There are many types of legal issues that may require the help of a lawyer. If you are the victim of a road accident or medical negligence, you may have been advised to hire an attorney. An attorney is a type of lawyer who is qualified and licenced to represent a client in court. A lawyer has legal training and can advise legal matters but may not have the qualifications needed to help you see your case through the courts.
Within the law, there are different specialisations. There are criminal lawyers and labour lawyers; there are estate planning attorneys and corporate attorneys. If you have been the victim of a road accident, police assault, medical malpractice, or another personal injury claim, you will need a personal injury lawyer to advise you.
But what’s their role, and why should you use a personal injury lawyer instead of the regular lawyer your friends or family have used before for other personal matters? A personal injury lawyer is specialised and has medical knowledge. They will help you submit your personal injury claim, negotiate a settlement for you or, if needed, represent you in court to get the payout you deserve.
Here are six ways they have the expertise to do so:
#1 A personal injury lawyer has specialised skills
A lawyer that has a practice that offers multiple services may advertise that they handle personal injury cases. However, unless they have a dedicated personal injury attorney on their team, they may outsource it to someone outside the practice, which means your work is being contracted out.
It’s better to work with a law practice specialising in personal injury law because you know the whole team has the expertise needed to handle your case and get you the best settlement. A personal injury lawyer deals with cases daily, and they bring with them the accumulated knowledge and experience that comes with specialising in one field of law. As with all things in life, you can’t beat experience. A personal injury lawyer will have worked as the voice of many injured victims and have experience dealing with the Road Accident Fund (RAF) or state departments, in court or at the negotiating table. It will show in the results they will obtain for their clients.
#2 They have the specialist knowledge
The lawyer working on your personal injury case needs to have experience with impairment ratings. The AMA training guide is important in the area of personal injury law. Officially referred to as ‘the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment’, it is published by the American Medical Association. Used worldwide, it is the most widely used basis for determining impairment. It is used to quantify permanent losses associated with an injury. Having an excellent understanding of the AMA Guide will mean your attorney will understand the importance of referring to this guide, which objectively documents the victim’s impairments. This can significantly impact your payout because it is an agreed-upon rating that can be associated to show the impact of the life-altering injury on you as a client. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to effectively communicate to the courts the impact the injury has had on your life if they have this training.
#3 They have working relationships with role players
A personal injury lawyer will have a personal working relationship with people that work in the system, built up over years, and ensuring trust between these parties. For example, the administrative staff at the Road Accident Fund (RAF) will have worked with a personal injury specialist lawyer before and know that they are honest and skilful. Your personal injury lawyer will engage with dozens of people during your case: claims handlers, judge’s handlers, secretaries and more. Knowing the name and role of the person on the other end of the line, and having a working relationship with them, gives your lawyer an advantage. This will make the process more efficient, quicker and even ensure you get a higher payout.
#4 They have medical experts on call
When you lodge a personal injury claim, a team of doctors will need to assess your medical records and injuries to write a report for the courts. A regular lawyer won’t have these highly specialised experts on speed dial. However, your personal injury lawyer will have a group of experienced doctors that they are affiliated with and have payment agreements in place with them, to call on to help with your case.
# 5 They understand the challenges their clients face
Personal injury cases bring attorneys and victims into a close working relationship for many years while the case is underway. A personal injury lawyer that has worked with clients with traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs and other acquired disabilities will understand the daily challenges they face. From the challenges of mobility and sometimes communication, a personal injury lawyer will have the experience to know how the firm can support their client and do so with an empathy that makes all the difference.
#6 No recovery = no fee
A personal injury attorney is more likely to work on a no win no fee basis than a regular lawyer. This means you don’t pay the attorney; they represent you and only recover their costs when they win your settlement. This means you never owe them anything if they are not able to make a recovery for you. A specialised personal injury law firm that deals with serious cases will likely have a 99% success rate which means you have nothing to lose, and the odds are in your favour.
How do you choose a reputable lawyer for your personal injury case? Here’s one way you can check. A personal injury lawyer will be registered with the Legal Practice Council <a> https://lpc.org.za/<a> of South Africa. If you are looking to hire a personal injury lawyer in South Africa, a good starting point is can check if your personal injury lawyer holds registration with the council, and if there are any complaints against the lawyer, or if their licence has ever been revoked.
Your personal injury lawyer is committed to helping you win the highest settlement for your claim. A lawyer that does not specialise in this area of the law may choose to accept the settlement offer from the defendant. A personal injury lawyer, however, will fight to get the highest settlement and take the case to court to help make this happen.