Getting Paid More By Hiring a Lawyer

Enjoying some time off from practicing law.

Attorney Michael Ehline in Marina del Rey with Gunnarr Ehline

Why should you hire an attorney at all? Many prospective clients ask one basic question: “Can I really get more money for my accident, even after paying my attorney his contingency fee?”  The answer is multi-faceted and resoundingly, yes.

Q: Why should I bother with a lawyer?

Answer: If you or a loved one was injured due to another party not acting properly for given conditions and circumstances during the incident at hand the need for an attorney is paramount. Being able to discern a skilled attorney and not just one on the back of the phone-book is essential.

This type of skilled attorney will be able to guide you through every step towards the eventual conclusion of your case. The specialized attorneys at Ehline Law have settled hundreds of similar cases and understand the issues that you are going through and how to hold the responsible person liable. Advocates help with every aspect, including:

  • Maximizing your settlement. They quickly establish the value of your injury and trauma to get you the most possible.
  • Experience with Insurance Companies. Experience with liability insurance companies extends to nearly every aspect of the business. Trained counsel are skilled in negotiation with these corporations and will take on any insurance company attorney or adjustor that is trying to devalue your insurance claims and force you into an unfair settlement.
  • No Recovery No Fee. PI Lawyers generally work on a contingency basis– if you don’t win, then we don’t win. We do our best to help you pay your legal and medical bills and build a foundation for the rest of your life.
  • Paperwork and Motions. The Ehline Law Firm PC’s experienced litigators are pros at bringing motions and legal paperwork needed for a successful court case. We do the heavy lifting so you can begin rebuilding your daily life.
  • Hire Private Investigators. We will do our best, working with private investigators and researchers to find out the background of the liable parties.
  • Objective Separation. We make sure that you and your case stay on track. We advise you from years of experience so that you don’t make rash decisions. We don’t allow your emotions to let you take a small claim and work with you to never give in.
  • Other Forms of Claim Dispute Resolution (ADR). Our PI attorneys know from experience that lawsuits can eat much of the monetary award in fees and costs. We can help you choose if you want to arbitrate or mediate as another way to deal with dispute resolution.
  • A Coalition of Personal Big Case Experts. Our team of champions will use all the resources at our disposal to challenge the opposition until victory.
  • Qualified Case Value Evaluators. Ehline Law’s skilled attorneys have years of training and experience in cases just like this. We can estimate the value of your case, making ADR negotiations easier. This can help you determine how far to pursue the claim.
  • Top Jury Verdicts. Excellent help won’t take no for an answer. Driven counsel will help you both in and out of court. For example, Michael Ehline relishes the chance to assist you in front of a jury and make sure that you can convince them that the injuries, whether mental or physical are proportionate to the claim. Motivated representatives can convince jury pools that your emotional trauma has affected you greatly. Bodily injury, or tort lawsuits, and defamation torts can be vital portions of your case.

Reputable attorneys protect a claimants’ rights after being harmed in an accident.  They can also go further than mere protection of individual rights. A great representative can also mean attracting media attention and social change, which can lead to enforcement of personal accountability and even product recalls, for example. But for a victim, the main concern is usually getting a bigger piece of the pie from the gross settlement proceeds.

Doing certain things that only a trained lawyer can typically do, means the risks in proceeding with a defense of the claim to the insurer, can often spiral beyond the acceptable risks. A risk becomes more acceptable when a victim fails to gather evidence, secure witness statements, traffic investigation reports, and so forth. The legal advocate is precisely the person that will do the necessary things to gather and protect evidence. He or she will fight to recover financial compensation on behalf of the client for their injuries, losses and future damages. The lawyers at Ehline will be able to handle the claim in a timely manner, which may otherwise be delayed or denied by the insurance company of the at-fault party.

They do this by direct negotiations with the insurance adjustor, or when it is not possible to obtain a settlement amount that is deserved by the client, the lawyer will file a lawsuit in civil court. If a lawsuit is filed, then it will be up to a jury to determine the amount of financial award the injured plaintiff deserves. Accomplished attorneys have an intricate knowledge of negligence law, as well as the obfuscatory strategies that insurance claims adjustors use to keep settlement amounts low to benefit the insurer. Claims adjustors do not look at what is in the best interest of the victim, it is their responsibility to protect their employer and corporate shareholders. The plaintiff’s “PI lawyer”, can ensure a fair and reasonable settlement is obtained whether through negotiations or litigation. The seasoned personal injury attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of the laws that apply, and who are well practiced in a variety of specialty areas.

