October 4, 2021 | Personal Injury
Law practices come in two broad forms: transactional and litigation.
Transactional lawyers spend most of their time preparing legal documents and interacting with government agencies. Some examples of transactional lawyers include patent lawyers, securities lawyers, commercial lawyers, contract lawyers, and real estate lawyers.
Litigation lawyers spend most of their day preparing pleadings, motions, and other court documents. They argue in court and depose witnesses. These lawyers have the skills and knowledge to handle your injury case.
Here is some information about what litigators do and five reasons to hire a litigation lawyer for an accident claim.
The Different Stages of Accident Cases
Accident cases have two primary stages.
Insurance Claim and Settlement Discussions
Most accident cases begin with an insurance claim. Whether you were injured due to a car accident, slip and fall accident, or dog attack, you can usually file a claim against an insurance policy. When the person at fault for the accident has no insurance, you might make a claim against the at-fault party directly.
In either case, you and your lawyer will inform the other party that you suffered damages due to their actions and assert your legal right to compensation. Your lawyer will try to negotiate a settlement to resolve the case quickly. But if the other party is not willing to settle the case, you may need to file a lawsuit.
Litigation starts with a complaint filed in court. The complaint sets out the facts and legal theory for your claim.
Your lawyer will serve the complaint to the defendant in the case. The case will then begin in earnest. Your lawyer will exchange evidence with the other party so both of you can prepare for trial. Your lawyer might also file motions and oppose the other party’s motions for legal rulings from the court.
Litigation culminates in a trial. Most accident victims request a jury trial. This allows your litigator to present your case to 12 jurors in a Kentucky Circuit Court.
The litigator will question witnesses and work to get documents admitted into evidence. Your lawyer will also show the jury how your evidence proves the elements of your accident case.
If you have the right lawyer and the right case, the jury will return a verdict in your favor and award damages.
Five Reasons to Hire a Litigator for Your Accident Case
You might think that you need separate lawyers to handle the various parts of your case. But most accident victims hire a single injury lawyer to handle both the insurance claim and the litigation.
Here are some of the reasons this preparation for litigation will help your case.
1. Valuation of Damages
A litigator has experience with juries. This means that a litigator can look at a case and estimate a range of damages a jury could award.
This valuation of your case can help you in a few ways:
- You can decide whether to pursue your case or not
- You know when the insurer has made a fair settlement offer
- You can set your expectations for what you might receive
A lawyer’s valuation will depend on your past and future medical expenses, your past and future lost income, and your compensation for pain and suffering.
2. Assess the Merits of the Case
A litigator understands the issues that will appeal to a jury. The litigator also has experience with the legal issues that a judge might need to resolve before and during the trial. As a result, the litigator can estimate your likelihood of success if your case goes to trial.
For example, a litigator understands that juries often sympathize with individuals who have to go up against big insurance companies. But litigators also know that if you contributed to your accident by texting and driving, you could lose the jury’s sympathy, and the court could reduce your damage award.
A litigator can take all these factors into account when they estimate your chances of winning.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
Litigators have negotiation skills. Many cases settle after a lawsuit is filed. A lawsuit can be expensive to defend against, which can drive insurance companies to settle. Litigators always keep their eyes open for a possible opening in which to settle a case during litigation.
These negotiation skills will also help your lawyer settle your case before filing the lawsuit. When dealing with a claims adjuster, the lawyer can use the documents submitted with your insurance claim to persuade the insurer of the value of your case. Even if your lawyer never has to appear in court for your case, their negotiation skills can still help to resolve your case.
4. Preparation for Trial
A litigator will prepare your case as though it will go to trial. This means your lawyer will always focus on:
- Investigating the case thoroughly
- Developing evidence to prove your case
- Honing their legal arguments to match your evidence to the law
Constructing and presenting a case to a claims adjuster can have a powerful effect. Claims adjusters exist to save the insurance companies money. When a claims adjuster sees a case that the insurer will lose, the claims adjuster has an incentive to settle the case rather than taking a loss in court.
If the case does not settle, the time and effort of the litigator in preparing the case will make a lawsuit proceed more efficiently. The lawyer and their team can focus on trial strategy rather than gathering documents and collecting witness testimony.
5. Advocacy in Court
In addition to knowledge and experience, litigators have the skill to stand up in court and communicate with a judge and jury.
A successful litigator knows how to communicate clearly and persuasively. This allows the attorney to push the judge and jury toward a favorable outcome.
Contact a Litigator for Your Case
Good litigators make a name for themselves in the legal community. As you screen lawyers for your case, ask about their litigation experience. Most lawyers are happy to talk about the cases they have tried and the results they have obtained.
When you consult with lawyers about joining your case, note their ability to communicate. Remember that jurors are just like you. If you find the lawyer to be understandable and persuasive, a jury might agree.