Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer: What to Expect
Posted on Friday, September 8, 2017
Working with a lawyer is simpler and easier than you might think.
Every day, the lawyers at Berman & Simmons receive calls and emails from people in Maine who have been injured through no fault of their own.
Perhaps another driver was texting and crashed into their car. Or a construction worker fell from an unsafe ladder on the job site. Or a bicyclist was hit by a commercial truck. Most of the people who contact us have suffered serious injuries. They are overwhelmed by the physical, financial, and emotional impact of the incident, and they simply want justice and fair compensation for what happened.
No matter the circumstances, most people who contact us feel stressed out. They have a lot of questions and they’re nervous about talking to a lawyer.
Let us put your mind at ease. The process of speaking with us should absolutely not add to your stress. It doesn’t need to be scary or intimidating. In fact, working with one of our lawyers is simpler and easier than most people think.
In this article, we’ll look at the common emotions people experience when they contact us. We’ll discuss what you can expect from our attorneys and support staff. And we’ll walk you through the process of how we determine whether or not you have a case. Our "Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer: FAQs" article answers frequently asked questions about the process and working with a personal injury lawyer.
4 common emotions people experience in personal injury cases
After a serious injury, your attention is pulled away from the one place where it should be ― on your health and recovery. Instead, you face the pressure of creditors, employers, and insurance companies that often try to place the blame on you, the victim.
Here are some common emotions people are feeling when they contact us about a potential personal injury case:
Nervous about the process. This is especially true for people who have never needed to speak with a lawyer or worry about wasting their valuable time. What will they think of me and expect from me? What if I don’t have any notes prepared? What if my injuries are affecting my energy, mobility, memory, or ability to think clearly? I have no idea how this process works.
Relax. All those things are OK. We talk to people every day who are facing the most difficult challenges of their lives. We expect a roller coaster of emotions. You do not need to have any notes prepared. All you need is to be yourself, speak with us honestly, tell us your story, and be willing to tackle your problems with us. We will help you through the process, from finding solutions to your immediate needs to helping you manage your ongoing medical care. Everything we discuss is confidential and protected under the law. It is never a waste of time for us to work with people in need of help. That’s why we do what we do.
Worried about money. Many people who contact our personal injury lawyers are already struggling to make ends meet. They have a table piled high with medical bills and other debts. They’ve lost time at work, or are disabled. Naturally, they can’t take on other expenses. They want to know: How much will it cost for a lawyer to review my case?
You pay nothing up front and nothing unless we win your case. We will talk with you and review your situation free of charge. This is true even if we decide you don’t have a viable claim. If we do take your case and win a settlement or a jury verdict in your favor, a percentage of the compensation goes to pay for our costs and the work done by our legal team. The percentage varies depending on the details and complexity of the case.
Guilty about suing. “I’m not the type of person who sues someone.” “I never thought I would need a lawyer.” If this is how you feel, you’re in good company. It says a lot about your values and that you view the justice system and lawsuits seriously. So do we.
There’s often discomfort or feelings of guilt in taking legal action against another individual or an entire company. We understand that. But there are other factors that must be considered. When people are negligent, and someone is hurt or killed, the person at fault must be held accountable. As a society, legal action is one of the only deterrents we have against reckless and inconsiderate behavior. For hundreds of years, this has been a core principal of the American justice system.
Powerless. Your life has been turned upside down and your future is uncertain. You’re frustrated that no one would listen to you or give you the answers you need. Insurance companies talk down to you, refuse to accept any responsibility and use manipulative tactics to deny and delay your claim. You’re confused about the paperwork and stressed about the doctor appointments. You feel isolated, worried, and powerless. These are common experiences we hear from people who have been injured because of someone else’s negligent actions.
We give you the space and time to express that anger. It’s our job to listen and make sure you are heard! The frustration you have experienced, in fact, is part of your case. We want you to feel safe and protected and we will do everything we can to help you regain your voice, your power, and get back to living your life.
From the first conversation to a decision about your case
Personal Injury clients come to Berman & Simmons in a number of different ways. Many clients are referred to us by other law firms or individual lawyers throughout Maine, New England, or around the country based on our reputation as “the best plaintiffs' personal injury firm in Maine” and “the gold standard in personal injury law.” Some hear about us through relatives, friends, past clients, or in the news, while others find us by searching online.
Do you have a valid claim? Always, the first task is for us to determine whether or not you have a valid claim. A bad result alone is not enough to establish negligence. We will need to prove that you suffered a substantial personal injury and the injury was directly caused by the negligence of another party. This can take days, weeks, or even a period of months for more complex cases.
If you’ve been in a serious accident or harmed by someone else’s negligence, it’s important to consult with us as soon as possible as critical evidence can be lost or become unavailable. Also, Maine has strict statutes of limitations for filing personal injury claims.
According to DMV.org, personal injury attorneys can help when:
- A serious injury has occurred that involved broken bones, hospitalization, or potential permanent damage.
- A death has resulted from the accident.
- Fault is clearly an issue.
- The accident occurred in a construction area.
- A police report does not accurately describe the accident and puts you at fault.
- The limits of your liability insurance are low.
- You have no insurance, or your insurance company suggests that you did not pay your premium.
- Your insurer drags its feet on getting you a settlement.
- Your insurer involves its own attorney.
Free consultation. Call us, fill out the simple form on our website, or stop by one of our offices in Portland, Lewiston, or Bangor to start the process. We’ll be in touch for more information or to schedule an appointment if needed. We’re happy to meet with you at the hospital or your home if necessary. Everything we discuss is confidential and protected under the law.
Decision. We will let you know if we believe you have a valid claim after the initial call or meeting with you. If we move forward with litigation, our attorneys and staff will then take it from there and do everything else that needs to be done, including obtaining and reviewing records relevant to your case, such as accident reports and other law enforcement documents, employer records, insurance and/or medical records, and other information.
Why choose Berman & Simmons to handle your personal injury claim?
Results. We have won many of the largest jury verdicts and settlements in Maine history. Two of our landmark cases have been recognized in The National Law Journal’s Top 100 U.S. Verdicts and many of our cases have advanced Maine law to protect the rights of those who have been injured or harmed because of someone else's negligence.
Reputation. Founded more than 100 years ago, the firm is recognized nationally for its record of success in trials, a fearless approach to litigation, and for standing up for working people against powerful defendants.
Relationships. We care about our clients. We listen. We follow through on our promises. You’ll have a team behind you.