Things to Know Before Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a work-related injury or you were the victim of malpractice, you shouldn’t handle the recovery on your own. Hiring a Sarasota personal injury lawyer allows you to receive the counsel and protection that you need. Before you hire a personal injury attorney, here are a few things that you should know.
- Most initial consultations are free. It doesn’t matter if you were bitten by a dog or were involved in a car accident, you deserve proper representation. For this reason, most attorneys provide a free consultation to discuss the details of your case. Based on your discussion, your attorney can tell you whether or not you have a viable case.
- Choosing an experienced attorney is important. There are plenty of attorneys out there who are willing to take on your case. Before retaining the expertise of a lawyer, it’s important to verify that they specialize in personal injury cases. This increases your chances of winning your suit.
- Beware of ambulance chasers. If you’ve been injured, it’s important to hire an attorney to handle your case. However, if you find that attorneys are contacting you to represent your suit, beware. