Finding the right personal injury lawyer can make the difference between getting what you deserve for your suffering and receiving nothing.
But how can you keep the sheer number of personal injury lawyers from overwhelming you? The following guide will help make your decision easier. If you take these steps, you can rest easy knowing you’ve done everything possible to ensure a positive outcome in your case.
Not only will you learn how to decide on a personal injury lawyer, but you will also understand the importance of securing legal representation and how your attorney plays a crucial role in obtaining fair compensation.
Do Your Research
Thanks to the internet, there’s more information regarding personal injury lawyers in your area than ever. You should go to the websites of five or six of them to get a feel for their experience in cases like yours.
Check Credentials and Experience
Dig deep when you’re looking at personal injury lawyer websites. Check their “About Us” sections to get a feel for how they work. Look closely at the “Results” sections to see how the attorneys have performed in cases like yours. Check to see their experience, certifications, and other qualifications.
If the sites have testimonials, read them closely. They’ll paint a picture of how the attorneys on your lists work and the relationships they form with their clients.
Look at Online Reviews
There are also plenty of review sites where former clients can share their opinions on the representation they received.
The Human Touch
However, don’t just rely on internet information to make your choice. Don’t overlook the people in your family and circle of friends. If any of them have recent experience with a personal injury lawyer, ask them if they’re happy with their choice and if they will recommend that attorney.
Schedule Free Consultations
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to two or three personal injury lawyers, schedule free consultations.
The consultation allows you to form an attorney-client relationship. It is the best chance to determine whether or not you can work with the attorney. It’s your opportunity to discuss the details of your case and the lawyer’s opportunity to decide if you have grounds for legal action.
How to Prepare
Please don’t take this consultation lightly. Be prepared for the meeting. Bring all of the documentation relevant to the case you can, such as medical bills, pay stubs (these can show how much you make should you lose income because you can’t work), mechanic’s estimates (if you were in a car wreck), etc.
These documents will give the attorney a good idea of your accident-related financial losses, also known as damages.
Also, be prepared to ask the attorneys you consult questions.
Here are a few to keep in mind:
- How much experience do you have?
- What results have you achieved in cases like mine?
- Will you be available to answer my questions?
- Will you keep me updated on my case?
- Will you handle my case or send it to another attorney?
- Do you have experience going to trial?
Remember to pay attention to how the personal injury lawyer treats you and their staff. The way they treat you will be a good indication of the service you can expect to receive.
Fee Structures and Costs
You’ll also want to know what charges you can expect to pay out of pocket. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Their payment is contingent on their ability to win your case. If they’re successful, they receive a percentage of your settlement or court award. If not, you don’t pay anything.
However, it will help if you consider asking the attorney about any potential additional costs and expenses associated with your case. You want an attorney who will be transparent in all financial matters.
Communication and Accessibility
Effective communication is the bedrock of a successful attorney-client relationship. Pay attention to the attorney’s communication style during the consultation. You should strongly consider personal injury lawyers who say they’ll keep you informed throughout your case and promptly respond to questions.
A personal injury lawyer who maintains open lines of communication will significantly contribute to a smoother, more transparent legal process. That lawyer will also provide peace of mind, knowing they’ll be there when you need them.
Resources and Support Staff
If you’re going to win your case, you’re going to need proof showing you weren’t to blame. You’ll need an attorney to investigate the accident to uncover that proof. This investigation takes skills, resources, and a strong support staff.
Find out as much as possible about the attorney’s support team members because they’ll play a pivotal role in helping manage your case.
Important Ethical Considerations
Some attorneys will promise you’ll receive a specific amount of money before they have the case facts. This behavior isn’t ethical. You’re already going through substantial stress. The last thing you need is an attorney who makes empty promises.
You can also research the personal injury lawyers you’re considering by looking at your state’s Bar Association website. You’ll find information on whether courts have filed any disciplinary action against the attorneys or if the lawyers face any grievances.
Check the site of your local Better Business Bureau as well. See if there are any complaints from clients. However, don’t discount an attorney due to complaints. The more important thing to check is how the attorney handled them.
Making Your Final Decision
After you’ve finished your research and consultations, the time will come to choose your personal injury lawyer. Reflect on factors such as experience, communication style, and compatibility. Think about how each attorney fits your needs and objectives.
