A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Be Your Best Friend In Court
Life is often hectic. It is full of responsibilities and things to remember. Often, those around you struggle and you are asked to pick up the pieces -- or at the very least referee while others pick the pieces up for themselves. The biggest successes in life happen when we work together. Each of us has different strengths, and we are at our best when we use those strengths in order to help one another in the spirit of what is fair and just.
Seeing the Whole Situation
One situation many people can relate to is the way a parent's knowledge can be beneficial when solving disputes between siblings.
Imagine you're an adult with two kids several years apart. The older child is in high school, the younger in early middle school. Sometimes, the older child really looks out for the younger sibling, but they may use their knowledge and experience to get out of a chore or to get their little brother or sister to take on more than their share of responsibility for something. It's through knowing both children that allows a parent to ask the right questions and decipher what type of action to take.
Take this scenario:
Imagine you're an adult with two kids several years apart. The older child is in high school, the younger in early middle school. Sometimes, the older child really looks out for the younger sibling, but they may use their knowledge and experience to get out of a chore or to get their little brother or sister to take on more responsibility for some action than they should.
The Case of the Burned Hand
You relay basic first aid instructions to your older daughter, but you wonder why the accident happened. Much like an attorney, you need to consider the facts. Your younger child is not allowed to use the oven when you are not home, so why was he taking the pizza out of the oven? Did the older sibling ask him to take it out or did he take the initiative. What prompted him to break the rule? Perhaps the older sister was on the phone or playing a game and the younger child made the decision because he believed he could handle it. Because he took on too much; he got burned.
You're mulling this over. Who's responsible, and how much? Your older child was covering for you. Was she bossing her brother around? Did she ask him to make the pizza outright? Did she tell him to turn off the oven and let her get the pizza in a few minutes? How bad was the burn? How far did the older sister's negligence go? Should she pay to restock the first aid kit? Take her brother's turn at dishes for a couple weeks? Help with that science project he has due on Monday?
All of these questions are important, because you are wired as a parent to get to the truth in order to come up with fair and appropriate consequences.
You're Turn to Reach Out
All this is going on in your head, and you're hit from behind. Your airbag deploys and your body is thrust forward. You've been off the phone for several minutes. You can move, but it hurts. You're still worried about your kids and your job. You have a tendency to downplay your own pain, especially when tending to others.
You worry about your car, the other driver's car, whether they were injured and you can't make a honest assessment yet of how badly you were injured. You don't know if there was something going on with the other driver that caused them to misjudge their speed and hit you. Was there a defect with their brakes? Did they know?
There are a lot of questions. Your insurance agent sounds very sympathetic, and promises to look out for you. But you have to consider who he works for and what their best interests are. You also don't know what the other driver will claim or how truthful they will be. This is why you need the case to be investigated by a personal injury lawyer that has experience with similar situations and can defend your rights in court if necessary. While solving cases in your own household may be your expertise, when it comes to a personal injury case that involves expenses such as lost wages, medical bills, auto repair bills and more it is better to trust the expert advice and guidance of a personal injury lawyer.
Putting it All Together
The role your lawyer will take is a lot like the role you will take in the case of the burned hand. The details are discovered by asking the right people the right questions, and this means finding the right balance between looking at known facts in the case and using knowledge gained from facing similar situations in order to find a fair solution. A good personal injury attorney will take a vested interest in your case, and work with investigators and witnesses in order to get to the bottom of the situation. They can help you maintain a certain amount of perspective about your case and your role in your accident, as well as the other party's responsibilities. They will help you see the bigger picture and encourage you to advocate for yourself more than you might have done if you tried to represent your case. Also, whether your case goes to court or to the negotiating table the mere fact that an attorney is present and on your side can go a long ways toward keeping the insurance company honest enough to offer a fair settlement in the first place.
In most personal injury cases, lawyers are paid on contingency, which means how much they benefit is directly related to how much you benefit. They can keep you informed of your rights, your responsibilities when it comes to filing deadlines and other matters. They can advocate for you, and help you advocate for yourself.
Doing Your Part
Having an attorney on your side takes a lot of pressure of when it comes to a personal injury case, but it is still important to take your own role seriously. This means you should be checked for injuries by a physician as soon as possible. You should be careful not to downplay the effects of your injuries to your insurance company or to the other driver. The adrenaline the comes from merely surviving often eclipses immediate pain. You may feel worse the next day and you don't want to look like you are changing your story. As much as you are able, you should record the aftermath of accidents by taking pictures or damage to the vehicles or even of injuries, and collecting contact information of witnesses so that your attorney can follow up later.
The expenses of accident injuries often stretch far below the surface, ultimately, the decision on whether to ask for damages is yours. But filing deadlines vary, it is important to act quickly and meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options, before you find that you're the one getting burned.
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