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Sometimes, it pays to call an expert. We all have our own skills and our own professions, and we all need to rely, from time to time, on the people who have specialized in something else. That’s certainly true in law: in many situations, you won’t be able to protect your rights and fight for what is yours without a lawyer.

But that’s not to say that you don’t have a role to play in a legal situation. A great lawyer can make your case much, much stronger, but they will need your help. There’s a lot that an attorney can do for you, and a lot that you can do for your attorney!

What a lawyer can do for you

Imagine this: You’ve been injured in an accident. The accident was not your fault, but you’ve been left with devastating consequences. Perhaps you have a lingering injury that is racking up medical bills and physical therapy appointments. Maybe you’ve missed work because of the accident, or maybe you’ve had your entire career tragically derailed by your injuries. Maybe you’ve lost money in other ways, all because of this one accident, which wasn’t your fault to begin with.

This is a situation in which a personal injury lawyer can be a huge help. If you reach out to a personal injury lawyer, one may take your case and file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. Such a suit can hold the negligent party that caused the accident responsible for the financial damages that you have suffered.

Only a trained and certified lawyer who is familiar with your situation can tell you if you have a case. And only a trained and certified lawyer is qualified to file your lawsuit and represent you in court. Your lawyer can also represent you outside of course: Many personal injury lawsuits are settled before they go to trial. Your lawyer can bargain with the opposition to avoid court (which can be costly, cutting into your eventual court award) and make sure that you get a fair amount for your damages. If the deal isn’t good enough, your lawyer will advise you not to settle, and off to court your case will go!

In court, your lawyer will know the procedures and relevant local laws. They may even know the opposing lawyers and the judge — which is why it pays to hire a local attorney! A trained lawyer will give you the best possible shot at a great outcome to your case.

But they can’t do it alone.

How you can help your attorney

You won’t have to do too much work when you have a great attorney in your corner. But you do need to be mindful of the things that can help your case, including the things that happen before you even call your lawyer.

One great way to help your attorney is to carefully document the scene of your accident. If you are able to, take photographs of the scene and write down observations. If the police come, get a copy of the police report — you have a right to do so, and it can help.

Hold on to everything that demonstrates your damages. A smaller pay stub, a medical bill, a doctor’s note — each of these things can be valuable evidence. You’ll bring these documents to an initial consultation with an attorney.

You can help your attorney by acting fast, too. Call an attorney as soon as possible and set up a consultation. The more time you give your attorney to prepare a case, the more successful you are likely to be.

When you go to your consultation, speak clearly and stick to the facts. Present the documentation you have, and let the attorney help you understand your options. If it’s a good fit and you have a case, the legal process will begin. Together, you and your attorney can protect your rights.

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