Whether an injury happened a few hours or a few weeks ago, if the injury was a result of someone else’s negligence, there’s a chance a personal injury lawyer needs to be involved.
Injuries can happen in a variety of situations, like an auto accident, medical malpractice or from a defective product. No matter the case, Amanda Condon, partner at Dworken & Bernstein; Art Elk, managing member of Elk & Elk; and Jeffrey Leikin, attorney and owner at Jeffrey A. Leikin Esq. LLC, all based in Cleveland, said to consult an attorney if a major injury was sustained soon after an accident and when you’re comfortable to speak with an attorney.
“Whether or not the negligence comes from an auto accident, medical malpractice or a product defect, an attorney can steer you in the right direction as far as things that need to be done immediately,” Elk said.
In the case of a car accident, an attorney can collect evidence from a car’s black box or a business’ camera before it’s erased.
Condon said contacting an attorney soon after the injury can also help determine if an attorney’s services are needed. If the person is recovering after a few weeks of physical therapy, Condon will tell them she will turn their case back over to them as it’s something that they will be able to handle.
“It’s when you get past that six-week time period and you have more significant injuries,” she said. “That’s when you really need an attorney involved because the insurance companies are not looking out for you, they’re looking out for their bottom line.”
In any accident, Leikin said not to give a statement to the insurance company because if there is future litigation, that statement can then be used as evidence.
“Because the insurance company is not there to help you and if there is future litigation, those statements never help the injured party,” he said.
When finding an attorney, Leikin said to meet with multiple people to find one the injured person would be comfortable working with.
“The individual should meet with the lawyer and be comfortable with them,” he said. “They have to have a connection because the professional relation is the same as a physician and patient. It’s built on confidence and trust and you have to have that feeling and build that relationship.”
If someone doesn’t know where to start to find a lawyer, a quick internet search may help. On an attorney or firm’s website, they can see testimony from others who have used those services and see the experience of a potential attorney.
“Your life has been derailed as a result of an injury and it’s very important that you make the right choice, choose the right attorney and make certain your attorney has the experience that your case is going to need in order to collect the evidence and prove your case in court if need be,” Elk said.
Condon said finding an attorney “takes investigation. You should go with somebody you’re comfortable with, somebody who returns your phone calls, somebody who you can ask questions to and will answer them and give you an answer you feel confident in.”