take immediate witness statements before the memory of the accident fades.
Establishing a connection with an attorney at the earliest possible point is a key step in maximizing recovery and protecting the rights of an individual who has been injured in an accident that was not their fault.
The most important role played by a personal injury lawyer is that of client advocate; being the voice of the client for the insurance company. Lawyers give all of those players the client’s story and convince them to come to the client’s side whether they are the opposing party, the mutual party, or an evaluator of the facts like jurors are. The role of an Atlanta personal injury attorney is the most important role played toward recovering the maximum amount of money for someone who has been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional act.
Other roles that an attorney plays for their client include serving as an investigator, negotiator, and legal researcher. These roles can be supplemented by a personal injury lawyer who is surrounded with a supporting team of paraprofessionals and/or additional lawyers. Our firm is lucky to have the support of paralegals and former insurance adjusters to assist with maximizing the recovery for clients when going through the claims and litigation processes. It is the support of this team that allows a law firm to give clients the best service, and function as the best possible advocate to help them recover for the injuries that they have sustained in an accident.
The first step a personal injury attorney in Atlanta and their client take together is in the initial client interview where they build the foundation of trust with which they will proceed. In the initial meeting, the attorney and their staff go over the case with the potential client to understand the specifics of what happened, how the client is feeling, and what treatment the client has received and will need going forward. Building that foundation is the most important milestone in an attorney-client relationship.
One important step in a personal injury case is getting in contact with the insurance company of the other party who is at-fault in the accident to understand what type of policy limits are in play for the particular case and what type of recovery is available for the client. For example, in Georgia, some drivers only carry the State minimum insurance, which limits the ability to recover from those drivers in almost all cases. An attorney can help the client gain an understanding of the kind of case at hand in case it is necessary to seek out other forms of recovery by looking at a particular driver’s assets such as uninsured motorist insurance, if available to the client, and understanding the big picture of the case and what resources are available.
Beyond understanding initial available resources, negotiations with the insurance company will begin not long after the client has nearly completed treatment. The lawyer gathers records and bills to craft the narrative of the client’s story: what they have experienced, they pain they had or have, and what is required to treat their injuries to go back to being fully healthy. Sometimes, negotiations do not work out and it is necessary to file a lawsuit to show the insurance company how serious the claim is.
Once the lawsuit is filed, a case may last for a year or more until it is resolved. Filing a lawsuit taken out of the insurance adjuster’s hands begins to place power in the hands of a judge and jury. Ultimately, the threat of litigation and injury verdicts threaten insurance companies into showing their hand and closing on occasion, leading them to pay what the case is actually worth.
Sometimes, it only takes filing a complaint and convincing litigation to get the insurance company to acknowledge a case’s value, but if the case goes to District Court, it is important that the client knows that they have an experienced Atlanta injury lawyer who knows how to take a case from filing the complaint to a jury verdict, if absolutely necessary.
Immediately after an accident can be a very confusing time and many people do not know what to do. While most people go to the internet as their first step toward finding a lawyer, we recommend that you talk to any friends or family members that have been injured in an accident and had to retain a a personal injury lawyer for recovery or to assist them in their claim. Gleaning from firsthand experience about what someone you trust valued in their attorney can be a very helpful starting point to understand exactly what to look for and what questions to ask.
Seeking guidance from a familiar face that has been there before can be an important first step on the road to recovery. If you do not know anyone who has been injured or has used a lawyer to recover from an accident, the internet is a great resource, but we encourage people to talk to former clients of the lawyers they are interviewing. Reading client reviews supplements actually talking with the lawyer, and asking him or her questions about how they handle representation, and whether they are a solo practitioner or work with a firm with many lawyers and a large support staff.
Get a sense of the level of client service you are willing to receive by understanding how the law firm or lawyer handles a case, who will be working on the case, and what his or her past experience is with cases similar to your type of action using the facts and circumstances as they are understood at the time you are interviewing a lawyer.