Selecting the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
In today?s world, there are a dozen reasons you might need a personal injury lawyer. You may be in an accident, either due to another person or due to a company; you may find yourself the victim of medical malpractice; or you may be the victim of defamation or libel. Regardless of the source of the injury, you were harmed, and it is not just that you should suffer for it and that the guilty party in the situation should blithely walk away. You need a lawyer, and you need an expert in the area of your injury.
A personal injury lawyer who works with accidents knows how to deal with the paperwork, the judges, and your personal trauma. Whether your injury was due to negligence on someone?s part or willful stupidity, you deserve to be compensated for it. Accidental injuries include cases where you?ve been in a car accident and have suffered either obvious trauma or are suffering from the pain of untreatable and undiagnosable soft tissue injury.
Especially if you have the infamous soft tissue injury, you need a lawyer. Soft tissue injury is notoriously difficult to prove, and you are probably up against an insurance company, whose paid staff doctors can look at your x-rays and say that there is no injury as far as they can tell. Of course, you know better, and your back tells you that every morning. A personal injury lawyer can set things straight for you. He knows how insurance company doctors work, and he knows how to find professionals who are expert in soft tissue injury and who will testify on your behalf.
It?s also possible to be injured by excess stress, especially at your workplace. In the last few years, a new philosophy of planned stress has become part of the management mantra: if you keep your employees under a constant low level of stress, you will get increased productivity. And it works ? to a point. The problem is, just like putting too much stuff on shelves, there are people who can?t bear that much weight, or who already have excessive stress from other parts of their lifes. It?s not their fault; but it happens. And a stressful workplace is, frankly, a hazardous working environment for which your employer may be held liable.
Another quite different type of accident is one caused by a company. For instance, a company making asbestos may put people working either in its mines or processing plants, or in certain lines of work that require direct contact with asbestos, at risk for asbestosis or mesothelioma, both debilitating and eventually killing lung diseases that are caused by asbestos damage to the lungs. If you have been harmed by asbestos, it is very likely that you can sue for medical bills and for personal damages.
A common case right now is injury due to the malpractice or negligence of a pharmaceutical company. Pharmaceutical companies aren?t perfect; they test drugs on perhaps thousands of patients prior to releasing them to market. Unfortunately, some drugs aren?t tested enough, and turn up with negative side effects. In other cases, drugs are released to market that have been tested and proven to have negative side effects that are hidden by researchers. There?s a lot of money in bringing new drugs to market, and sometimes the bonuses and the prospect of selling a drug patent are enough to cause people to do dishonest things, especially if they can justify it in their own minds as actually doing good ? not hard to do with a drug, since they do good as well as ill. Regardless of the reason, we have lately seen a number of drugs released on the market that are too injurious to have been approved, and those who have been injured are justified in seeking damages.
Though we wish it was not true, there are professionals who -- aren?t. Doctors who mistake themselves for God, lawyers who are overworked and thus don?t pay enough attention to their smaller cases, therapists who try out unproven therapies on already-fragile patients, all these people are potentially causing injury through negligence and professional malpractice. If you are injured by their acts, you may be able to seek compensation; you are certainly justified in trying.
In the case of defamation and libel, if someone prints something in the media provably untrue that injures you, your company, or your loved ones, you should seek legal assistance immediately. Injury to a person?s honor is in many ways much more tangible and harmful than injury to one?s person. This sort of damage is also much more difficult to assess than tangible harm, so some very odd court settlements come out of these cases.
What To Expect
If you file a personal injury claim, you should probably be ready for a long wait for compensation. Your personal injury lawyer will ask you many, many questions prior to investigating your case; he will gather as much information as he can regarding the nature of your injury and expected medical costs, your past lost wages, your future earning potential, the damage to your quality of life, and justified punitive damages before he can put a dollar cost on your settlement. This process may take him or her some time, so be patient.
In most cases, your personal injury lawyer specializes in this sort of court case. He will take your case on contingency ? this means if he loses your case, you pay nothing, but if he wins, you pay a specified percentage of your damages. This will all be clearly specified in a contract prior to his formally taking your case. In Great Britain, you can also find lawyers who will take your case for no up-front fee; instead, they will take out personal injury insurance, arranging it with the lawyers on the other side so that the winner of the case is the one who pays the final insurance fees.
Basically, if you take your case to a personal injury lawyer, you are probably doing it at no risk to yourself. You won?t have to invest a penny; all your lawyer will ask of you is time and information.
More information available at http://www.personal-injury-accident-claim.com/
This article courtesy of http://www.mentzlaw.com.
