The impact of an injury, whether you are injured in a car, motorcycle or bicycle accident, at work, or otherwise, can be devastating. The pain alone can be debilitating enough to prevent you from working. It may also compromise your standard of living to the point where you start losing hope, especially when your finances start to suffer. The good news is that with proper legal guidance, you can access benefits and entitlements under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act of 1981, the Motor Vehicle (Third-Party Insurance) Act 1943 , through income protection or TPD insurance policy benefits (either personal, through your employer, credit card, or superannuation fund) governed by the Insurance Contracts Act 1984, or at common law.
Choosing a Good Personal Injury Lawyer
With a personal injury lawyer in Western Australia in your corner, you will have an informed ally who can represent you against the insurance company or a doubtful employer. There are many lawyers in Western Australia, however, you may want to base your choice of a personal injury lawyer on the answers you get to the following questions:
Q: Who will be handling my claim?
The importance of having the right person handle your claim cannot be overstated. Whilst that is glaringly obvious, yet annually many injured people flock to big firms and small firms, and allow their claims to be handled by lawyers with little known credentials and experience. The difference can affect the ultimate outcome with the level of compensation award you receive, the time, and also the legal costs you would have to pay.
Most lawyers undertaking personal injury litigation work charge by time. In most cases, an experienced, well credentialed lawyer will cost you less, even though comparing the two initially both may offer their services on a “No win – No Fee” basis.
Q: Are my lawyer’s experience and credentials relevant to my claim?
It may be obvious that you would not want an experienced and well credentialed criminal lawyer handling your workers’ compensation claim. Similarly, a personal injury lawyer with for example, only Melbourne based experience may well be a duck out of water attempting to represent you at Workcover WA.
Not all personal injury lawyers are the same. Some lawyers earn their experience and credentials through settlement of cases and have hardly taken a case past a settlement conference. These are easy targets for the big insurance companies, with many a case being under-settled unknown to the unassuming injured victim.
There are different pathways and avenues that can and perhaps need to be explored depending on the nature of the claim – the type of injury, and even type of employer, their insurer, down to how exactly the accident occurred. There are catastrophic injuries, psychological injuries, both suffered at work or through institutional sexual abuse, serious and not so serious back and neck injuries, each needing a different handling approach through different pathways.
There are then a variety to avenues through various courts, Workcover WA, tribunals (including the AAT where applicable) that a personal injury claim can be pursued, and a lawyer with the relevant experience and credentials using the variety of tools that he or she has accumulated over the years can achieve the best result in your claim.
Q: What is the ethos of the firm?
The reality is that most firms are profit centred. A number of large firms are now public listed corporations, which means that they are responsible to generate profits to the shareholders of the organisation. Consequently, a lot of these firms require their lawyers to meet fee budgets. How are these achieved? If the terms of the retainer are “No win – No fee”, then through a settlement.
Whilst the initial appointment may be attended to by a senior lawyer, the day to day conduct of the claim may be left to junior lawyers or paralegals who handle volumes of cases at a lower cost.
Are these lower costs passed on to the injured victim? Are the best interests of the injured victim well served?
Some smaller firms may have been bought up by these large public listed companies and continue to trade under the banner of their old name. It is important to carefully research the ethos and ownership of the firms because these are often not published on their websites. Make sure you chose a Western Australian personal injury law firm that will put your interest first above that of their own.
In Western Australia, settlement or resolution of your claim is usually “once for all”. Therefore, you cannot afford to chose the wrong personal injury lawyer or law firm to handle your claim. If in doubt, make an obligation free first appointment with a personal injury lawyer at Soul Legal to discuss these issues.
Director / Partner Soul Legal