If you’ve been injured in an accident and you’re looking for compensation, the first thing you should do is hire a personal injury lawyer. If you’re up against insurance companies who don’t want to pay, you’re also up against all the best lawyers who can defend them. You need a lawyer who can bring experience and skills to the table.
If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney, it may be tempting to go with a name you know from television or newspaper ads. But those aren’t always the best lawyers for your case and looking into them may waste your time.
Keep reading to find out what to look for in a personal injury lawyer.
1. What Kind of Cases Do You Handle Daily?
Some lawyers, like general care doctors, work on cases of all kinds. This means that they work on personal injury cases from time to time. If you have a less serious injury case, these lawyers will probably work fine for you.
But for more serious cases, you need a lawyer who has experience working with cases like these. The laws surrounding these cases are so complex and you need a lawyer who is familiar with all the nuances.
2. How Many of Your Clients Are Referrals?
If you want to know which lawyers in your area are the best, start by asking their peers. No single lawyer can take on every case that comes to their doorstep. So they refer the cases they can’t handle on to other lawyers, the good ones.
So you know if your prospective lawyer has a high percentage of referrals to their office that they know their stuff.
3. Do You Send Solicitation Letters?
Some less ethical lawyers hire people to find all recent traffic accident reports that local and state cops file. Once they have the records, they can look up your address and send them a solicitation letter inviting them to come in for representation.
The problem with these law firms is that they have a high volume of cases that they try to settle as fast as possible, regardless of result. They rarely get referrals from satisfied clients, so they resort to hard solicitation.
4. Do You Offer Free Consultations?
Most lawyers who handle personal injury cases offer free consultations. It’s difficult for a lawyer to make a decision about representing a case without sitting down with their potential client. They do this with short consultations.
5. What Are Your Fees?
If you watch cable TV, you’ve probably heard a phrase like “you don’t pay a dime unless we get money for you.” These are referred to as a “contingent fee” agreement. This means that unless they reach a settlement on your case, you don’t have to pay them.
If you do reach a settlement, they take a percentage of the money you recover, usually around 33%. For a more exact percentage, visit this personal injury attorney.
You won’t owe the lawyer any attorney fees if you don’t reach a settlement. But there’s a big difference between attorney fees and case expenses. You’ll still have to pay any third parties that help keep the case going.
6. Do You Have the Resources to Take on My Case?
The perfect, most confident lawyer will do you no good if they don’t have the resources to take on your case. If your personal injury is serious or catastrophic and it looks like it may go to court, it can get very expensive.
If you accept representation from a lawyer that doesn’t have the resources to properly take on whoever you have to challenge for recovery, you risk settling for an inadequate settlement.
7. How Long Have You Handled Personal Injury Cases?
In general, an experienced personal injury lawyer is going to charge the same as a less experienced personal injury lawyer. The contingent fee is usually roughly the same across the board, regardless of experience.
This is a good reason to shoot for a more experienced lawyer. It won’t take more out of your pocket and you’ll be hiring all of their experience along with their expertise. It could make a big difference in how much you wind up settling for in your case.
8. Do You Try Lawsuits in Court?
Most personal injury lawyers don’t want to take a caseto court. That leaves too many things up to the will of a judge who may not be as forthcoming as the company might be. Likewise, insurance companies don’t want to go to court either for the same reasons.
If you want to get top dollar for your recovery fee, get a lawyer that is known for taking things to court. The chances are good that the insurance company will want to avoid going to court and losing all of those fees in addition to the settlement fee.
If you have a lawyer that is known for settling instead of trying cases in court, you’ll likely have to take a much smaller payout.
9. Are You a Member of Legal Organizations?
Lastly, ask if your lawyer is involved in any legal organizations that specialize in representing people that have been injured. There are national and state groups of lawyers who have one goal in mind: represent injured people.
These organizations fight for consumer rights and education. If you can find a lawyer with these connections, you know you’re in good hands.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
No one wants to hire a personal injury lawyer. But if you have to have one, you might as well pick the best one you can find. Because the cost of personal injury attorneys is generally the same no matter their skill or experience, there’s no reason not to spend some time looking for the best of the best.
For more legal information and advice, keep reading!