A victim may be able to handle an ordinary personal injury case, such as a claim arising from a minor car crash, on their own. However, a products liability case may benefit from the assistance of an attorney. One reason why you may want to consult an attorney is that these cases tend to involve substantial amounts of damages. You will want to make sure to include all of the damages that you may have incurred, ranging from medical bills and lost income to pain and suffering. An attorney can help you carefully identify each type of damages and give you a sense of their potential value in your case. They also can assist you in evaluating settlement offers and determining whether to settle or go to trial.
The large amounts of money at stake in these cases also mean that defendants are more likely to aggressively contest them. When you are going up against insurers and sophisticated teams of attorneys, it may make sense to get professional representation of your own. For example, your attorney will know how to use the tools of the discovery process to get evidence from the other side, and they will understand how to respond to pre-trial motions such as a defense motion for summary judgment.
The Value of Experience and Expert Connections
Products liability lawyers may have connections in the industry and an easier time securing important expert witnesses.
Many products liability cases hinge on technical details and require the assistance of experts. An attorney may have access to a strong network of investigators, industry insiders, and other specialists. The defense will introduce experts to bolster their arguments, so the plaintiff should use experts too. This part of the case can be hard to put together on your own, especially when you are coping with your injuries and the related anxiety. Another potentially stressful issue is managing deadlines and procedural rules in your case. Hiring an attorney is a way to take this burden off your shoulders.
When you are choosing an attorney, you should make sure that you select someone who is experienced in the type of case that you are bringing. You may want to review their case results and reviews to find out about their successes in helping other victims of defective products. In some situations, a plaintiff may be able to join pre-existing litigation and benefit from the expertise and resources of attorneys and experts in that lawsuit.
The attorney who is the best fit for your case may not necessarily be the attorney with the best education or the most impressive credentials. You should pay attention to your subjective impressions as well as objective criteria, selecting someone who is a good personality fit for you. One issue to consider is whether you want to have substantial control over decision-making, or whether you would prefer to let your attorney handle most of the key decisions. Different attorneys will take different approaches to getting clients involved. At a minimum, your attorney should communicate promptly, keeping you informed as your case progresses.
Like other personal injury lawyers, attorneys who bring products liability cases generally will handle them on a contingency fee basis. They will collect a percentage of the settlement or verdict that they recover for a client, and they will not charge any fee if they do not recover anything. (However, a client may need to cover court costs and certain related expenses.) Before you sign a representation agreement, you should make sure that you understand the fee structure, the scope of the services provided, and your options for terminating the relationship.