How soon should I get a lawyer?
When you’re hurt because of the actions of someone else, you may wonder what to do next. You may need to seek medical treatment. You may not be able to work. It can be a time of uncertainty for you and your family.
You may have a right to significant compensation for your injuries. In order to preserve this right and pursue fair payment in your case, you need to take certain legal actions. For that reason, it helps to hire an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Where do they start?
An attorney begins preparing your case on the same day that they become your lawyer. Time lost is often evidence lost. Your attorney wants to begin as soon as possible in order to identify witnesses and take their statements. Witnesses might have good intentions, but their memories can fade over time. It’s important for your attorney to begin gathering evidence as soon as possible.
When your attorney identifies witnesses, they can ask them for written statements. If a witness doesn’t willingly give their version of events, your attorney can prepare a notice that requires them to submit to a deposition. Even a law enforcement officer might have valuable information that your attorney needs to document before they forget important details.
Preparing court documents
If you’re ready to file your case, an personal injury lawyer can help you prepare accurate documents that demand full compensation for all of your damages. Court documents have requirements. Errors can be fatal to your case before it even begins. You have to file the documents in the court with jurisdiction and serve the other party. An attorney can do all of this carefully and in a way that preserves all of your rights.
You may also want to bring pretrial motions as you prepare for court. These motions might ask the court to exclude certain types of evidence that the other side wants to admit at trial. You may need to ask the court for more time, or you may need to enforce a discovery demand that you’ve placed on the other party. If you don’t make these assertions properly, you can lose your right to make the requests. It’s helpful to have an attorney on board as soon as possible in order to work on strategy and bring these types of pretrial proceedings in an effective way.
Another reason that it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible is because you have time limits to bring your case. In New York, the clock starts ticking on your time to file a case from the second that you’re hurt. If you miss your window, you can’t ever hold the responsible person accountable. This restriction is called the statute of limitations.
In some cases, the statute of limitations may be as little as one year. For most car accident and negligence cases, the limitation is three years. This is a strict deadline. If you miss it by even a day, the result can be a quick dismissal of your case.
Getting a lawyer as soon as possible is an effective way to make sure that you meet this deadline. The attorney can determine what time limitation applies to your case. Attorneys are used to working under tight deadlines. If they need to prepare your documents quickly, they have the skills necessary to get the job done.
Taking the best steps
To preserve your rights to the fullest extent of the law, it’s best to get a lawyer as soon as possible. The right attorney works with you from the beginning of the case all the way through to its resolution. They can advise you on what types of damages to request. Whether you take your case to trial or receive a fair settlement offer before trial, getting your attorney on board as soon as possible can help you make a full recovery for your injuries.