5 Things You Must Know Before Choosing Your Accident Injury/Personal Injury Lawyer

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1 5 Things You Must Know Before Choosing Your Accident Injury/Personal Injury Lawyer Injured people need lawyers, just like motor vehicles need petrol. It is no good having the best motor vehicle in the world if you don t have a licence to drive it. The same thing applies to personal injury claims; you need a qualified person (a lawyer) to drive your claim to a fair and reasonable settlement. At Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo we have 5 lawyers who practise exclusively in the area of personal injuries. They have a combined experience of more than 100 years representing injured people in personal injuries claims. During this 100 years of combined experience we have come up with what we consider to be the 5 things injured people must know before choosing their accident injury/personal injury lawyer. 1. Who Needs a Lawyer Injured people are the best people in the world to know how their injuries affect them and that they need and should be compensated. This makes injured people the worst advocates in their own claims. Any person who runs their own personal injury claim has a fool for a client! You cannot think clearly and objectively when you are in pain. One of the most important aspects of negotiation is to know the individual or company on the other side of the negotiation. What needs to be said to persuade the insurer to pay the most compensation possible? What is reasonable? Lawyers are professionals. They undergo a course of training, usually at university for between 4 and 5 years, and then they have to do further practical training after they qualify. Personal injury lawyers spend their days speaking to clients, and gathering medical reports and other evidence in relation to matters such as wage loss. Lawyers are experienced in combining this evidence into arguments that can be placed before insurance companies to invite settlement of personal injury claims. Lawyers know how to negotiate. They negotiate almost every working day of their lives. At Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo we have more than 100 years of combined experience amongst the 5 lawyers who work in our personal injuries department. During that 100 years of work we have dealt with virtually every personal injury insurance lawyer, every claims officer and every insurance company in Western Australia. Just as we have been working in the area of personal injuries law for many, many years, so have the lawyers who represent the insurance companies and the insurance

2 company claim officers. We know them all. We know what we need to say to persuade them to make an increased offer. We know what claims are worth. We know the law. We know the doctors who are the best at writing medical reports. We know how it is done. You need a lawyer to help with your personal injuries claim. You need a lawyer to help you get the best outcome. 2. You Need to Concentrate on Getting Better Personal injuries are painful. You need to go to the doctor. You often need to have investigations like x-rays. You often need to take pain medication. Being injured is stressful. It is hard to pay the bills. Seeing doctors and physiotherapists and having treatment is time consuming and stressful. Being injured also places stress on other members of the family. Often other family members will need to do some of the things that you used to do. It is easy to lose sight of what is most important in a personal injuries claim. What is most important is not the claim, it s trying to get healthy again. The compensation system is designed so that insurers pay compensation to people who are injured through the negligence of others. The compensation system is not perfect. There are many, many ways in which the compensation ultimately received, seems inadequate. It is never better to be injured and have a compensation claim than to have never been injured at all. Focus on trying to get better and keeping the family together and getting by. Focusing on getting better makes sense. You are not responsible for suffering your injuries. The injuries were due to the negligence of somebody else. It is bad enough being injured and having to do all the things that are necessary to try to get better. You should not have the stress of running your own legal claim on top of all of that. The insurer should pay for you to have independent legal representation to progress your claim and the lawyers at Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo will make that happen. That is the way the system should work. We will make it work that way. We act for injured people and not insurance companies. We, like you, are people. We don t answer to shareholders, we answer to clients. 3. All Law Firms Are Not The Same Many years ago law firms were always run by lawyers. The only people who worked in law firms were lawyers. If you rang up a law firm and asked them to assist you with a claim, you would speak to a lawyer. The lawyer would ask you about the claim and the lawyer would help you. The lawyer would often need assistance with somebody to be a receptionist or a secretary or a typist but the legal work would be done by a lawyer. It is obvious why legal work should be done by a lawyer; that s their job. That s what

