If you suffered injuries and believe someone else should be responsible, you want to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle the legal process for you. There are many options when hiring a personal injury law firm in your area, so how do you find the right fit? What do you look for in a personal injury attorney to ensure the best possible outcome of your case?
Never hire an attorney without asking all of your questions and learning about their experience and practice. Personal injury lawyers offer free consultations to evaluate your situation and allow you to learn about the firm.
Take this opportunity to ask about:
- Does the lawyer have experience handling your type of accident claim and your type of injury?
- Does the lawyer have litigation experience? Do they push most claims into a settlement to avoid going to court?
- What is their communication style? How often do they provide case updates to you?
- How active will you need to be in your case?
- What resources do they have available to help your claim?
- How much does their representation cost, and how do you pay them?
Ask any other questions you have, and the attorney should provide answers and address concerns. You can look at prior case results and testimonials from previous clients. You want to have all the relevant information before you hire an attorney for your personal injury case.
However, you do not have unlimited time to start the legal process, as we discuss below. Do not delay your search for a lawyer, as knowing what to look for and finding the right match can take time.
Also, do not feel like you need to interview every personal injury lawyer in your area, as this is likely impossible to do. If the lawyer makes you feel comfortable during the consultation, do not hesitate to move forward and hire them.
Below is some additional information about what to look for in your injury lawyer. If you have questions about your specific situation, reach out to a law firm near you. Consultations and case evaluations should always be free, so you have nothing to lose by starting the process and getting answers to your questions today.
Experience Handling Your Type of Accident Claim
Numerous accidents result from negligence and cause injuries, and the type of incident that occurs will influence many aspects of the personal injury case.
Some common accidents that lead to injury claims include:
- Truck accidents
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Slip and falls
- Premises accidents (including assaults due to negligent security)
- Swimming pool and drowning accidents
- Incidents that result from defective products
- Incidents resulting from medical negligence and malpractice
If you have suffered injuries in any of these incidents, you want to find a lawyer who handles your type of case. Car accident claims can differ from nursing home cases or defective product lawsuits. Having a law firm with experience in your area of personal injury law is critical to your success.
A legal team should meet with you to discuss the circumstances and determine if you are eligible to file a claim for compensation with an insurance company. If you are, your lawyer can promptly file a claim on your behalf and begin negotiating a fair settlement offer in your case. Your legal team should keep you informed and help you decide whether to accept a pending settlement offer or litigate your case in court.
Experience Helping Clients With Your Type of Injury
Accident victims can suffer many different injuries. While some of these injuries are minor, others are much more serious and can leave an accident victim debilitated for many years. Some injuries cause lifelong impairments and disabilities.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims suffer include:
- Traumatic brain and head injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Cuts and abrasions
- Scars and disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis injuries and paralysis
If you have suffered one or more of these injuries in an accident due to someone’s negligence, you should seek prompt medical treatment after the accident. Once the emergency room or urgent care center physician discharges you, you should then follow through with their treatment recommendations.
While you focus on your medical recovery, you want someone focusing on your legal recovery. The type of injuries you suffered matters when looking for the right attorney. Your personal injury lawyer should have prior experience helping clients with similar injuries. This is especially true if you have long-term or catastrophic injuries.
When injuries have lasting effects, you will need to seek greater damages for future losses. Your pain and suffering compensation will also likely be higher than if your injuries healed quickly with treatment. Proving intangible and future losses presents many challenges, so always ensure your injury lawyer knows how to seek them.
Never hesitate to ask about case results for clients in similar positions. If you have a brain injury with persistent effects that prevent you from working, find out how the lawyer helped others who were out of work due to debilitating brain injuries.
Experience Proving Personal Injury Claims
In a personal injury claim, the accident victim has the legal burden of proving all of the claim’s elements.
In a negligence case, this means that the accident victim must demonstrate that:
- The at-fault person owed a duty of care
- They violated the duty
- The accident and injuries occurred as a result
- The victim incurred losses due to their injuries
In a slip and fall accident case that occurs at a restaurant, bar, or store, for example, the accident victim will need to demonstrate that the property owner owed them a duty of care, that the property owner violated this legal duty, and as a result, they slipped and fell at the establishment, sustaining injuries.
