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The Woman’s Guide to Personal Injury
Help from Skilled Colorado Springs Personal Injury Lawyers
Lots of lawyers claim that they are here to help when you get hurt. But look a little closer at what they have to say. Mostly, lawyers talk about themselves. And it doesn’t seem like anyone says anything about what’s different when the person who gets hurt happens to be a woman.
But women often do get treated differently than men in personal injury and wrongful death cases. From your deposition to your damages or how the jury feels about your case, the fact that you are a woman matters every step of the way.
When looking for a lawyer to help you after a serious accident or injury, make sure whoever you call understands the difference. Knowing what to do takes more than talk. Ask the lawyers you contact for a list of real recoveries in serious cases involving women.
And make sure that the lawyer you hire knows the following.
10 Things Every Woman’s Personal Injury Lawyer Should Know
1. Your family needs you to pay attention to your injury.
Women can ignore or play down their injuries. Some believe they are too busy or don’t have time to be hurt. Some put the needs of others first or think they should be able to get better all by themselves. Some don’t want to face just how much getting hurt has changed their lives.
But when it comes to a serious personal injury, not taking care of yourself hurts both you and your family. If you don’t say what is really wrong, then you can’t get treatment or compensation for it. Then, when it gets worse with age or time, your family will have to bear the burden of your care.
A lawyer used to working with women will know how to help you meet your family needs now and recover damages for future losses to help take care of you in the future.
2. Now is the time to speak up.
Sometimes, women can blame themselves when something goes wrong. Women can even get an inkling that something is off before an accident or injury happens. But intuition is not the same as responsibility.
Even if you had a sense about something that made you uncomfortable, that does not mean that your injury is your fault. You now have the chance to say what you saw and what you know. Your lawyer should make sure that the other side does not use your good manners or kind nature as a way to keep you from telling the court and jury about what happened and who’s to blame.
And, if your intuition now tells you which lawyer is the right fit for you say so, even if someone in your life has a different opinion
3. You don’t speak legal.
You may feel that, just by getting hurt, you are somehow already supposed to know everything about litigation. But lawsuits have their own language and customs. Before you think you are wrong when you don’t understand something, remember lawyers spend years learning their profession. The lawyer you choose will be your guide and translator. Your lawyer should get how hard women can be on themselves when they think they should know something and they don’t. They should use plain English and explain every stage of the process so that you have a clear understanding of your case and what is going on.
4. They will try to bully you.
Sad but true, women who bring personal injury and wrongful deaths claim can face bullying from the other side. Sometimes, the lawyer for the person who hurt you does it. They may be rude or sarcastic or use a mean tone. Or they may try and twist what you say to get you to change your story. Sometimes, the other side will send you to their doctor and that doctor does it. The doctor may dismiss important symptoms or act like you are faking or exaggerating your pain. Worse, this bullying happens by men and women on the other side. Lawyers who understand the bullying women plaintiffs face know how to protect their clients. They take a firm stand about the respect you deserve and stand up against anyone who tries to take you down.
5. You deserve great service.
Not every lawyer understands how to represent women. The right lawyer will make you feel like you can ask what you need to in order to be comfortable with the decisions you make. They will make time if you need to go back to talk about something you might have already discussed. The right lawyer will help you understand the big picture and the small things. They will let you know what to expect and how you can help. They will tell it to you straight, whether it’s good news or bad. Most importantly, they will respect and protect you.
6. Your feelings matter.
Bad injuries can cause a lot of complicated emotions. Too often, women also have many upsetting feelings that go with their physical injuries. That’s ok – it’s a part of getting hurt people don’t always talk about. But you need a lawyer that knows how to work with you to tell your story in a way that does not ignore or cut off your emotions. Otherwise, the jury will know you are not speaking from your heart. Worse, you can end up feeling like it’s your fault if the jury doesn’t understand you or your case. It’s not – and a lawyer who really gets women will know how to help you say what happened in your best and truest way.
7. The details make a big difference.
You will be asked to tell the story of what happened to you many times. Women really notice details, but some lawyers overlook asking you about them. The best lawyers give you time and space to get comfortable and talk about what your recall. Did you notice any strange smells? What was the light like? Did someone seem uncomfortable or just somehow off? Your memory of what was going on gets better and clearer when you take the time to explore the small things you noticed. Those details also help a jury connect to you and believe the truth.
8. One-size-fits all won’t work.
You aren’t just your kind of injury, accident, or your gender. Maybe you work outside the home and maybe you don’t. Maybe you are single or married, or maybe you used to be married but aren’t anymore. Your injury may be visible or not. People may know that you are hurt or perhaps you have tried to keep it private, especially if you got hurt because of a surgery or other medical procedure. Since your injury, you might be struggling with eating enough or weight gain because of your restrictions. Every injury is different and so is every woman. It’s a bad sign if it feels like a lawyer is trying to fit you and your case into a box. It’s an even worse one if it feels like the lawyer wants you not to be yourself. Women’s lawyers need to look past stereotypes and prejudices. They need to give you representation personalized to your specific needs and injury and see and accept you for who you really are so the jury can too.
9. It takes extra work to make sure you get your fair share.
When someone suffers a loss or injury, the law says the person who caused the loss must pay damages. Because of women’s unique roles, they and their families can suffer different kinds of losses following an injury. And women can have a different earning path than men. Some might just be hitting their stride in the workplace after taking time out to raise children. Some may have to stay in the work-force longer to take care of themselves after a divorce or to get to where a man might be earlier in life. At the same time, the way the judge or jury might decide what money a woman gets for damages can reflect the same discrimination that has led to women earning less than men in the workplace. Your lawyer should know how to keep inequalities against women from limiting the damages you get. That way, they can truly prove all the kinds of losses your injury has caused.
10. You will need your friends.
From who to hire to what to wear to court, now is the time to turn to your friends for advice, support, and the sounding board you need. Your friends can help in more ways than you know from picking up kids to just spending time with you when you are down. And whether your lawyer is male or female, the best of them can end up feeling like a friend by the time your case is done. Someone you can talk to with about your worries and concerns and trust to give you solid advice when you need to decide what to do next.
Derry Adams and Sally Spector © 2018.
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