Learn about the seven questions to ask a personal injury lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. Discover cases covered by personal injury law and the qualities of an injury attorney.
When a person gets injured from the negligent actions of another person, their claim for damages comes under a branch of tort law known as personal injury. The personal injury laws of various states allow an injured person to institute a personal injury claim and get compensated for their losses. Several factors give rise to a personal injury claim.
Some elements must be available for the claim to be valid. In addition, an injured victim may consider working with a personal injury attorney on their case. This article looks at all these and the pertinent questions to ask a Columbus personal injury attorney before or after hiring one.
If you find yourself or someone you know a victim of a personal injury case, consider reaching out to the attorneys at Babin Law, LLC. We have a dedicated team of experienced attorneys that have been helping injured victims for years.
What Type of Claim Falls Under Personal Injury Law?
Not all civil wrongs fall under the category of personal injury law. For a case to get classified as personal injury, the victim must have suffered physical bodily harm, emotional injuries, or harm to their reputation or character. Below are the types of claims that come under personal injury law.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
A vast majority of personal injury claims originate from car accidents. This is because in Ohio and all over the United States, traffic collisions happen daily. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in the first six months of 2020, traffic fatalities rose 4.6 percent from the first nine months of 2019.
This high number of crash injuries and death impacts the number of compensation claims yearly. The at-fault driver owes an injured victim a duty of care. Once the person breaches that duty and such breach causes injury and damages to the victim, they will compensate them.
Slip and Fall Cases
Under premises liability law, property owners must keep their premises safe for visitors and licensees. If a hazardous condition injures a paying or invited legal visitor or licensee, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner. However, a trespasser who enters a property without the owner's consent cannot file a personal injury claim.
A 2018 report by CNBC named medical negligence the third leading cause of death in the United States. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to uphold the standard of care in the medical profession. For a claim of this nature to succeed, there must be a doctor-patient relationship, and the injured party must be able to link the substandard medical care to their injury.
The majority of injuries from defective products are either from design or manufacturing defects. Here, the victim would have to prove that the manufacturer knew of such a defect and failed to warn the public. When commencing a claim for financial compensation from product defects, consider working with an experienced lawyer.
Defamation (Libel and Slander)
When a person defames another, they cause an injury to the person's reputation with their untrue statements. For this reason, the law allows a defamed person to get compensation. An average person needs to show that the defendant made the statement and they suffered "actual harm." Find out from our experienced attorneys what constitutes "actual harm."
Other cases that come under personal injury law are dog bites, assault, battery, and other intentional torts. In either of these cases, the victim must show the elements of negligence. They must prove:
- There was a duty of care.
- The defendant, by their bad conduct, breached the legal duty
- The fault party caused them actual physical harm and emotional distress
- The negligent conduct led to actual damages
Top Seven Questions To Ask Your Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have a case like any of the above, you might want to speak with a personal injury attorney about your case. Our legal team has handled these types of cases for years, and we know that most accident victims do not know the legal questions to ask their attorney. For this reason, we put together seven top common questions you should ask at an initial consultation.
1. Have You Handled This Type of Case Before?
It's not enough that a lawyer or law firm claims they handle personal injury cases. It would help if you found out for yourself by asking them. Suppose you were in a car accident involving multiple parties with no clear fault party. You should ask your lawyer if they have experience handling that type of case and can help you identify the negligent party.
If they give you a yes or no answer, press for more information. Ask about their track record and where you can read client reviews. You want a lawyer who has experience that is relevant to your case. You can't have a child custody lawyer handling a fatal injury accident case.
2. Do You Have Trial Experience?
It's a fact that many personal injury claims do not make it to trial, but you still need to ask. A trial lawyer already knows how the legal process works and the time frame it would take. The person should also be a skilled negotiator who can go toe to toe with an insurance adjuster.
3. Do You Have Any Conflict of Interest When It Comes to My Case?
Going by the rule of professional conduct, a lawyer cannot handle a legal matter if there is a personal or professional conflict. Suppose the fault party's insurance company owner is related to your attorney. There is personal conflict, and the lawyer has an obligation to disclose such. So, ask to find out.
4. What Is Your Evaluation of My Personal Injury Case?
An experienced accident lawyer will most likely be able to make an evaluation of your case during the initial consultation. Thus, your lawyer should give you an honest and detailed evaluation of your case. However, keep in mind that there are no guarantees because of known and unknown variables.
5. What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of My Case?
After evaluating your case, your lawyer should be able to tell you its strength or weakness. Most times, this depends on the body of evidence you have. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case, and vice-versa. A strong case also determines if you'll get fair compensation.
6. What Is My Case Worth?
The entire process of a personal injury claim is designed to get you the maximum compensation. But before commencing one, you should know the worth of your claim. An experienced attorney will evaluate your injuries and losses. They will use medical records, the extent of property damage, and your level of involvement to determine what you'll get.
7. What Fees Will I Have to Pay?
Attorney fees are important and should be agreed upon at the beginning of the attorney-client relationship. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. It means their payment is contingent on winning your case. Thus, they will create a contingency fee agreement (CFA) to stipulate the percentage they will get from the settlement sum. You should ask about the contingency fee percentage during your initial consultation.
What Qualities Should a Personal Injury Lawyer Possess?
Just because a lawyer claims to have decades of experience does not mean you should hire them. There are some qualities an experienced personal injury lawyer should possess. Below are some of them.
- Great Investigative Skills: Knowledge of the law is not the only thing that wins cases. Since he who asserts must prove, you must have more evidence to prove your case than the fault party has to disprove it. Gathering evidence requires investigative skills, and your lawyer must possess them.
- Honesty: Your attorney must be honest and tell you the truth always. They must be candid about the compensatory damages you can recover and the factors likely to affect them. They should also be clear on the timeframe and the applicable laws.
- Organized: A competent personal injury lawyer will value your time and show up to meetings on time. They will be able to communicate your request properly to the fault party's insurance carrier, keep track of deadlines, and file legal documents in time.
- Great Problem-Solving Skills: No case is ever black and white. Problems may arise that need solutions and your lawyer should be able to fix them. They should also be able to interrogate and extract the truth from the fault party.
- Empathy: Empathy is a trait a personal injury attorney should have. Your lawyer must see you as a real person. They must be concerned enough about your pain to get you justice and protect your legal rights.
What Type of Compensation Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Get for You?
There are three types of damages a personal injury lawyer will seek for an injury victim. Economic damages, non-economic damages, and exemplary (punitive) damages. Economic and non-economic damages refer to tangible and intangible losses, respectively.
- Medical costs
- Mental anguish
- Property damage
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of income
Exemplary damages are awarded in lawsuits against grossly negligent bad conduct. Our experienced trial lawyers can provide a more detailed explanation.
Contact Babin Law in Columbus for a Free Case Review Today!
We know the financial difficulties personal injury victims go through. Our lawyers may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.