3 they re trained to do. Lawyers know how to do it. Clients get charged for lawyers doing the work and the insurance companies pay most of those costs. Unfortunately this is not the way law always works in Western Australia now. Law firms are now not always owned or run by Western Australian lawyers. Sometimes they are not even owned by lawyers! Some law firms are listed on the Stock Exchange. They have to answer to shareholders who aren t lawyers. Some law firms do all sorts of things as well as representing injured people. Some Eastern States firms have offices in Western Australia and large amounts of the legal work is done in a different State. That is not our way. We live in Western Australia and we work in Western Australia. We are familiar with Western Australian companies and the Western Australian medical profession. We don t need to truck in lawyers from the Eastern States or to ask lawyers in the Eastern States for help. Sometimes now when you ring up a law firm, you don t even speak to a lawyer. There is a new breed of lawyer now. They call them paralegals. Sounds like an injured bird or something to do with a football team. Most of the lawyers working at Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo have been practising law for longer than many of the paralegals who are doing work at other firms have been alive! Some law firms will tell you that their paralegals have been trained to know what to do in a legal claim. Some law firms will tell you that legal fees will be lower because a paralegal will do a lot of the work. You shouldn t want a 25 year old paralegal with perhaps 18 months experience working in a law firm handling your personal injury claim. You shouldn t settle for second best. Claims are too important to be handled by paralegals. When your car needs a service you don t drive around a suburb looking for a spray painted sign on a wall telling you that Joe Blogs will fix your car for 50 bucks. You get your car fixed by a qualified mechanic. You want your claim handled the same way. Choose a law firm with experienced personal injury lawyers who do the work. Get the job done properly by the people qualified and experienced to do the job. Choose Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo and that is what you will get, and we ll make the insurer pay most of the legal fees. 4. Your Claim Will Not Cost You an Arm and a Leg People think lawyers are expensive. They are. So are accountants, mechanics, medical specialists, and all professionals. You are paying for knowledge and experience. This is what you need, to get the best outcome in your claim. You shouldn t worry about the hourly rate the lawyer will charge you. For lots of claims different law firms will charge the same hourly rate. This is especially the case with motor vehicle accidents and work injuries. Look at the estimate for the total cost of the job and the estimate for how much the insurer will pay. Go for the most experienced law firm you can find. They will do the job more quickly. They will know how to do it and how to deal with any problems that come up.

4 A large part of your legal fees will be paid by the insurance company. It s a bit like doctors and Medicare. But lawyers are different to doctors. At Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo we only charge you for our time when we win your case and recover compensation for you. This is at the end of the claim. We call this No success, no legal fees. Not all law firms do this. We do. We know what we are doing. The lawyers in our personal injury department have been assisting people with their claims for a combined period of more than 100 years! No, this does not mean we have an 80 year old lawyer who pops in for half a day a week! Apart from our superstar Angela who has been practising for several years (still longer than many lawyers in many other personal injury firms in Perth), the rest of our team have all been practising law for about 25 years or more! That s a lot of cases. 5. Your Personal Injury Claim Will Not Take Forever to be Finalised The time it takes to finalise a personal injury claim will depend upon the type of claim, whether negligence is admitted or not, the extent of injuries, the evidence required to persuade the insurer to pay fair and reasonable compensation and, most importantly, what the client wants to achieve. In our experience you usually need to wait until injuries have settled down before finalising claims. If you don t do this compensation is too low. Once injuries have settled down we can usually finalise work injury claims and motor vehicle claims within 6-12 months, and medical negligence and other personal injuries claims within 2-3 years or so. Occasionally people wait a bit too long before they see a lawyer. Some people think they don t need to see a lawyer until all of their injuries have settled down. This might take 6 months or more. It is always best to see a lawyer as soon as possible after being injured. It is easy to slow down a claim if that is necessary until injuries stabilise, but it can be very hard to speed up a claim. Lawyers can advise you about doctors that might be able to help with your injury. Lawyers aren t doctors, but experienced lawyers know which doctors regularly treat people with, for example, shoulder or knee injuries sustained at work. Some doctors won t see compensation patients. At Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo we can sometimes suggest a medical specialist who might be able to help and you can discuss referral to that medical specialist with your family doctor. Seeing a lawyer early may save you a lot of time in getting to the right specialist who will see and help you with dealing with your injuries. Summary When you contact the Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo personal injuries department you will speak to a lawyer. They will help you with your claim. They will tell you how long your claim is likely to take. They will tell you how much it will cost, and, when enough evidence is

5 available, they will tell you what your claim is worth. All of this is important, but it is not the most important thing. The most important thing is that the experienced lawyer in the personal injuries department of Friedman Lurie Singh & D Angelo will listen to you. That lawyer will understand that you are injured. That lawyer will help you try and work out who is responsible for your injuries and that lawyer will help you to recover fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries within a reasonable period of time, and at a fair and reasonable cost. That lawyer will make sure that the majority of your legal costs are paid by the insurance company (usually that will be 75% or more. Often, especially with workers compensation matters, it is 100%). The reason this paragraph keeps referring to that lawyer is that it will be a lawyer that helps you and runs your claim, it won t be a paralegal or a team of young lawyers and paralegals who will charge you for having meetings between themselves to work out what to do. We know what to do because the 5 lawyers in our personal injury department have been doing it for a combined period of more than 100 years. We don t need to fly someone from interstate to help you. We know what to do and we will do it. We guarantee it. We look forward to helping you.

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