We never want to consider the fact that an accident, in reality, could happen to us at any moment. We also would never want to consider the fact that many people refuse to take responsibility for what happened.
Although the solution process itself can be challenging to say the least, hiring a personal injury attorney can make a challenging process less difficult, AND helps you to get the largest return possible for injuries and damages. Here are some hints for where to start and what to look for, just in case you ever find yourself seeking legal help for an auto accident or other mishap.
1. Reach Out
Most lawyers work off of referrals, and although you can certainly find attorneys online, it can benefit you to reach out to friends and family first to see who they know. You can even reach out to the state Bar Association or specialty organizations like American Association for Justice, who provide lawyer referral services for all types of attorneys, not just personal injury. The bottom line: for legal advisement, you want to go beyond a Google search. (Look for reviews, ratings, and testimonials.)
Also, as you consider one or more law firms, reach out to them personally. Ask questions, or ask for a meeting to explain your incident and then discover how they would handle the case. The more you know up front, the more comfortable you will feel.
2. Gain Perspective
In this initial meeting with the prospective injury attorney, here are some questions to help you learn their background and establish a clear picture of how they work.
- What type of law does he/ she usually practice? Does he/she have a specialty?
- How long has the attorney worked with the specific firm?
- What was their background prior to the current firm (if applicable), where did they work and what type of law did they practice?
- Does the lawyer most often represent plaintiffs or defendants?
- Who all would be involved in your case? Would the lawyer handle this personally or would it be handled by a team at the firm?
Think of this as an interview so that you can get a frame of reference for the process you will soon go through. More specifically, if a team will be handling your case, ask to meet those lawyers or paralegals as well. Ask if they have done cases similar to yours and if so, what were the outcomes. All this information will only help you be more prepared and comfortable in your choice of attorneys.
3. The Financial Side
Lastly, a main concern of almost any type of legal advice is the cost. This is why it is vital to discuss all details, facts of the case, and case value/settlement expectations up front. Then, it is completely ok to ask them to explain their fees before you commit to hiring them as your law firm. It is wise to sign a guaranteed fee contract.. Personal injury law firms do not charge you a fee UNLESS they recover monies for you. Be sure to discuss what percentage of your settlement or award the lawyer will take in addition to just the general fees.
In summary – your choice in injury attorneys can make the difference in winning a case/recovering funds or not winning – or, in the amount you receive. Determine their level of experience, make sure they have done numerous cases like yours, and make sure they do not pass your case off to another firm. Trust your judgment – you want to feel good about their knowledge level, client service, and their dedication to your case.
The number one rule of finding a good personal injury attorney? Information. The more you know about the firm and their skills, the better. If a prospective attorney is not forthcoming and open communication doesn’t seem to be their forte’, you should check with another firm. Save these tips, just in case you or a family member should ever find yourself seeking an effective personal injury law firm.