If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, hiring a Michigan personal injury attorney is a wise decision. Research shows plaintiffs represented by lawyers receive larger settlements than those who handle their own claims. Nevertheless, because personal injury law is complex, many people want more information before deciding to take legal action. As a result, personal injury attorneys answer numerous queries from prospective clients on a variety of topics. Here are the most frequently asked questions about personal injury law.
A personal injury claim may be filed when a person is harmed, physically and/or psychologically, as a result of another party’s negligence. In legal terms, this means an individual or business breached their duty to use reasonable care, such as a landlord who neglects to fix a broken step, a manufacturer who produces a defective product or a distracted driver who hits a pedestrian.
Any situation where someone is injured as a direct result of another party’s negligence may be grounds for a personal injury claim.
Here are the most common types:
Recommended reading: How To Find The Best Lawyer For Your Slip And Fall Case
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they take a percentage, usually one-third, of the settlement or trial verdict. Reputable personal injury attorneys do not ask clients for up-front fees or retainers. Instead, they are paid after a case is resolved, deducting their fee along with certain case-related expenses from the final settlement.
Reputable personal injury attorneys typically do not collect payment until a case is over. If a personal injury lawyer requires a retainer or up-front fee, prospective clients should view this as a red flag and find another law firm.
Personal injury attorneys are paid out of the compensation the client receives after the case is won. At this time, most lawyers also deduct the out-of-pocket expenses incurred while the case was ongoing.
Out-of-pocket expenses for a typical personal injury case may include:
This depends on the policy of the individual lawyer or firm. Many firms do not charge a client if they fail to recover any compensation. However, some firms require clients to pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as filing fees, expert witnesses or court costs. Make sure you find out your lawyer’s policy at the beginning to avoid costly surprises.
Because every personal injury case is different, there is no “one size fits all” settlement. Compensation is determined by many factors that vary according to the individual circumstances of each claim. Generally, compensation will be higher when the injuries are severe, long-lasting or permanent.
An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to provide a broad estimate of how much you can expect based on similar cases they have won.
Most serious injury cases include compensation for intangible losses such as pain and suffering, also known as non-economic damages. However, qualifying for these damages requires extensive documentation of the victim’s medical condition and future prognosis. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to obtain, evaluate and compile the necessary information and present it in a compelling way that results in a successful outcome.
Michigan follows the doctrine of “modified comparative negligence,” which means a settlement may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff.
Here’s an example of the way modified comparative negligence works in a personal injury case:
Suppose an attorney negotiates a settlement of $100,000 for a slip and fall accident. However, the plaintiff is found to be 30 percent at fault for failing to see a patch of ice because they were texting on a cell phone. In that instance, the settlement would be reduced by 30 percent, and the plaintiff would receive 70 percent of the total amount (minus attorney fees).
In addition, plaintiffs who are more than 50 percent at fault cannot receive non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Many factors determine how long a case takes after a claim is filed. However, an experienced car accident lawyer can often provide an educated guess about the timeline. In general, cases involving catastrophic injuries, life-threatening illnesses or wrongful death take far longer than less complicated claims where the damages are not as severe.
While the majority of personal injury cases settle out of court, it is important to hire an attorney with trial experience and familiarity with local courts and procedures. Furthermore, attorneys who are willing to go to court when necessary are usually stronger negotiators. Ask a prospective lawyer about their courtroom experience, including results, with cases similar to yours.
The time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing personal injury claims in Michigan is three years from the date of the accident or event that caused the injury or illness. Additionally, the deadline is extended for injuries or conditions that are not discovered until weeks, months or, in some cases, years later. There are also exceptions for minors, injuries that occur on government property and certain other situations. A knowledgeable personal injury will ensure every claim is filed according to the legal deadlines for each specific case.
There are many reasons to hire a personal injury attorney if you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. Most importantly, research shows plaintiffs represented by attorneys receive larger settlements than those who handle their own claims.
Below are some of the many other benefits and services an experienced lawyer provides:
Recommended reading: Do You Need A Lawyer For A Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault?
For more than 50 years, the Sam Bernstein Law Firm has offered our No Fee Guarantee® to every client. It’s a promise we made when our firm began and continue to uphold today. The terms are straightforward and they apply to every case we take.
We don’t get paid until we win.
If you do not receive compensation after your case is resolved, neither do we.
It’s that simple.
Whether you were injured by a distracted driver, a neighborhood dog, a defective product or a negligent physician, we can help. Our highly-qualified personal injury attorneys will protect your rights and win the compensation you and your family deserve.
Personal injury law is complicated, but finding the right personal injury attorney is simple.
Don’t let the legal clock run out. Start your case today by clicking the link below or calling 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.
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