Nebraska’s statute of limitations allows an injured person four years after the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit. This step typically includes filing an initial complaint and summons in civil court. In general, the earlier you take action, the more likely you are to obtain a favorable outcome.
Research lawyers in your area, and ask around for recommendations. Narrow your list to a few firms that appeal and that seem to share your values, and schedule free consultations – most firms offer this courtesy.
During these meetings, discuss your case in full detail, and take notes to compare and contrast your options. Consider asking the following questions to determine whether or not the attorney is a good fit:
An attorney who shares your values and worldview
You may be working in close contact with your lawyer and his or her team for months if not longer. Dig deep, and discover the deeper motivations for service. For reference, here’s what we promise to our clients. We will:
The mission of our firm is to help people who are in true need – the underdogs. We revolt at seeing innocent people treated badly by big insurance companies or otherwise denied fair treatment. This passion fuels our team, driving us to create a kind of sanctuary atmosphere for clients – a place they will be respected and dignified. We’ve taken this strategy beyond the courtroom, advocating state legislators (successfully) to pass stricter anti-bullying laws in Nebraska schools.
In any event, the point here isn’t about our firm – we’re not right for everyone. It’s that you should take time to get to know what drives and motivates the attorney, because the relationship will impact your future.
Once you finish your screenings, decide and commit to an attorney. (If you’re truly stuck, try this nifty “tough decision making hack” to get clarity about your intuition.)
To work effectively with your auto accident lawyer, observe the following:
Your conversations will be protected by attorney-client privilege – there’s no need to hold back. Exaggerating, omitting certain details or outright lying can hurt your case. For example, if you claim the crash caused a slipped disk, but you already receive worker’s compensation for a similar back injury, this information will likely be exposed during the discovery process. Remember that your lawyer understands Nebraska personal injury law and how to make the system work for you; the value of his or her advice largely depends on your willingness to disclose relevant information and be ethical.
There’s a reason people keep lists! When you’re at the grocery store is not the time to work to remember whether your mother in law drinks whole milk or two percent. Create an ongoing, updated list of “things to ask the lawyer about” to consolidate the process (i.e. use up less of your and the attorney’s time/energy) and free up your cognitive resources.
Productivity author, David Allen, discussed this concept at length in his bestselling books, Making It All Work and Getting Things Done. Your brain, per Allen, is excellent at figuring out what to do with information but bad at storing it and not particularly good at feeding you insights when appropriate (e.g. we often have our best ideas in the shower, not at the office). Keep a pad and pen handy by your bedside, in your car and in the bathroom to jot down concerns, so that you can “batch ask” them later to the attorney. Write down all the answers you get for future reference.
If your attorney isn’t communicating well or as often as he or she promised, speak up immediately. Take corrective action to address problems that arise, and hold your attorney and the team to their standards. If issues persist, take your business to another qualified attorney. Ultimately, your case and health are on the line, so take things seriously.
Is hiring a lawyer really worth it?
To dissuade claimants like you from taking legal action or negotiating aggressively, the insurance adjuster may warn you against hiring an attorney by suggesting that the process will cost you more than any additional compensation you might receive.
However, what statistical analysis has been done does not support that argument. The Insurance Research Council (IRC) actually studied this problem and determined that claimants in car accident cases achieved payouts 40% greater when lawyers represented them. A separate study about car crash cases that settled found that represented claimants recovered three-and-a-half times more money than did unrepresented claimants, even after subtracting attorney’s fees.
To maximize compensation and ensure fair results, the data suggest that it does indeed pay to retain a qualified car accident lawyer.
For immediate insight into your Nebraska car accident, call Inkelaar Law to get the justice you deserve at (877) 537-4665, or visit www.JusticeYouDeserve.com.