When a reckless driver hits you, or you slip and fall, you quickly start to wonder how you can seek compensation for your losses. While it is easy to decide to file an injury claim against someone, choosing the right personal injury lawyer for your case is not as easy. However, hiring the right attorney is essential for the success of your case.
There are many stereotypes that people have against lawyers. Some people believe them to be money hungry and only concerned with getting as much money out of you as possible. While that sentiment might apply to some lawyers, most personal injury lawyers are just as passionate about helping you win your case as you are.
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer for your situation
Each person will have different thoughts as they think about how to choose the best lawyer. Maybe it matters to you whether you personally get along with your personal injury lawyer; maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you want to reach out to a personal injury lawyer who is part of a large law firm. Maybe you want a smaller firm that will treat you more like family. One of the most important factors you want to consider is the type of accident that happened to you.
When you are going up against insurance companies that have multiple lawyers at their disposal, you need the right personal injury lawyer on your side. When choosing a personal injury lawyer, there are some important factors to consider.
Find someone you can trust
When choosing a personal injury lawyer, one of the most important things they can establish is trust. It does not matter if the lawyer is well known or is all over television commercials and billboards. If you do not trust the personal injury lawyer on a basic level, you should not hire them for their services. You will need to rely on their professional analysis and advice, and if you spend weeks or months collaborating, you need to trust one another.
Make sure they practice open communication
Another equally important factor that is just as important as trust is open communication. You want a personal injury lawyer who honestly communicates with you. Changes and updates can happen anytime in your case, and you should be focusing on your physical recovery and treatment. It can be extremely difficult to feel confident about the progress of your claim when you are unaware of what is going on. You need a personal injury lawyer who goes above and beyond to keep you aware of the updates of your lawsuit and is easy to remain in touch with.
Choose a lawyer who is available when you need them
Another important factor that you want to consider when choosing your personal injury lawyer is their availability. Personal injury lawyers who are difficult to reach or stay in contact with are usually too busy to give your case the attention it needs.
When you first consult with your personal injury lawyer, and they are constantly being called away, that is usually a sign of what is to come. You want a personal injury lawyer who can strike the right balance and give proper attention to your case. If an attorney has too large of a caseload, they might pass your case off to others in the office who you did not choose to hire.
Experience goes a long way in winning a claim
Consider a personal injury attorney’s level of experience with cases like yours. Personal injury claims take time to resolve, and you want a personal injury lawyer with the knowledge and patience necessary to see your case through, even if it requires litigation.
You feel more confident when the personal injury lawyer representing you has experience handling similar injury cases. A commercial truck accident will bring more complex issues than many car accident claims. You want to ensure that the personal injury lawyer with the right experience is active in every step of your case.
Success with past cases
When choosing your personal injury lawyer, you want the best of the best. You do not want a lawyer whose track record with past cases is inconsistent at best or nonexistent at worst. You want a personal injury lawyer who has a presentable track record of handling past cases for their clients. If they have prior cases of personal injury accidents similar to yours, that is even better.
You also want to compare the amount of compensation they obtained for prior clients with the amount you are seeking. Once a lawyer estimates the value of your case, determine whether they have successfully obtained that amount for injured clients before.
Choose a lawyer who operates on a contingency fee basis
Another critical factor you want to consider is whether your personal injury lawyer gets paid on a contingency fee basis. Most personal injury lawyers accept a contingency fee arrangement, where you defer paying attorneys’ fees until you receive compensation from your lawsuit. That means that instead of paying your lawyer by the hour or with a retainer, you will transfer an agreed-upon percentage of your compensation to them at the conclusion of your case.
If a personal injury attorney does not charge a contingency fee, be very hesitant to hire them. There is no reason why you should have to come up with significant legal fees and costs when you are already dealing with injuries and costly medical bills. Contingency arrangements exist to ensure that all injured victims can afford legal representation, and lawyers who try to charge other types of fees likely do not have the best interest of injured people in mind.
Because many personal injury lawyers have some form of a contingency fee arrangement, you want to ensure that the percentage they will take seems reasonable. Never hesitate to meet with several different attorneys and compare their contingency fee arrangements, including how they seek reimbursement for litigation costs. If you have questions or uncertainties about how the contingency arrangement works, never hesitate to ask specific questions until you understand. Never sign a fee agreement without knowing your obligations.