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* Government Statistics on Legal Verdicts and Jury Awards - $ U.S. district courts terminated approximately 512,000 civil cases during fiscal years 2002-03. Nearly 20% or 98,786 of these cases were torts in which plaintiffs claimed injury, loss, or damage from a defendant’s negligent or intentional acts. $ Of the 98,786 tort cases terminated in U.S. district courts in 2002-03, about 2% or 1,647 cases were decided by a bench or jury trial. $ An estimated 9 out of 10 tort trials involved personal injury issues C most frequently, product liability, motor vehicle (accident), marine, and medical malpractice cases. $ Juries decided about 71% of all tort cases brought to trial in U.S. district courts; judges adjudicated the remaining 29%. $ Plaintiffs won in 48% of tort trials terminated in U.S. district courts in 2002-03. Plaintiffs won less frequently in medical malpractice (37%) and product liability (34%) trials. $ Eighty-four percent of plaintiff winners received monetary damages with an estimated median award of $201,000. $ Plaintiffs won more often in bench (54%) than in jury (46%) tort trials. The estimated median damage awards were higher in jury ($244,000) than in bench ($150,000) tort trials.
April 2006 - A Jury in New Jersey found last week that Vioxx significantly contributed to a 77-year-old man's heart attack awarded him $9 million in punitive damages yesterday, raising Merck & Co.'s liability in the case to $13.5 million and intensifying pressure on it to settle such lawsuits.
Example of Personal Injury Case 2004 : Ford Explorer rollover-prone and roof not crash safe and worthy- CASE TYPE : Product Design Defect, Auto Truck Vehicle - SUV,
Motor Vehicle – Rollover CASE : Buell-Wilson v. Ford Motor Co., San Diego Co.,
Calif., Super. Ct. GIC 800836 Los Angeles, Calif.
JURY VERDICT: $369,000,000 (369 Millions Dolalrs
2005 - In what may be one of the biggest massive medical malpractice tort verdicts in the state of Texas, a state jury awarded $606 million - including a remarkable $ 600 million dollars in punitive damages - to the family of an 82-year-old patient who had cancer and then who died after receiving an overdose of chemotherapy drugs.
2005 - In the 9th big loss for Ford in SUV Explorer rollover cases, a Florida jury awarded $61.2 million to the parents of an 18-year-old boy who was killed in a 1997 (wrongful death & Product Defect and Product Liability Issues)
Example of Personal Injury Lawyer Case 2004 : Dodge Caravan seatback collapsed on baby in a car-seat - CASE TYPE : Automobiles, Products Liability -
Product Design Defect, Wrongful Death, Motor Vehicle -
Rear-ender, Motor Vehicle - Passenger, Motor Vehicle - Minivan
CASE : Flax v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., Davidson Co., Tenn., Cir. Ct. O2C-1288
JURY VERDICT : $105,500,000 (105 Million Dollars
2005 – Billion Dollar Verdicts - In one of 2005's largest verdicts to an individual plaintiff regarding financial fraud , a Florida jury ordered Morgan Stanley Broker Dealer to pay $1.45 billion to investor Ronald O. Perelman for defrauding him in the sale of his camping gear company - Coleman.
2005 - February, a prominent Houston law firm and a Texas bank were SMACKED and Beaten with a $65.5 million verdict in a highly complex estate planning case that involved major problems and conflicts of interest. (65 million dollar jury award)
2005 – 3 years after a jury acquitted a company in Florida of manslaughter and criminal charges, a Florida civil jury SLAMMED the outdoor advertiser with a $65 million jury award verdict for the shock and electrocution of a sixth-grade boy.
Age Discrimination - In December, a Los Angeles California jury found that PrivatAir - an aviation company focusing on private airline services - wrongfully fired Captain Doyle D. Baker on the basis of his age, defaming him in the termination process and causing extreme emotional distress.
Punitive damages serve a number of important functions which—despite a few horror stories, which are themselves either apocryphal or overturned in the courts, the functions remain valid and in the public interest. Persons causing great harm—persons deliberately or with gross negligence causing great harm should not view paying damages as merely a cost of doing business, a cost that might fit neatly into a risk analysis of wrongdoing. That is what happened in the Ford Pinto case in which the cost of paying claims to victims of a known deadly hazard was deemed less than the cost to retool the assembly line, and thus the hazard was maintained knowing full well that further people—more people would be injured or killed.
This is the purpose of punitive damages, to punish this kind of egregious wrongdoing, and to deter, to be a deterrent to such conduct. It is not immediately clear why a deterrent—or the necessity of the deterrent should bear any great relationship to the amount of actual damages in a given case. There is nothing wrong and indeed something highly desirable in maintaining this disincentive to wrongdoing in an appropriate relationship to the harm and the conduct of the tort-feasor. This trend has led one commentator to suggest that ''[p]unitive damages have replaced baseball as our national sport.'' Theodore B. Olson, Rule of Law: The Dangerous National Sport of Punitive Damages, Wall St. J., Oct. 5, 1994, at A17. See also Malcolm E. Wheeler, A Proposal for Further Common Law Development of the Use of Punitive Damages in Modern Products Liability Litigation, 40 Ala. L. Rev. 919, 919 (1989) (''Today, hardly a month goes by without a multimillion-dollar punitive damages verdict in a product liability case.'').