A premises owner might be negligent by failing to regularly inspect their premises for defects or by failing to properly warn about or repair a known dangerous defect on the premises.
In a car accident case, on the other hand, a motor vehicle operator might engage in negligence by operating their motor vehicle while intoxicated or distracted.
In addition, the driver might deviate from the prevailing standard of care by violating a traffic ordinance, such as by failing to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle at the appropriate time—or by speeding, tailgating, or failing to use a turn signal before making a turn. These negligent driving maneuvers can all lead to a traffic accident that causes other drivers and passengers to suffer serious injuries.
Proving the legal elements of a personal injury claim can be difficult, especially when you’re up against an insurance company and its lawyers who dispute your claim. You need a personal injury lawyer who can help you satisfy the legal elements of your claim and pursue the damages you deserve for your injuries.
Always inquire how an injury lawyer proved injury claims in the past and what types of evidence they might gather to prove your case. Ask if they are confident they can prove liability for your accident and injuries. These are all important answers to help you choose the right lawyer for your case.
Experience Filing Personal Injury Claims
The personal injury claims-filing process starts when an accident victim’s lawyer files a settlement demand package with the at-fault person or entity’s insurance company. The demand package will include copies of all of the accident victim’s medical bills, medical records, police reports, investigation reports, photographs of property damage, photographs of injuries, loss wage documentation, and victim impact statement. The insurance company adjuster handling the case will then review all of these documents and decide whether or not to accept fault for the accident.
If and when the adjuster accepts fault, they will usually begin efforts to negotiate a settlement. When it comes to settlement negotiations, however, the insurance company is never on your side. This is true even if you are dealing with your own insurance company.
Insurance companies are businesses, and they will do everything they can to limit their recovery payout in a personal injury claim. Therefore, they will look for loopholes in your case and signs of pre-existing accidents or injuries as a basis for limiting the amount of their settlement compensation.
An experienced injury lawyer will help you negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and work to obtain a settlement amount that fairly compensates you for all of your accident-related injuries. In many instances, it will take several rounds of negotiations between the accident victim’s lawyer and the insurance company before a settlement occurs.
At other times, the insurance company will flat-out refuse to compensate the accident victim adequately for their injuries. When that happens, the accident victim’s lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and pursue litigation.
However, filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that the case will go to trial. The parties can negotiate a settlement until the jury decides the case. Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer or litigate your case in the civil court system.
The right lawyer should be ready to settle your case or file a lawsuit when necessary. Always seek out an attorney who is both a skilled negotiator and litigator. You want to have all possible options available for obtaining full compensation.
How Long Do You Have to Find an Attorney?
In personal injury cases, accident victims have only limited time to file a lawsuit and seek damages. Every state sets a statute of limitations for injury cases under state law. In some states, like California, this period is as short as two years from the injury date.
If someone files a lawsuit even one day after the statute of limitations runs out, they will likely not recover any monetary damages for their injuries. Therefore, you want to retain an experienced attorney to start representing you as soon as possible after your accident.
Before you even think about a lawsuit, you will need to look for the right attorney so they can begin working on your case. This can take time. Then, your personal injury lawyer will need to gather evidence, file an insurance claim, and handle several rounds of negotiations with insurance adjusters in most cases. If an insurance settlement is not possible, your lawyer may prepare a lawsuit.
All of this must happen before you consider a lawsuit, and it must happen within the statute of limitations. Never wait to begin looking for a lawyer to start your case.
Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer Today
After an injury, you must deal with doctors, medical treatment, pain and suffering, time home from work, and other challenges. Having an injury derail your life is stressful enough, but then the financial concerns become obvious. You need to know your legal rights to compensation as soon as possible.
Adding “looking for the right personal injury attorney” to your list of concerns might seem daunting, but keep in mind that a lawyer will reduce your stress. Once you have legal representation, you can focus on your medical recovery with confidence, knowing someone is protecting your legal rights. This can improve your mental and physical condition.
After an injury, Contact scheduling free consultations with personal injury law firms right away. Doing so is the first step toward receiving full compensation for your medical bills and other losses.
If you are stuck at home due to your injuries, a personal injury lawyer should come to you or meet with you over the phone or video call. They should be ready and willing to help your situation and inform you how their services can improve your legal and financial situation.