A decision for a Personal Injury lawyer is one hard choice facing anyone who has sustained any form of injury, either in the course of employment or otherwise. However, there are instances where an injured person or victim of injury would simply decide to do the negotiation on his or her own without involving any lawyer.
Therefore, does appointing an injury lawyer even necessary in a personal injury matter? Below, I have summarized 7 reasons on why it is important to appoint a personal injury lawyer to represent you in an injury claim.
- Lawyer should know the compensation estimate:
In a claim bothering on injury, a lawyer will be able to calculate and know the suitable compensation appropriate for an injured person. A regular personal injury lawyer would have had an experience on what is best and possible compensation achievable in a typical injury case.
Most times, we have seen a situation where an injured victim would be rushed into accepting compensation not in anyway deserving or commensurate with the injury sustained. Therefore it is risky for an injured victim to jump into negotiation on his or her own without seeking a legal advice.
- Evaluation and usage of evidence:
Hiring a lawyer quickly for an injury case is very appropriate because it is only lawyer who can guide on preservation of key evidence. A Court cannot rule in your favor without evidence.
Lawyer would help in quick collection of important evidence relevant to your case before the matter is even brought before Court.
- Lawyer is able to sue and know the appropriate Court to file a case:
Some employers or negligent persons causing an injury are often willing to settle before a lawsuit is filed in Court. However, in most cases, people do not explore an option of settlement until a case has been brought against them in Court.
A lawyer focusing on injury would know when and where to file a case. A lawyer knows when to call off unproductive settlement negotiation and head to Court.
Additionally, jurisdiction is very critical to filing of a case in Nigeria. In fact, getting an appropriate Court for filing a lawsuit wrong could be fatal to such case. A case might be struck out if it is wrongly commenced; leading to extraneous expenses and further imperils a chance of meaningful compensation.
- Lawyer may take an injury case based on contingency fee:
Contingency fee is a way of hiring a lawyer without upfront payment of lawyer’s professional fees.
Over the years, it has been discovered that a lot of poor and other people facing financial difficulties are willing to forgo their rights because they are unable to hire a lawyer. However, some personal injury law firms now offer a contingency fees services to assist injured victims in some cases, depending on the circumstances of such case.
There are various terms and conditions attached to such service. For instance, in Resolution Law Firm, a lawyer must satisfy that someone is unable to afford any legal fees before undertaking to take the case on contingency scheme.
- Investigative Work & Analysis:
An injury lawyer would likely commence a discreet investigation of an injury matter before such lawyer will start seeking any compensation or filing a case in Court.
Injury compensation under Nigeria law depends on how and where it occurred. The circumstances leading to such injury is also relevant.
There is a compensation put in place for those who sustained injury in their course of employments pursuant to Employees compensation Scheme. A state like Lagos also has a specific law that emphasis on the civil action when an injury is sustained by anyone and at any place.
It is not all injury or accident matters that are automatically worth of a compensation or remedy. However, most injured victims are entitled to some kind of compensation.
An injured person is advised to speak to a lawyer who will analyze and investigate the injury before advising on appropriate path to follow.
- Settlement Out of Court if Necessary:
Unfortunately, it is not all injury cases that must end up with full trial in Court. Personal injury cases are stressful. Besides, litigation in Nigeria could take a long time due to limited number of courts and huge numbers of cases before every court.
By settling out of Court, it means an injured person will undertake to discontinue an ongoing case or give up all his or her right to further suing the defendant or party at fault in exchange for monetary compensation.
As an experienced personal injury lawyer, I often advise clients to go for a settlement out of Court if the amount offered is reasonable. Of course I am willing to continue fighting in Court, on behalf of my clients, where the defendant has decided to be unreasonable in compensation being offered.
- Maintaining Composure:
An injured person is often in a condition of emotional shock. Therefore, it is always advisable that an injured victim speaks to someone who has dealt with similar situation he or she is facing before.
Some injured victims often make mistakes of settling for just anything when faced with this traumatic situation.
Meanwhile, a lawyer would calm you down and let you know all available options for you.
Written by Olusola Jegede, a Partner at Resolution Law Firm, Lagos.