Driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance is a real problem all over the United States. In Ohio, approximately one in every seven people with a driver’s license has at least one conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI). That is about 1.1 million people. The Ohio Department of Public Safety has reported that there are nearly 45,000 people in the same state with five or more OVI convictions on their records. Two people who live in Ohio share the state record for OVI convictions. They have more then 20 each. If you have been injured by an impaired driver, you may want to talk to a personal injury lawyer.
What You Can Do to Help Your Personal Injury Case:
Get medical treatment right away. First of all, most courts do not look kindly on people who avoid getting medical treatment. It looks like they are trying to make their injuries appear worse to get more of a settlement from their personal injury case. Secondly, your documentation from your medical visits can only help your personal injury lawyer when they are negotiating your deal. You need as much documentation as you can get your hands on. Once you know you are going to sue, tell your doctor. They may make their notes more thorough.
Have someone stay on the scene and document the evidence. If the police were involved in the accident, you can get their records to help with your personal injury lawsuit. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to use them either in court or when negotiating with the other side. If you have someone who can stay on the scene to take photos and video of the wreckage, that is great. This video can be from a camera phone, it is not going to be screened for an Oscar, just used as evidence in your case.
Take your own notes. You may think that you will never forget what you are going through after an accident but you will. Even the pain will fade in your memory. Keep notes of your experiences, feelings and all of your appointments. If you have to take a taxi to the doctor’s office or to a physical therapy appointment, get a receipt. All of this can only help your personal injury attorney. Thorough documentation goes a long way in these cases.
Find a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases. It is easy to forget that, like medical doctors, lawyers specialize. You do not want a criminal law expert to handle your personal injury case, for example. Even the best criminal defense attorney would be out of their league when dealing with personal injury cases. There are lawyers who specialize even in different kinds of accidents. You want to talk to someone who has a lot of experience dealing with your kind of case. Only 2% of these cases ever see the inside of a courtroom so they need to be able to negotiate on your behalf and do it well.
Talk to a few law firms. Take advantage of their free consultation to ask all of the questions that you have. Spend some real time with the personal injury lawyer and get to know them. Ask them why they went into this kind of law and how long they have been practicing it. Ask them how much of their time is spent on personal injury law vs. the other cases they have. There may not be enough personal injury cases to warrant spending all of their time on that kind of case. How do they charge their clients? Many personal injury law firms do not charge unless they win but some do. Be perfectly clear on what their billing policy is before you hire anyone. See how comfortable you are talking to the lawyer. You need to share some very personal information so you want to be comfortable talking to them about what you have experienced.
Finding the right personal injury lawyer to handle your case is important. You need to be able to talk to them but they also need a good track record of negotiating good deals for their clients.
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