If you’ve been injured, whether it’s at your workplace, in a motor vehicle accident, a fall in a public place, or medical negligence, your life can change in an instant. As well as dealing with your recovery, you may need further or long-term medical treatment, or to take time off work, resulting in lost wages. But depending on your injury, you may have grounds to claim compensation to support your recovery.
Like any area of law, personal injury law can be complicated and confusing, which is why it’s important to find the right lawyer who will answer your questions, and support you through the process.
In the ACT, Maliganis Edwards Johnson (MEJ) are the personal injury law specialists, and have been protecting the rights of injured people for more than 35 years.
We chatted to MEJ partner James Treloar about the top three questions to ask your personal injury lawyer to help you understand the process, and get the best outcome for you.
Question 1: Do I have a claim?
In life, sometimes accidents happen, and just because you’ve been injured does not mean you have a case for compensation. But there are also plenty of circumstances where you may.
The best way to start the process and find out if you could have a claim? Talk to your lawyer. They’ll ask you about your injury and the circumstances around it, and advise whether you could have a case or not.
MEJ offers free initial consultations, so you can find out if you could have a claim without outlying any costs.
“There are different rules across different types of injuries, and each individual’s circumstances are unique. We can talk to you about the complex laws that apply in the ACT, which are always evolving,” says James.
“If you’ve suffered injury, loss and damage as a result of someone’s negligence, we can help.”
Question 2: How long will the process take?
Personal injury claims involve two processes: legal and medical. Both are independent of each other, but are often intertwined, and the legal process can be delayed due to medical factors.
To get an understanding of how long your own personal claim could take, the best course of action is to again speak to your lawyer, who will take into consideration the individual facts and circumstances of your case, and advise on an estimated timeframe for the process.
“In some cases, your prognosis is clear and the doctors are in agreement about what treatment you’ll need in the future, or what effect it might have on your future work circumstances. In these situations, we can resolve things quickly. With more significant claims, you may need to wait to see if you need surgery or referrals to specialists,” says James.
“Most matters settle without needing to resort to court proceedings. But if we do, when you choose MEJ you’ve got the backing of one of the largest plaintiff law firms in Canberra. We have the resources, knowledge and know-how to take the insurers on in court if that needs to happen.”
Question 3: How much do you charge?
Before deciding on a personal injury lawyer, you should get an idea of the cost, so there are no unexpected surprises down the track. Each law firm will have their own fee structure and fee schedule, so ask about it up front, and they will be able to explain what applies to your individual circumstances.
At MEJ, for the majority of cases they act on a no win no fee basis, meaning you only pay a fee if your claim is successful.
“In these cases, we cover the expensive disbursements and incidental costs of running your claim, because we know that it can be a difficult time for you, and you may be out of job or have mounting medical bills. It’s our way of backing you,” says James.
Looking for a personal injury lawyer? Contact Maliganis Edwards Johnson for a free consultation on 02 6257 2999 or visit mej.com.au.