How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Have you recently fallen victim to a severe injury? Physical and psychological injuries might occur as a result of an accident or a negligent act of another person. Numerous people get injured in car, slip and fall, and pedestrian accidents. In such cases, victims need to file a claim to receive the necessary compensation.
In order to improve the chances of winning a claim, victims are advised to hire the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury cases include auto, bicycle, boating, aviation, motorcycle, pedestrian, and construction accidents, as well as animal bite, brain, burn, and spinal cord injuries.
Lawyers specializing in tort law are responsible for investigating the claims of their clients, gathering evidence, drafting motions, interviewing witnesses, and taking the case to trial. Their ultimate goal is for the victims and their families to get justice.
The tips below will pave your way to hiring the best personal injury lawyer.
Understand Your Case Requirements
The first point of consideration before hiring a personal injury lawyer is understanding the basics of your case. Personal injury law, otherwise known as tort law, focuses on cases where victims have been injured because of the negligence of another person. Therefore, you must hire an attorney that specializes in this field of law and has experience in handling such cases.
Moreover, the type of accident is another crucial factor to take into account when hiring an attorney. Some lawyers devote their careers to handling cases for clients who have suffered minor injuries, whereas others represent individuals with catastrophic injuries. It’s paramount for the professional you hire to have an understanding of the treatments and medical diagnoses specific to your case.
For instance, some personal injury lawyers place their focus on helping people with spinal cord, orthopedic, and slip and fall injuries. Make sure you click here to check out the most common services provided by personal injury lawyers. These professionals are expected to collaborate with reputable medical experts in the field of neuropsychiatry, neurology, neuropsychology, and psychology to assess the condition of their clients.
Consider Their Experience
The experience of personal injury lawyers is vital for overcoming the obstacles that obstruct the way to reaching the desired outcome. Only experienced professionals know the tricks of insurance companies, whose goal is to manipulate victims into receiving a lower compensation. Some insurance companies offer payment as a way of settlement, whereas others require taking the case to court. Consequently, you should look for an attorney with litigation experience who has represented numerous clients on trials in the past.
In order to resolve personal injury claims, these legal representatives need not only extensive experience but also negotiating tactics. When analyzing the experience records of candidates, pay close attention to their history with cases like yours. For instance, if you have suffered from a spinal cord injury, you need the assistance of a lawyer who has won compensation in many such cases.
Learn About Their Reputation
The reputation of personal injury attorneys speaks volumes about their reliability and expertise. It’s of absolute importance for your attorney to be respected and well-recognized in the community. Established attorneys receive recognition by winning professional awards and becoming members of renowned lawyer associations. Such information is usually found on their websites, which is why you should spare some time to visit the sites of all candidates.
In addition, the disciplinary record of candidates is also worth considering. It shows whether clients have filed ethics complaints against them due to behaving unethically. Individuals have the right to file complaints against their attorneys in the event of not getting any information about the cases, missing deadlines, etc. Since these complaints are filed with the state bar, remember to check the official state bar website to check for any suspensions and disbarments. Follow this link, https://www.britannica.com/topic/disbarment, to check the procedure for disbarment.
Furthermore, many individuals hesitate whether to hire a small or large law firm to handle their cases. Even though large firms are considered more capable of dealing with insurance companies, the size of the company has little to do with their professionalism. Big firms aren’t likely to provide the same amount of personal attention to all cases, as there are simply too many to handle.
The time and concern large offices invest into the claims of their clients are incomparable to the effort invested by small law firms. Personal injury lawyers employed in small companies are usually more available and devoted to their clients. Hence, during the interviews, make sure you find out which lawyer is going to take the main responsibility for your case. Also, you should be informed about which tasks will be handled by a paralegal.
Check Testimonials and Reviews
The word of former clients is of indispensable importance in the process of learning more about your candidates. Take some time to view testimonials from previous clients, which are even available in the form of testimonial videos. Many clients decide to write about their personal experiences to describe how they feel about their lawyers.
Apart from testimonials, you can read online reviews to get familiar with the experiences of other people. A couple of bad reviews shouldn’t dissuade you from giving a particular attorney a chance. Read bad reviews carefully by analyzing the tone of the reviewer. Sometimes, reviewers speak ill of their attorneys simply because their expectations were unrealistic.
Additionally, don’t forget to check the responses of law firms to the posted reviews. It’s important for companies to provide answers to the reviews as a way of showing appreciation for the opinion of their clients. Nevertheless, some law firms don’t bother responding to written testimonials, which speaks a lot about their relationship with clients.
