First things first: You have the right to represent yourself in any legal action you choose, in the United States (there are some exceptions for family law, but not for civil or criminal cases). However, that doesn’t mean it is a good idea. Our New York personal injury lawyers want to demystify the legal process and show how a good attorney can make all the difference in your case.
- What you don’t know can hurt you.
After suffering a personal injury, most people do not know what to do. Should you take photos of the scene? Interview witnesses? Or go get medical help? The actions you take right after the accident will be scrutinized by the insurance companies involved. If you apologize, or say anything that indicates you believe yourself to be partially at fault for the accident, they will use that against you. Even if you didn’t incriminate yourself, they will still try to ruin your credibility by picking apart your statements and other communications. Don’t agree to a recorded call. Have your lawyer handle all correspondence with the insurance companies involved.
- Time matters.
Not only is there a deadline within which you must file a personal injury claim in New York, but the insurance company knows that the longer you go without payment, the more willing you are to settle for the first offer. Many insurers will offer a quick, “lowball” amount to settle with you. They know you are hurting and have bills to pay, and that money in the hand may seem more tempting than waiting to get the full compensation you deserve. But a good personal injury attorney can help you arrange for liens on your bills, so that you can get the treatment you need, now, while your attorney fights for full compensation.
- The insurance company has its own lawyers.
Big, nationwide insurers have teams of lawyers on staff to examine claims. They know every legal loophole and trick to avoid paying you. They have years of experience handling car crashes, slips-and-falls, and dog bites; while this is probably your first time getting injured and having to deal with the aftermath. If you don’t have your own lawyers, you’re outmatched in legal knowledge, and won’t have the funds to conduct a proper investigation. But Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP has the legal skills and resources to do so.
WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT WHEN YOU HIRE AN ATTORNEY
When you contact a law firm through email or by phone, you should expect to be questioned as to the nature of your case. Some law firms may invite you to the office for a sit-down meeting. This consultation should be free, as it is at Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP. If we believe you have a strong case for compensation, we will give you a retainer agreement to sign, which tells you how the firm will pay for the cost of pursuing litigation, and you will owe part of the settlement or jury verdict we negotiate for you. This is important: you should not have to pay any upfront fees to a personal injury law firm to represent you. They get paid when the case closes, and you get your compensation.
Then, your legal team goes to work. We hire investigators to go to the scene, speak to medical experts, negotiate with the insurance company, and may file a lawsuit and go all the way to a jury trial if they’re being unreasonable. Accident claims can take a long time to settle, so patience is key. It may take months or years to finalize a deal. Since the burden of responding to your opponents and filing paperwork has shifted to us, you can focus on healing and let us handle everything else. That kind of peace of mind is truly priceless.
Please call (212) 608-3734 or contact us online if you or a family member has been injured by the negligence of another party. Our NYC personal injury attorneys would be happy to review your circumstances in a free consultation.