From car accidents to slips and falls to medical malpractice, the number of personal injuries each year is in the tens of millions. 39 million to be exact.
Each year, millions of people are hurt in accidents that are no fault of their own but are the fault of another person’s failure to act (such as workplace injuries due to a lack of proper safety precautions), another person’s wrongful actions (such as medical malpractice), or the illegal behavior of another person (such as assault).
If you’ve been injured as the result of the actions or inaction of another person, you should contact a Colorado personal injury attorney. A personal injury lawyer can help you get the settlement you deserve to pay for medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Read on to learn more about hiring a personal injury attorney in Colorado.
1. There Is a Statute of Limitations
One of the first things to know is that there is a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Colorado, you must file a lawsuit for any personal injury or wrongful death within 2 years from the date of the accident/injury. In the case of car accident injuries, you must file a lawsuit within 3 years.
If the statute of limitations has expired, you may or may not be able to file a suit, as there are some exceptions. An experienced Colorado personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you on whether you are still eligible to sue those responsible for your injuries.
2. Not All Lawyers Are Created Equal
If you have a personal injury case, hire a personal injury lawyer. Not all lawyers handle personal injury cases and know the ins and outs of them, so look for one that specializes in personal injury cases, particularly your type of case.
If you’ve been in a car accident, find a personal injury lawyer who focuses on car accident cases. If you’ve been injured in an aviation accident, your attorney should have experience with these types of cases.
3. You Should Do Your Research
Don’t just rely on the first lawyer or law firm that comes up in your Google search or pick one based on their TV commercial or radio ad. Do some research before selecting a personal injury attorney.
Ask around to friends, family, and neighbors for any recommendations. You might find some good options to research (and you also may be warned about some attorneys to stay away from). Word of mouth is great advertising, so use your network to put together a shortlist of potential attorneys.
If you know any attorneys, ask them who they recommend. Even if they don’t practice the same type of law, they still may have recommendations based on their experience with the legal field. An attorney respected by their peers is one of the best referrals you can have.
Once you have a shortlist, start perusing their websites. See what kind of experience they have, how many cases they have handled, and what the outcomes have been. Read their online reviews and see if their website lists any previous client testimonials.
Check your local bar association to see if they’ve been disciplined in any way and while you’re at it, make sure their law license is up-to-date.
4. The Insurance Company Wants You to Settle
The insurance company wants you to settle, and do so quickly, for the lowest amount possible. They do not want a long, drawn-out process and want you to accept their settlement offer so they can close your claim. Once you accept, you can’t change your mind, so don’t settle for their first offer.
Many times, insurance companies will make you a lowball offer shortly after the accident or injury, hoping that you’ll accept and go away. Sure, you could accept this offer, but it’s likely to be far less than what you are actually entitled to. A personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you when a settlement is fair and when you should continue to fight for more.
5. You May Go to Trial
The ideal outcome is to reach a settlement agreement between you, your lawyer, and the insurance company, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. If the insurance company digs in its heels and refuses to offer a larger settlement, you may opt to take your case to trial and let a jury decide.
If this is the case, you will want a lawyer who has trial experience. This is an important thing to investigate when you are choosing your attorney. While your case may not go to trial, pick an attorney who has trial experience (and has been successful at trial), just in case it comes to that.
6. Find an Attorney Who Works on a Contingency Basis
What this means is that your attorney doesn’t get paid unless you win the case. If you lose, you don’t owe your attorney anything. If you win, a percentage of your settlement, usually about 33%, is paid to your attorney. When choosing someone to represent you, be sure you understand their fee structure and ensure that they work on a contingency basis.
7. The Process May Take Time
Be prepared for the process to take some time, especially if you have a specific amount of compensation in mind. The insurance company will usually continue to make settlement offers that are less than what you want, so if you are set on a certain number, you should be prepared for it to take months (or even years) to settle the case or go to trial.
Sometimes insurance companies will start to drag out the process as well, in the hopes that you’ll give up and accept their settlement. If you can be patient, you will be more likely to get the adequate compensation that you deserve.
Look for a Colorado Personal Injury Attorney With Experience
Don’t try to navigate the legal process and take on insurance companies on your own. A Colorado personal injury attorney handles injury cases on a daily basis and understands the process, how the legal system works, and can advise you on how your case is likely to proceed.
If you’re in need of an attorney, contact the lawyers at Sweet Law today. We handle all types of personal injury cases and are eager to provide a free case evaluation.