How To Find A Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury attorney helps clients who have been injured through an accident or negligence of another party. Claims can be filed against people, companies or government entities. If you have been injured and need help, you’ll want to find the best personal injury attorney who can help you get the money you deserve.
Finding the Best Personal Injury Lawyer
There are a number of things to consider when seeking the best personal injury lawyer to handle your case. You’ll find that there are a lot of options and it can be overwhelming to weed through them. In fact, you may even be getting solicited by so-called “ambulance chasers.” While the reputation of the industry may not be great, there are many good personal injury lawyers out there. Here’s how to find one.
Seek an Experienced Lawyer
Lawyers tend to be specialists or generalists. Look for a lawyer who specializes in personal injury and accidents. This person will better understand the laws that apply to your case. They also have the resources of experts and medical professionals to help you build a case and get treatment for your injuries. Don’t hesitate to ask how long the lawyer has been practicing personal injury law.
Ideally, your lawyer will also have experience handling cases like yours. For example, if you’ve been hurt by a defective product, it’s important to have a lawyer with experience in products liability claims. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident, you’ll want a lawyer who has handled these types of accidents before.
Ask About Their Success Rate
You need an attorney who has more than just the experience of taking on personal injury cases. Almost all personal injury claims are settled between the parties, sometimes before a lawsuit is ever filed—but a few cases do go to trial. You need an attorney who has successfully negotiated settlements and litigated personal injury cases all the way to a jury verdict. Ask the attorney what their success rate is. If they can’t provide it, they likely don’t have a high one.
Ask for Referrals
Almost everyone knows someone who has had a personal injury or workers’ compensation case, so ask friends and family for referrals to find a lawyer that they had a good experience with. Getting referrals helps you get a starter list of lawyers to interview. Of course, if someone had a bad experience with a lawyer, this is valuable information as well. You can immediately cross them off the list and move on to the next prospect.
Work on Contingency
Lawyers are expensive; they charge hundreds of dollars an hour for their work. If you’ve been hurt, this is likely something that you can’t afford to pay out of pocket. The good news is that reputable personal injury lawyers work on contingency. This means that they don’t get paid until you get paid. It is common for contingency amounts to be anywhere from 25% to 40%, so look for a lawyer who works within those ranges. They’ll take their cut from your winnings and the good ones factor in legal fees into the final settlement to make sure you get the most out of your claim.
Choose Someone You Can Get Along With
A personal injury case can be a long journey to regaining your health and getting a fair settlement. This journey will have ups and downs and you’ll want to feel good about the conversations you have with your lawyer. This is why you want to choose a personal injury lawyer that you get along with. This means the attorney listens to you, answers your questions and explains things in a way you understand. You feel that the attorney has your best interest at heart. If you feel that they are just taking the case for the money, you might want to move on to someone else.
A Professional Office
A personal injury case has a lot of moving parts with many deadlines that need to be met to keep settlement negotiations going or comply with court demands. A professional office suggests that a lawyer has the processes in place to do their job effectively. Choose a lawyer who has an organized office with files properly stored. Your lawyer should also be on time when meeting with you and prompt when responding to you.
Interview Multiple Lawyers
Talking to multiple lawyers will help you identify who you are best matched with. Compare them based on their experience, their costs and what their office environment is like. You’ll also get a good sense of expectations about your case by meeting with multiple lawyers. Each will give you an idea of what your case challenges might be and what your success likely is. Be wary of someone who seems to have an exaggerated sense of your success—they might not be able to back it up.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is possible to settle a personal injury case on your own, but you may be doing yourself a disservice. You may not know all that you are entitled to by law. In fact, you may have a hard time navigating the law and using it to your benefit. This is the advantage of having a personal injury lawyer working on your behalf. On top of the legal benefits, there is a huge emotional advantage in having someone else handle the details and negotiate on your behalf. It frees up your emotional energy to tackle what is necessary to recuperate from your injuries.
Should You Settle or Go to Court?
When you work with a personal injury lawyer, there will be a time (or several times) when a settlement is presented to you from the liable party. It will be up to you to determine if this is enough and you are willing to settle. Talk to your lawyer and ask whether they feel you are receiving a fair settlement. If the settlement doesn’t seem fair, you may be better off taking your chances with a court trial. Keep in mind, however, that no one can predict if you will win anything in court.