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Achieving peace of mind after a bad accident takes hiring the right personal injury lawyer. You should feel comfortable with your attorney and confident in his or her ability to get the best possible results for your claim. During your free consultations with a few different contenders in your area, ask pointed questions to find out if the law firm is right for you. Do not take this decision lightly, as it could be critical to the outcome of your case.
Find out what practice areas the firm handles, making sure yours is on the list. If you suffered your injuries in a slip and fall accident, for example, the law firm you select should have slip and fall or premises liability experience. Experience in your practice area will increase the chances of the firm understanding the surrounding laws and how to fight for top results.
Ask about the lawyer’s success rate in general and in your practice area. A history of positive outcomes can show the law firm’s ability to negotiate with insurance providers and win verdicts at trial. Although past wins will not guarantee future successes, they can show you the attorney’s strategies, approach, and end results. Also, look at past client testimonials and reviews if the lawyer has them available.
Give the lawyer details about your personal injury. Explain what happened to the best of your knowledge and who or what you believe caused your accident. Answer the questions the lawyer asks openly and honestly. Then, ask whether the attorney believes you have grounds for a claim. Not all personal injuries give rise to civil claims. In general, your case must involve someone else’s breach of duty of care or intent to harm for you to have a claim.
If the lawyer thinks you have a case, ask if he or she will be the person handling the matter. Some law firms pass cases off to assistants or paralegals instead of lead attorneys taking care of the cases themselves. You want a lawyer who will be handling your case personally, and who is open to communicating with you from beginning to end. Your attorney should provide individual attention and tailored legal services throughout your claim.
Your injury claim could involve complicating factors such as catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, broken laws, criminal actions, a commercial defendant, or insurance bad faith. Your lawyer should have the confidence and experience to handle any complications that come your way. Otherwise, you may end up having to switch attorneys partway through your case. Ask whether the attorney has handled complex cases or cases against commercial defendants.
Ask what the lawyer thinks your personal injury claim might be worth based on the facts you have given. The lawyer may ask to see medical records or hear your personal story to determine how greatly the injury has impacted you. Then, he or she can use prior experience and legal knowledge to estimate an accurate potential value. You can use this estimate to negotiate for fairer recovery from an insurance company or retain the lawyer to try to get that amount for you. You should also ask what the lawyer charges. Most injury attorneys handle claims on a contingency fee basis, with no fees upfront and no fees for cases they lose.
Although most personal injury lawsuits settle before reaching the trial stage, it can be in your best interest to hire a lawyer with trial propensities from the start. That way, you will not have to find a new attorney if insurance settlement negotiations fail and you have to take your claim to court. Going to trial is sometimes the only way to force a defendant to pay a fair amount.
Follow your instincts when choosing your personal injury attorney. Pick the one that best matches your needs and gives you confidence in your future.