Once you’ve done your due diligence, trust your instincts and hire the attorney you feel gives you the highest likelihood of achieving a positive outcome in your case. You’ll have confidence knowing you’ve put in the work to make the best choice.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
If someone else’s negligence caused the accident leading to your injury, you’d like to think their insurance company will do what’s right and give you the money you deserve for your damages.
The hard truth is that it doesn’t happen in the real world. The at-fault party’s insurer will fight hard to protect their profits and deny your rightful compensation.
Some people think they can represent themselves against powerful insurance companies. They assume the truth will automatically prevail because they know they’re not to blame for an accident.
Those people inevitably encounter disappointment. They either receive a fraction of what they deserve or get nothing. When that happens, they’re responsible for paying all their accident-related expenses.
A proficient personal injury attorney will take every possible measure to steer you away from this unfortunate outcome. They know all the tricks insurance companies play and how to defeat them.
Experienced attorneys also deeply understand the law and know how to gather evidence that non-lawyers can’t access. The following is a look at how lawyers defeat insurer tactics.
Getting to the Truth
Not only do you need to hire a personal injury lawyer, but you must also hire one as quickly as possible. We seem to contradict ourselves since earlier, we highlighted how critical it is to do your due diligence. But while you can’t rush your research and the other steps outlined above, you must have a sense of urgency.
The investigation is the biggest reason why.
Once you hire a personal injury lawyer, they’ll immediately investigate the accident. Why is fast action so crucial? Because your attorney must start gathering proof before it disappears.
Suppose you suffered an injury in a collision with the truck. You’re certain the driver was at fault, but certainty won’t win your case. Hard evidence will. Your attorney must get an investigator to the accident scene to gather that evidence.
The investigator might look for fresh skid marks, indicating the truck driver was speeding and had to hit their brakes to avoid hitting your vehicle. There can be guardrail damage or downed signs that can also help paint a picture of what happened.
In addition, your attorney can obtain other critical evidence you likely can’t. For example, they can request data from the truck’s electronic data recorder (EDR), the “black box.” The EDR will show how fast the truck traveled, whether or not the driver applied the brakes, and provide other critical information.
There’s also a high likelihood that a nearby surveillance camera has footage of how the wreck occurred. Your personal injury lawyer can get that footage. What if your attorney suspects the truck driver was distracted due to talking or texting? They can request the driver’s phone records.
However, all of this evidence can vanish if you don’t act quickly to hire legal representation. A sudden rainstorm can wash away skid marks. The owner of the camera can tape over the footage. The earlier you hire a personal injury lawyer, the better the chances they can gather critical evidence to strengthen your case.
Fighting Insurance Company Tactics
Again, the at-fault party’s insurer will do whatever it can to deny your coming compensation. They’ll assign an adjuster to try and trick you into admitting blame.
Adjusters commonly approach accident victims to try and get “their side of the story.” Their actual plan is to ask misleading questions. Insurers design these questions to be confusing and worded in a way that will make the accident victim assume at least partial responsibility. When a victim does, the insurer uses that to reduce or deny their compensation.
If you hire a personal injury lawyer, they can shield you from this harassment. You already have enough on your plate to recover from your injury. You don’t need to deal with insurance adjuster hassles.
Adjusters are also notorious for offering low-ball settlement offers. Victims often worry about their mounting medical bills, wondering how they’ll pay for those expenses since they can’t work.
Insurance adjusters regularly prey on this uncertainty. They tempt victims by dangling a lot of money, hoping the victim will take the bait. This money won’t go nearly as far as it seems. Once it runs out, the victim must pay for whatever expenses remain.
Your lawyer not only knows the value of your case but won’t let an insurance company offer you an unfair settlement. They understand personal injury law inside out. Your lawyer is there to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, fighting for a fair settlement that reflects the real value of your case.
Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case Today
Seek the counsel of a highly skilled personal injury lawyer at your earliest convenience. By doing so, you can find reassurance that a seasoned professional is safeguarding your rights.
Waste no time contacting a personal injury attorney, as they will promptly commence their efforts to secure the rightful compensation you are entitled to under the law.