The Different Hats Attorneys Wear in Injury Cases
In an injury case, your attorney will play many roles, and wear many different hats. Your attorney will act as an investigator, negotiator, advisor, and advocate, just to name a few. Below, one of our attorneys explains what this means, and what you can expect from a working relationship with your lawyer.
Your Attorney as an Investigator
Either the DC injury lawyer, a person on the lawyer’s staff, or an investigator will find out information about the case.
This includes interviewing witnesses, going to the scene to take pictures, talking to experts in the case, and gathering the medical information. All aspects of the case are important because we represent injured plaintiffs, and it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove the three elements of liability, damages, and causation.
The more prepared you are going into a case, the better the outcome, so it is very important to take the necessary steps in investigating every aspect of the case. You need to make sure that the facts check out, so that we can meet our burden of proving those elements.
So, investigation is very important, whether done by the lawyer, the law firm, or its staff, in order to find out all of the necessary information. We want to be the first to know, not the last to know, and we don’t want something coming out during the course of the case that would be a surprise, so the investigation aspect of the case is very important.
How Does a Lawyer Act as a Negotiator?
Being a negotiator is a very large part of what a personal injury lawyer does once they’ve put the case together and presented a settlement demand to the insurance company. After that there is a lot of negotiation that goes on regarding the merits of the case and the defenses that the insurance company or the defendant is raising. We negotiate back and forth as to why their position is not one that’s going to carry the day, versus our position which we can prove and will, in our estimation, provide the outcome that we’re looking for.
The best personal injury lawyer is one who litigates a lot of cases because by litigating the cases, the insurance company knows that they can’t just undercut the value of the case. If they do that, then the lawyer is going to take the case to court, and that puts it in the litigation arena which is costly for them, and for the plaintiff as well.
This means pushing the insurance companies to do the right thing and offer the full value of the case, and if they don’t, then fighting them all the way down the line to keep them aware that these cases are going to be litigated and not just settled below full value. So, it provides leverage against the insurance company when the attorney is one who litigates cases and doesn’t just accept settlements.
The insurance company knows which personal injury lawyers litigate because they keep track and they know the ones that litigate and the ones that don’t. They take different positions with those that don’t versus those that do, and that’s another reason why results are so important.
Negotiation is a major element of what a lawyer does in a personal injury case, particularly in terms of getting a case resolved for the best value possible for the client.
An Injury Attorney as an Advisor
That’s a primary role of the attorney because most people are not aware of generally what their rights are. They are not aware of the litigation process or the claim process, so from the very beginning the lawyer, the law firm, and its staff are informing the client of the expectations and the specific processes that they will go through in order to move the case to a position of settlement or litigation.
All along the way, the attorney is advising the client of their rights, of their options, and of information about the practicalities of the administration of the claim.
We are partners with our clients, our interests are aligned, and we are in it for the same reason, which is to maximize a recovery. By the very nature of representing clients, we are advocating their position, their case, and their rights to get the best recovery available based on the individual circumstances and facts of that case.
So, we’re an advocate for the client to the insurance company, to the defendant, and in the event it’s litigated, to the judge and to the jury.