Ask the Right Questions
After narrowing down the list of potential personal injury lawyers to several most promising candidates, you should start the screening process. Get in touch with the attorneys and schedule initial consultations to discuss your situation with each one of them. You are strongly advised to prepare the questions beforehand so as not to forget any of them while having a conversation with the lawyers.
Moreover, the questions should be focused on the experience of the attorney, his/her team, and your personal injury case. The only way to be provided with the best answers to your questions is by giving enough information to the attorney’s team about your situation. If possible, gather all the necessary information and documentation, such as police reports, medical records, accident scene photographs, witness information, etc.
This data will be helpful for the discussion, as the lawyer will be able to explain your options and rights. During the consultations, the attorneys aren’t supposed to rush through the explanation, skip the discussion about important matters, or spend the time talking on the phone. It’s vital for the lawyer to take enough time to evaluate your claim and answer all of your questions. Most importantly, you shouldn’t feel pressured into hiring anyone.
Discuss Your Settlement Goal
After introducing the lawyer to the facts of your case, you should spend some time discussing your settlement goal. There are different approaches to handling a personal injury case, which you need to discuss with your attorney. For instance, one of the approaches involves obtaining a settlement amount within a particular range while ensuring the costs are as low as possible.
Another approach is obtaining a higher amount than the one already offered by the insurance company as fast as possible. Also, you can choose to obtain the highest possible amount without giving the attorney any time limits. Even if you decide to change the approach in the middle of the process, don’t hesitate to consult your lawyer. For example, you might change your mind waiting for too long and decide to wrap up the process as soon as possible.
Pay Attention to Communication
Communication is essential in the attorney-client relationship for the outcome to meet the expectations of both parties. It’s significant for the personal injury lawyer to keep you informed about the progress of the case, as well as ask for your opinion prior to making important decisions. The office is expected to return to your calls and emails quickly instead of leaving you to wonder about the status of the case.
Furthermore, personal injury lawyers should be both good communicators and listeners. They are supposed to explain the legal process in detail but also be willing to listen to your opinion and insight. Communicating on a regular basis is what makes the entire legal process less stressful for you as a client. After getting injured due to someone else’s negligence, the last thing you need is for the process of receiving compensation to be stressful and complicated.
Get Informed About the Payment Model
Many individuals who have suffered injuries because of being in an accident are hesitant about hiring legal assistance. The reason for their hesitation is the fear of not being able to cover the fees charged by legal representatives. Lawyers are notorious for charging large sums of money for consultations and phone calls. Nevertheless, not all personal injury attorneys use the same fee structure to charge for their services.
The fee structure of the legal representative you choose should comply with your finances. Victims with a limited budget should look for professionals working on a contingency-fee-basis. This type of agreement involves paying no money unless you receive compensation. Contingency-fee agreements exempt clients from paying any fees during the preparation and processing of the insurance claim. Even in the event of filing a lawsuit, claimants aren’t charged anything.
Nevertheless, upon receiving the long-expected compensation, you’ll use a portion of this sum to cover the costs and fees of the attorney. The contingency fee agreement you sign is supposed to include the payment percentage your lawyer would receive if the case has a successful resolution. These agreements stand to benefit victims, as they won’t have to worry about the cost of hiring an attorney. Keep in mind that personal injury lawyers only take cases on contingency if they are confident in the outcome.
Check if They Offer Additional Resources
Besides offering standard legal assistance, some attorneys provide additional resources to make the entire experience smoother and hassle-free for clients. For example, some personal injury lawyers have a professional network of medical professionals, which helps victims in the choice of treatment.
Certain attorneys assist victims in finding doctors who work on a lien basis. As a result, your medical expenses will be taken out of the settlement. They also might offer additional services like lien negotiation or property damage valuation. In case you are interested in being provided with such services, remember to check the additional resources offered by legal representatives.
Follow Up With Some of the Candidates
Once the screening procedure is over, you are suggested to compare the experience, track record, and services of all candidates. In case you have some lingering questions and concerns about any of the candidates, call them back to have your questions answered.
Make sure to write down the follow-up questions in your notebook so as for the over-the-phone discussion to be productive. Following these conversations, think about the way in which each candidate made you feel. It’s absolutely important for you to feel comfortable with the person you hire.
Sign The Contract
The ultimate step of the hiring journey is signing a contract with the law firm you choose. The contract is expected to include the representation terms and fee structure you agreed upon. Make sure no important details are excluded from the document.
You should fully understand the terms before signing the paperwork. If some of the terms are too complex or unclear to you, have the attorney explain these terms. Once you sign the contract, the lawyer will start working on your case.
The Bottom Line
If you have recently suffered an accident, let a legal representative help you receive justice.
These professionals strive to make the experience the least stressful for victims!