Finding the right personal injury attorneys can be a challenge. There are a lot of attorneys out there. Most lawyers advertise their names on billboards, while some do not do any sort of advertisements.
Some lawyers practice for cases that involve medical malpractices, wrongful deaths, and catastrophic injuries, and on the other hand, some attorneys concentrate on poisoning cases and on asbestos. Most lawyers have their expertise in slips and falls, car accidents, and workers’ compensation. Whether you are driving to work, shopping mall or just going around, you can get injured due to your or other person’s actions. The reason could be anything, a slippery surface, over speeding, and other damages. Without a right attorney, accident victims can have a hard time obtaining compensations and personal injury claims entitled by the personal injury law.
Attorneys are everywhere but finding the right one can be overwhelming. Here is what you should know when choosing a personal injury lawyer. Follow the below-mentioned tips to hire a lawyer which is a good fit for your case.
- Start your Research for the attorney- many lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases represent only one side of such cases either the injured person (the plaintiff) or the person who caused this accident(defendant) but never both. If you are the injured party then you have to look for a lawyer who works for Plaintiffs. The best way to start searching for a lawyer is by recommendations and word of mouth. Get in touch with a person who has had a good outcome for personal injury claims and asks for their lawyer’s number. You can rely on online sources; this will be a great jump-off for making an initial list of preferred candidates. You can search on lawyers.com.
- If you have ever retained a lawyer in the past for divorce, civil matter or contract disputes, you can contact them again for referrals and a lawyer you will feel comfortable with.
- You can ask your family and friends if they ever hired a personal injury lawyer. Ask if they had a positive experience then arrange for consolation.
Factors to consider when comparing Attorneys:-
Every case is different and every client-attorney relationship is different. There are many factors to consider when hiring an attorney to fight your personal injury case.
- Professional Experience- an attorney can have a few years of experience or of many years.
A personal injury attorney with many years of experience will have a lot of cases to handle and you might not get time to take your calls or case. However there are also chances that an experienced attorney has good relations with claim adjusters, this is a reputation of not settling the case if the offer is not good enough or is a tough litigator the insurance companies do not want to fight with. The number of caseloads also depends on types of cases.
A new attorney who has recently started their career is always on a lookout for a case and will eagerly accept clients to build their practice. There is a high chance that freshly graduate attorneys will fight harder to prove their capabilities. They will be easily accessible because of less caseload and you will be able to meet them in person for initial consultations to discuss your case. Mostly there is free consultation by the attorney.
- Education Credentials- top, bottom or middle of one’s graduation in law school doesn’t define how successful attorney will the student become. Whether the lawyer has graduated from state law school or Harvard, it won’t matter if they don’t have good negotiating skills which are necessary to get high settlements for clients. The attorney’s way of handling the case, their experience is what really counts.
- Attorney fees- the potential cost of the lawyer is one of the biggest hesitations of the injured victims. We all have heard how law firms charge hundreds of dollars per hour. You should find a lawyer who meets your needs in your suitable fee structure you feel comfortable in. The lawyer’s fee arrangements might be confusing so you should keep asking to clear all your doubts and understand the financial expectations of the lawyer. If you are tight on money then the most cost-effective way to hire an attorney is to find a firm that follows contingency fee basis for taking cases. This means that you won’t have to pay any fees unless the firm succeeds and wins the case. In contingency fee agreement all the work required to be done by an attorney to claim insurance is done for free. When you will receive your insurance claim some part of the payment will cover for attorney’s cost and fees.
- Check Reviews- the best way of learning about the lawyer’s services is from the words of previous clients. Clients write testimonials when they appreciate the services received. Reading the testimonials will give you an idea of what to expect with the lawyer or the law firm itself. Make sure to read online reviews about the attorney or law firm. Reading reviews of former clients is the best way to determine what will be your experience. Don’t be turned off by reading bad reviews of a good lawyer. Understand the reviewer’s unreasonable expectation or it could be a fake review as well. See whether the law firm or attorney responds to the reviews, how is the reply, do they care to provide a satisfactory reply.
- Follow up research – after your initial consultation with the attorney personally, it is necessary to continue research of all the attorneys before you have made the final decision. There are various resources available for personal use. Some resources highlight the individual attorney’s history. Opinions for different attorneys and professional responsibility a lawyer holds for his clients. This information can be helpful when hiring a responsible and experienced lawyer.
- Sign the contract and take a sigh of relief- after following the above-mentioned steps, you must narrow down your search and choose one personal injury lawyer you think is best for your case and you. You will have to sign a contract when you choose a law firm that takes your case. The contract sets the representation terms and the fee structure you have discussed. Read the agreement carefully and thoroughly and ask questions to clear your doubts, if you have any about the terms and conditions of the contract. You should never sign a contract that you do not fully understand or you don’t feel comfortable with. After you sign the contract, your personal injury attorney and the tea will start working on your case and get you’re your compensation.
Ask the below – mentioned questions to the attorney and also after you get the answer to your questions, decide if the particular law firm is right for you.
The best time to ask the questions is in your initial consultation. The way they answer will help you determine the lawyer is right for you.
Are you certified by the board for personal injury litigation?
Although there is no guarantee of good performance by the board certification, it means that the lawyer has good experience of the courtroom and passed a good amount of state bar examinations to qualify as a personal injury expert lawyer.
If you can’t settle my case will you take it to trial?
When the lawyer accepts your case, they take full responsibility to do everything that it takes to protect the client’s interest. You have all the right to know whether the attorney will take the case for trial in case the insurance company refuses to pay the reasonable amount of compensation for settling the case.
Clear and upfront communication can avoid any situation of settling against the counsel’s advice.
Will you be told every time the insurance company makes an offer?
It is the attorney’s duty to have transparent communication and tell you all the settlement offers made y the insurance company. You should be told whenever the company makes an offer and also the amount offered.
You need to be sure that no matter how small but communication should be prompted. The attorney should not settle the case without your acknowledgment and approval.
How long do you think my case will take?
Although it is difficult to tell the exact date of settlement for your case or to go to trials, they should be able to give you a general idea of how much time your case may take. An experienced attorney can estimate how long cases similar to yours generally take for settlement with different insurance companies or whether the case will be taken for trial.
Some other questions to ask are:-
- Have you handled cases similar to mine, and did you succeed in those?
- Do you focus on various areas of law or any particular?
- Who will be this case assigned to?
- Will you work on the case personally?
- How will you update me on the status of my case?
- What is the fee arrangement for handling personal injury cases?