The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
Are Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyers Worth It?
May 6, 2018
Many people think that accident cases are straightforward affairs and that the insurance company “has their back.” So, they do not think that hiring a lawyer is necessary.
But these cases are very complex. For example, if Driver A runs a red light and rear-ends Driver B, Driver A may or may not be legally responsible for the crash. Or, if a child breaks into someone’s backyard and drowns in a swimming pool, that property owner could still be liable for damages.
There are other issues as well. Some kinds of injuries, like whiplash, are very hard to diagnose and treat. Only experienced Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyers can connect victims with the best available medical help. Typically, attorneys can arrange for victims to receive this care at no upfront cost. That’s something a do-it-yourselfer could probably never do.
Although the elapsed time varies, most slip-and-falls, car crashes, dog bites, and other injury cases follow the same timeline. Minnesota personal injury lawyers make a difference every step of the way.
Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyers arrange for medical treatment with a letter of protection. The letter guarantees payment when the case is resolved. So, the doctor does not demand money upfront. Normally, the attorney and doctor have a pre-existing relationship, so there is no friction in this process.
As a bonus, these letters allow Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyers to negotiate with the provider for a lower fee. So, the victim may keep more of the settlement money.
It’s very important to see the doctor straightaway, even if you “feel fine.” More than likely, you do not feel injured because the accident triggered an adrenaline release. The pain starts to set in a few hours or days later. By that time, it may already be too late to properly treat some kinds of injuries.
In addition to medical treatment, an attorney also helps with evidence collection. Most passenger cars have Event Data Recorders. Capability varies by make and model, but most EDRs are like the “black boxes” in commercial airplanes. The EDR contains a lot of evidence. But most insurance companies destroy totaled vehicles within a few days. If that happens, the EDR is probably gone for good.
To prevent this outcome, an attorney sends a spoliation letter to the vehicle’s custodian. This letter serves notice that a lawsuit may be filed later. That creates a legal duty to preserve all potential evidence in the case, including the EDR. Since victim/plaintiffs have the burden of proof, the EDR and other physical evidence in the vehicle is often invaluable.
Next, Minnesota personal injury lawyers take the facts they collect and mold them into a compelling legal case. Because of the complexities mentioned above, only experienced attorneys can perform this task well. Attorneys must match the evidence with each element of negligence claim. These elements are:
Proximate cause, and
Premises liability cases, like slip-and-fall injuries, work a little differently. IN most cases, the victim/plaintiff must also prove that the property owner knew about the dangerous property condition. Typically, either direct or circumstantial evidence will suffice.
Minnesota personal injury lawyers use the strength of the plaintiff’s case, and a few other factors, to ascertain a reasonable settlement value. That way, you do not sell your case for less than it’s worth. Also, you do not unnecessarily hold out for money that’s probably unavailable.
Some other factors include the location of the case, because people in some Minnesota counties are more conservative than others. Other factors include the possible insurance company defenses, such as comparative fault or assumption of the risk.
Almost all negligence cases settle out of court. If there is no dispute as to liability, the insurance company has a legal duty to settle the case immediately. But there is always at least some dispute in this area, which is why many personal injury cases take several months to resolve.
Resolution usually comes during informal or formal mediation. Once again, an attorney is a difference maker.
Informal Mediation: This process is basically a series of discussions between your attorney and the insurance company lawyer. Most individuals have no access to insurance company lawyers, so these talks are only possible through an attorney.
Formal Mediation: Here, an attorney combines negotiating skills with advocacy skills. Formal mediation is something of a mini-trial. That skill set is something that only experienced Minnesota personal injury lawyers possess.
When all is said and done, you have peace of mind in knowing that your attorney fought for you every step of the way. That’s something that cannot be bought or sold at any price.
CALL TODAY TO SPEAK WITH THE MINNESOTA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AT CARLSON & JONES