You never think it’s going to be you… until the day you’re out of the hospital and wondering about your legal options.
Maybe you were preparing dinner when that razor-sharp unopened can nearly split your hand in two. Or perhaps your child bought a new skateboard with such absurdly crooked bearings that an accident was all but inevitable in retrospect.
Whatever the circumstances, you were harmed by a defective product and you’re wondering if a product liability lawyer is the way to go. By the facts, you’ve got an open-and-shut case on your hands. And there’s no doubt that your shockingly severe injury was caused by the product you bought.
Does a product liability attorney make sense in your circumstances? Should you be on the phone with legal counsel right now? Keep reading to learn more about how hiring a lawyer who specializes in product liability cases can help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Just because you’ve got a product liability case, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you need an attorney to handle your claim. We get it. By our count, however, there are at least five really good reasons to consider hiring a product liability lawyer.
1. You Can Get Legal Advice at No Personal Cost
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers have a median salary of $126,930 per year. What this means for regular folks is that paying for even five hours of an attorney’s time could cost you over a week’s worth of groceries. And that’s before we point out that lawsuits can often stretch out over several months and years.
If Warren Buffett was to call you up tomorrow and say, “I’d like to give you some financial advice. I’ll tell you everything I know and I’ll give you a list of my best stock picks for free.”, you’d be crazy not to hear him out. When you’ve got a potentially major settlement ahead and you can secure expert help at no cost to you, it just makes sense to book a few consultations.
With many types of civil lawsuits and personal injury claims, lawyers are often willing to collect a percentage of the judgment amount in exchange for taking on your case. As such, you don’t have to pay out of pocket for their services. So if you’re at the stage where you’re openly asking questions like “What is product liability?” or “How strong is my case?”, it literally won’t cost you anything to start a conversation.
2. Lawyers Are Often Skilled Negotiators
Corporate America is a place where people get paid big bucks to make things happen. They have departments that oversee the departments that deal with other departments. And they have incredibly knowledgable compliance and contract experts on speed dial.
So it should come as no surprise to you that many of these businesses will have entire teams stacked with high-powered lawyers who are all chomping at the bit to trip you up and talk you into settling for as little as possible. Depending on the nature of your injury or the details of your case, you could find yourself tempted by lowball offers and cheap settlement terms. That’s where having an experienced negotiator on your side of the table can have a major effect on the outcome of your case.
But of course, there’s a trick to this. For instance, there’s a huge difference between a lawyer like Courtney Lanier Sarofim, who has been in this field for more than a decade, and a fresh graduate who’s never attended a deposition. Either way, if you make negotiation skills a priority in your legal search, you and your lawsuit will be better off for it.
3. Lawyers Can Help You Navigate the Legal Process
Although the words “I’ll sue you!” might sound like a hilarious punchline in a sitcom, initiating a lawsuit and seeing it through can be complicated. First, you’ve got forms to fill out and courthouses to visit. And second, you have to stay on top of deadlines while securing the evidence you need through discovery.
For people who work in the legal field, civil litigation is often like going on a hike that requires several maps and a reliable GPS to survive. And if you’re new to the whole process, you might as well be climbing that mountain on your own without a map. When you’ve got an attorney looking after all the details and making sure that you have the right documents and dates, the path from “I’m going to sue.” to “I got a reasonable payout.” becomes a lot more straightforward.
4. A Lawyer Can Help You Present a Stronger Case
If you’ve ever watched a detective show or read a mystery novel, you’ll know that 9 times out of 10, there’s always a scene where the Sherlock Holmes of the story says something like, “It was clever. I was nearly fooled. But the criminal made this crucial mistake.”.
This might make for some riveting TV. But when you’re trying to argue that you were harmed by a defective product, you don’t want the other side’s attorneys to be successfully making statements to that effect.
The truth is that you can’t just walk into court and say whatever you want. In many cases, there’s evidence you need to preserve. And sometimes the decisions you make — like seeing a doctor or documenting your injuries — have the potential to either kill your case or blow everything wide open.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to tell you what to do. And, perhaps more importantly, they’ll be able to tell you what not to do.
5. You Can Get Paid in Less Time
Imagine that you’re trying to fly a rocket ship to the moon. If you were to get a bunch of non-scientists together, everything from constructing the ship to securing materials and calculating your trajectory would be a time-consuming uphill battle. But if you replace that rag-tag group of randoms with NASA’s best, suddenly outer space isn’t just a realistic possibility — you can get everything ready in significantly less time.
When you’re representing yourself in a lawsuit, everything becomes a lot harder. And if you’re like most people who are recovering from an injury, you might not have the time or the energy to learn all about the finer details of making a successful defective product claim.
One of the perks of hiring a product liability lawyer is that you have expertise, knowledge, and experience on your side. And when you don’t have unnecessary delays holding up your settlement or your trial, it becomes more likely that you’ll see the money in your bank account sooner.
When Should You Hire a Product Liability Lawyer?
The McDonald’s Hot Coffee case was major news in 1994. And believe it or not, the whole situation began with an elderly woman ordering coffee at a McDonald’s drive-through. As she was taking off the lid to add sugar and cream to her drink, the coffee was spilled on her legs and she sued the world-famous burger chain for her injuries.
When this first came out, a lot of people had a good laugh at the headline. “That’s why warning labels are necessary.” some said. “Spilled coffee sucks, but is it really worth going to court over?”, others asked.
But in the end, the jury awarded her $200,000 for her pain and suffering. That’s a full ten times more than the $20,000 she was initially seeking.
Imagine what might have happened if she hadn’t found legal counsel right away. Would she have settled for the company’s low-ball counteroffer? Would she have been able to claim that much if she had failed to document her injuries?
A product liability lawyer will understand all of these details and will be able to tell you exactly what you need to do for your case. That’s why it’s important to find legal counsel as soon as the words “I should sue them!” have crossed your mind. It’s in the best interests of your case.
Position Your Product Liability Case for Success
Whether you’re talking about buying a new car or picking up a cup of coffee, nobody expects to be physically injured by an item they’ve purchased. So much so that if you’ve been hurt by a damaged product, you may be entitled to compensation.
To increase your chances of getting the money that you deserve, however, you may want to hire a product liability lawyer. The legal expertise they bring to the table is useful, free, and invaluable to your lawsuit.
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