Preparing the Case

When an accomplished practitioner represents a client in any of these situations, they build the case by gathering evidence and investigating all the pertinent elements of the incident. They will also determine all the negligent parties that can be held liable to make certain they recover the financial award the client deserves.

Fee Agreements Conditional

Most of the better lawyers will work on a Conditional Fee Agreement, or a CFA. If they don’t win the case for you, they don’t claim a fee. When they win, they will receive the standard fee plus an uplift, also known as a success fee.

A Trained Lawyer Knows that These types of claims allow for the victim to sue for financial compensation for their losses caused by others’ actions. These can include:

  • Medical Expenses. These can include medical expenses incurred due to the incident and estimated future treatment.
  • Lost Wages. This type of damage award can include past, present, and future lost wages. This is especially the case if the victim is disabled. This can also include lost pension or 401K benefits.
  • Pain and Suffering. This can include the long and difficult healing process and ongoing medical treatment.
  • Property Loss or Damage. The Plaintiff can request financial recovery for property damage or loss, including automobiles, belongings, houses, or other property. This is meant to repair or replace items damaged due to the negligence of another party.
  • Enjoyment. These can include cases where the victim is unable to enjoy their daily life, including time with their family, their hobbies, or their activities that they did before the incident.
  • Loss of Consortium: Consortium claims can be brought by the injury victim or spouse in a wrongful death claim. This is awarded to the eligible survivor(s) due to the loss of personal relationship in matrimony from the injury or death.

A trained advocate knows that there are cases in which punitive damages can be awarded, in addition to the compensatory damages awarded. This is usually the case when the liable party acted with blatant or exceptional recklessness leading to the accident. These punitive damages normally do not affect the amount of compensatory damages awarded and are often exceptionally large with the idea of punishing the liable party for their excessive negligence.

The injured party can also be compensated due to the consequences on their life. This can include a cricket or tennis player with wrist damage unable to play in the season. This changes lifestyle and is referred to as a loss of amenity, an award in part of the claim for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity. This can be due to the inability to work, known as the loss of congenial employment, often involving compensation above the amount for the initial injury.

In order to obtain decent compensation it takes a strong case built, and a strategy, and tactics for negotiating, as well as the ultimate litigation, if necessary, in order to be successful. Counsel will ensure the claim is filed within the statute of limitations, which is a time limit to file a suit, which begins to count down on the date of the incident. This time limit will depend on the state and the type of negligent party, with state and government entities having a shorter time limit than an individual.

If this is passed, then the claimant will be unable to fight the claim. There is one exception if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the injury. In this case, they have until the day before their 21st birthday to begin proceedings. Other exceptions can include courts’ discretion to extend or waive the time limits if considered equitable. This can also be the case if the cause of the accident or injury is not immediately known, including cases such as industrial deafness.

This period begins at the moment the victim knew that they known or should have known that they had a claim. Statutes of limitations between the states and federal courts vary and function differently. For example, in Oregon cases the claim must be filed within two years. With these varying set of circumstances, the clock could begin from the date of the injury, with cases such as rape having a longer statute of limitations or claims against a government agency being as little as six months.

When preparing a case it will include investigating to gather evidence and it may include the use of expert witnesses and locating witnesses to the incident. In some cases it may be necessary to use an accident reconstruction expert to recreate the scene or other technical and medical experts.  The years of experience the attorney has will be an advantage in the negotiation and litigation process, whether it is negotiations with the claims adjuster or litigation to prove to a jury the defendant is liable.

Therefore, not only will you be able to typically get more gross payout with a representative, but even after you pay the expert his or her fee, you still can often end up with more money than if you had gone it alone. This process, if followed properly, will result in a much higher potentially successful settlement or verdict award. Going unrepresented by competent counsel is almost always a bad idea.