Hiring the right attorney should add value to your case. By that I mean that the amount for which you should expect to resolve your case is enhanced by having the right attorney involved. An experienced attorney understands the process and knows what needs to be done to get from point A to point B and from point B to point C, and is going to save you the headaches associated with doing that.
Not all cases require the assistance of an attorney. Typically, the more serious the injuries, the more likely it is you need somebody who knows what they are doing to assist you. What you need is not just an attorney, but an experienced attorney who handles the type of case that you have.
No two attorneys have the same background. There are going to be differences in their level of expertise, their experience, and their skillset. All of that factors in to what you need to be looking for when you are trying to locate the right attorney for you.
Can Someone Represent Themselves in a Personal Injury Trial or Is an Attorney Mandatory?
There is no requirement that an individual have an attorney to represent them. You can even try your own case, but remember the old maxim, “Only a fool has himself for a client!”
Should you choose to represent yourself in a lawsuit, in all likelihood the judge will hold you to the same standards as an attorney. I would not suggest doing this. You would have to be familiar with the substantive law, procedural requirements, rules of evidence, and much more. I suspect that you would end up being your own worst enemy.
What Do You Recommend for Clients Who Have Sustained a Severe Injury and Are Unable to Work?
It depends upon the type of potential claim they might have. You can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits if it was an on-the-job injury, even if somebody else was responsible for your resulting injuries.
For instance, you are driving an automobile, you are on the job, and you are involved in a serious wreck. You might be looking to the person who caused the wreck for recovery. However, if you were on the job, it is quite likely that your employer had workers’ compensation insurance coverage. If so, in Alabama that would pay about two-thirds of your average weekly wage. In that example, there is a source of compensation there; however, that is more or less the exception.
In most cases in which someone is injured, it is important that people understand that an insurance company is not going to pay them piecemeal. By that I mean that they are not going to pay you for the medical bills as you incur them or each week for the time you miss from work. An insurance company is only going to compensate you when your case is resolved, whether through settlement or trial.
I commonly refer to that as “weathering the storm” and it means that it is going to be sometime before you receive anything. It is going to be difficult, financially, for you. There are companies that loan money to people who have been injured based on the assumption that they are going to be able to recover what they have loaned, plus a substantial amount of interest at the time that the matter is resolved. I do not ever encourage my clients to do that because the interest rate is astronomical and grossly unfair and it could even result in the client getting nothing, because it all goes, instead, to the finance company.
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