Personal Injury Claim Lawsuit Process - Part One

Fishkill Injury Attorney Serving Myers Corner, Beacon, Lagrangeville and Nearby Areas of Hudson Valley

Ira Maurer, Founder of The Maurer Law Firm in Fishkill, New York, offers free consultations for victims of serious personal injury.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: If you are watching this video, you or a loved one may have been involved in an accident and you may be looking for a lawyer to represent you. Chances are you've never sued anyone before and may have some questions or concerns about the process. At The Maurer Law Firm, it is our belief that every client needs to be thoroughly educated about their claim and the legal process. Every personal injury lawyer should provide you with a free consultation. At this initial meeting, the lawyer should ask questions about the accident and your injuries, attempt to learn as much as possible about you to assist in evaluating your injury claim, explain the legal process, discuss the apparent strengths and weaknesses of your claim, educate you about your injuries and, most importantly, listen to what you have to say. At the free consultation, you have the opportunity to learn about the lawyer's background and experience handling injury claims just like your own. You should not be shy about asking questions and you should not hire the lawyer unless you feel comfortable and confident that you will be well-represented.

At the initial consultation, the lawyer also needs to explain how they will be paid. Most people cannot afford to pay a lawyer on an hourly basis. This is why the legal system permits lawyers to be paid by receiving a percentage of the money that is won on your behalf. This fee arrangement is called a contingency fee. The lawyer only earns the legal fee if the lawyer recovers money for you, by way of a settlement or verdict after a trial. The standard legal fee for personal injury cases, excluding medical malpractice claims, is one third of the net sum recovered. Most of time, personal injury law firms will advance the expenses necessary to prosecute a claim, and will be reimbursed for those expenses from the damages recovered before the balance of the money is split between the client and law firm. In other words, if the case is setlled for three million and fifty thousand dollars ($3,050,000) and the law firm advanced fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) to prosecute the claim, the fifty thousand is subtracted off the top and returned to the law firm. That's separate and apart from the legal fee. The remaining three million dollars is split, with the client receiving two million dollars and the law firm receiving one million dollars. Once you've decided to hire a lawyer, a written contract known as the retainer agreement will be prepared. This document should clearly spell out, in plain language, exactly what the lawyer is being hired to do and how the lawyer will be paid. You should never, ever sign a retainer agreement without first reading and understanding every word of the agreement.

During the first phase of your claim, you'll likely be going through an extended period of medical treatment. At the same time, your lawyer will be obtaining copies of your medical records from all medical service providers and should be carefully monitoring your medical condition. Your lawyer will also be investigating your accident, speaking to witnesses and police officers who may have investigated your accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer should have the ability to explain your injuries to you and should provide guidance, when appropriate, that will help you to make educated decisions about your treatment. Obviously, this should be the treating doctor's job; however, the reality is that many doctors schedule their patient visits in a manner that leaves insufficient time to provide patients with an in-depth explanation of their injuries, leaving patients with unanswered questions, and sometimes in a state of confusion and anxiety. Eventually, there will come a time in your medical care when enough is known about your injuries and treatment, as well as the circumstances of your accident, to permit a decision to be made whether it's appropriate to try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, or start a lawsuit.

For more information from Ira Maurer and The Maurer Law Firm, call 845-896-5295. Schedule a free consultation to review your personal injury claim today. At The Maurer Law Firm, we treat your injuries and the impact they have on your life and your family personally, as if our lives depend on it.