Matthew Minner | February 7, 2021 | Personal Injury
Although there is a slight difference in the origins of the two terms, “attorney” and “lawyer” both refer to someone who has studied law and has a legal degree. The important thing is that the person is admitted to practice in Kentucky and is in good standing with the Kentucky Bar Association.
In Kentucky, you must pass the Kentucky bar examination to be admitted to practice law in the state. Otherwise, you could be charged with the unauthorized practice of law, which is a Class B misdemeanor.
Do I Need an Attorney or a Lawyer for My Personal Injury Case?
When you search for a lawyer to help you with your personal injury case, you will find that the terms “attorney” and “lawyer” are used interchangeably in Kentucky.
You can search for an attorney by name on the website for the Kentucky Bar Association. There you will find information about the attorney, such as the attorney’s status to practice law in the state, the year the attorney was admitted to practice, and the lawyer’s public discipline history.
As long as the person is admitted to practice, it does not matter whether they call themselves a lawyer or an attorney. However, there are a few other factors you might want to consider when hiring someone to represent you in a personal injury case.
How Do I Know I Am Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer?
Asking family and friends for references is one way to judge whether you are hiring a good lawyer. You can also check online referral and review sites for customer and peer ratings and reviews. However, the questions you ask during your consultation with the attorney may be the most important way to judge if the attorney is right for you.
Questions to ask an attorney include:
- How long have you practiced personal injury law?
- How many cases have you handled that are similar to my case?
- What is your success record?
- How often do you go to trial?
- What is your fee schedule?
- Who will handle my case?
- Can I talk to you if I have questions or concerns?
- How often do I receive updates about my case?
You want an attorney who has a successful track record handling the same types of cases as your case. For example, if you were injured by a defective product, you do not want to hire an attorney who only handles car accident claims. Likewise, if your injury results from a farming accident, you want a lawyer who understands farming accident cases instead of a medical malpractice attorney.
Most personal injury law firms handle a variety of injury cases. You only need to confirm that the lawyers have experience handling your type of case, not that they only handle those types of cases.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer or Attorney to Handle My Case?
The laws governing personal injury claims can be complicated. For instance, truck accident cases involve negligence claims. However, they also may involve complicated federal rules and regulations applicable to the trucking industry.
Some types of cases require comprehensive investigations to gather evidence proving fault and liability. The investigations can be time-consuming and costly.
Most accident victims do not have the time and resources to devote to an investigation. They also lack the knowledge about personal injury claims to know what steps to take to protect their legal rights.
However, a personal injury lawyer has the skills, resources, knowledge, and time to handle a comprehensive investigation. The attorney knows when experts are required to assist with the investigation and provide evidence that can help prove the legal elements of the case.
It may not be necessary to hire an attorney for every personal injury case. However, you can benefit from talking with a lawyer to determine what is in your best interest. Most lawyers offer a free consultation for accident victims.
What Should I Do if Another Party Injured Me?
If another party injures you, the steps you take after the injury can help or hurt your case.
Report the accident or injury immediately to the correct parties. For a traffic accident, call 911 to report the crash. If a fall caused your injury, report the accident to the property owner.
Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. You need to document your injuries so that you can prove the accident caused the injuries. A delay in medical care could hurt your case.
Document your injuries and damages by keeping detailed notes. Keep copies of all medical records, bills, invoices, and other documents related to your case.
Avoid talking to the insurance company for the other party until you meet with an attorney. The insurance company does not have your best interest as its priority. It is looking for a way to deny your claim or undervalue your injury claim.
Lastly, remember that there is a deadline for filing injury claims. Waiting too long to seek legal advice could result in losing your claim.