The crisp winds of fall brush by your face, it is Sunday morning, and you are feeling REAL good. Strolling down Main Street, you are mesmerized by the beauty of the quaint architecture. Several steps more, and disaster! Looking elsewhere, you trip on a broken sidewalk, tumble down with a huge thud. The ambulance comes, takes you to the hospital, a storybook Sunday turns into a complete nightmare. Was the City negligent by not fixing the sidewalk? Who is going to pay for your lost earnings while you are healing? A situation like this requires an experienced attorney, who will evaluate the facts, and determine whether a personal injury action should be brought forth. Specifically, this requires the expertise of a Personal Injury Attorney.
In the above scenario, there is a very good chance an attorney will secure you more monetary compensation than you can do for yourself. Personal injury, however, is a specialized field that requires a qualified personal injury attorney to handle the case. Before you contact an attorney I suggest you prepare the following documents:
1) Write down as much as you can about the accident itself, your injuries, and any other losses (such as wages) you've suffered as a result of the accident.
2) Make notes on anyone who may have seen the accident, or whom you may have spoken to, or who helped you.
3) Go back and try to gather evidence, pictures, eye witness statements, any other information, or materials that may help your case.
Once you establish whether it was a result of negligence, it is in your best interest to file your claim as soon as possible. There are time limits if you plan on suing a government, or municipality. Each state has their respective statutes of limitations, so check with your own state on this one.
Personal injury victims with a strong case should not have to pay any out of pocket expenses. Any attorney worth his salt will take on a personal injury case on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney will cover all expenses during the trial, and take his fee as a percentage of the recovery. Typically, this ranges from 1/3 to 1/2 of the total damages. The best place to find the appropriate personal injury lawyer, is through referrals. Ask friends, or relatives, professional lawyers who do not specialize in personal injury cases, however they should guide you in the right direction. In addition, most local bar associations have referral services in which the names of lawyers are available, arranged by legal specialty.
As with anything, prevention is the best medicine. Try to avoid situations that could be potentially dangerous, or harmful. In the rare cases when this is unavoidable, be sure you follow the appropriate procedures, and don't be intimidated by insurance companies, or government agencies, hire a personal injury attorney, and receive the compensation you deserve.
Dr. Jay B Stockman is a contributing editor for Personal Injury Online , and has extensive experience with Personal Injury cases. For more information, please visit our Personal Injury Forum