Another factor you want to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer is whether they have a lot of regional experience. They should have experience bringing litigation in local civil courts since your case might head into litigation. These lawyers will also have connections to local experts and other resources that can help prove your case.
Experience handling both insurance settlements and litigation
You also want a personal injury lawyer who is just as skilled in handling lawsuits as they are with insurance claims. Even though most personal injury cases end in settlements, you do not want a lawyer who immediately wants to end your claim through a settlement.
You may deserve far more than that initial settlement. However, because the lawyer is too busy juggling other cases or does not have proper experience in court, they may suggest you accept the offer, even if it is inadequate for your losses. You should be represented by a personal injury lawyer who is just as ready to represent you at trial as they are to consider a settlement offer.
Beware of injury law firms with a reputation as settlement mills. These firms take on numerous lower-value cases that they push into a settlement, avoiding litigation whenever possible. Their goal is to “churn and burn” injury claims instead of seeing each case through with the attention it deserves. These are not the firms you want handling your injury claim, as you might end up advised to accept much less than you need.
Referrals from family and friends
Another way to choose your personal injury lawyer is to ask for referrals from family and friends. Personal injuries from accidents are more common than people think, and someone in your close circle has probably had to hire a personal injury lawyer for their case. You can ask family members and friends about their personal lawyers and their experiences with them. Similar to other services, referrals are a great way to connect to a personal injury lawyer.
However, beware of referrals for attorneys who do not primarily handle injury claims. Your friend might have a cousin who is a lawyer, but if they mostly handle family law cases, they are not the right choice for your car accident claim.
Speaking to past clients
You should never hesitate to ask to speak to an attorney’s past clients. A personal injury lawyer who is not open to allowing you to speak with their past clients is more than likely hiding something. They should have no problem recommending previous clients for you to speak with about a recommendation. Past clients can offer a more realistic review of the lawyer’s experience and ability to handle cases.
What are common injury-causing accidents?
A personal injury happens as a result of another person or entity’s negligence or wrongful conduct. Car accidents, truck crashes, dog bites, and slip and falls are some common personal injury accidents that can cause serious harm. However, each accident has different legal questions that make the resulting legal cases unique. As a result, a lawyer cannot pursue every injury case similarly. There are different factors that a lawyer must consider when handling a personal injury case.
One of the factors considered is the amount of harm a victim endures from an accident. Some accidents are more harmful than others. For example, a commercial truck collision with a motorcycle might lead to more serious injuries than a fender bender between two cars.
The severity of a victim’s injuries can increase the value of a claim and make it more difficult to resolve successfully. If you have severe injuries, always seek help from a lawyer who has handled cases with similar values to yours.
Seeking compensation for your injuries
When you have suffered injuries from your accident, you can file claims against the parties responsible for your injuries through an insurance company or a lawsuit. Because the other party bears responsibility for your injuries, they have a legal obligation to compensate you. However, obtaining that compensation can be challenging.
With a personal injury lawyer on your side, you have a legal advocate who can fight for your rights inside and outside the court. Depending on the outcome that you want for your lawsuit, you may not even have to step inside of a courtroom to fight for your compensation. You have the chance to come to some form of resolution with the insurance company. If you can settle with the insurance company, you can end your lawsuit once you reach an acceptable settlement agreement.
Another benefit of choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you is that you have someone who can strengthen your chances of holding the other parties accountable. Your ability to receive compensation from your lawsuit is greater when you have an experienced attorney handling your case. You need a legal advocate who can efficiently prove that a defendant should be liable for your accident and injuries. Your personal injury lawyer can prove the defendant’s negligent actions to an insurance company, judge, or jury.
Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer today
When another person is responsible for your personal injury, you need a skilled and passionate lawyer on your side. When choosing your personal injury lawyer, you want someone with the necessary experience that your case requires. You want a personal injury lawyer just as ready and willing to take your case to trial as they are to resolve it in a settlement. You also want a personal injury lawyer with an impeccable track record of previous success.
Keep these factors in mind, and they will lead you to the right lawyer for you. You do not have unlimited time to file a claim against an at-fault party. The sooner you speak to a personal injury lawyer, the sooner you can begin the claims process.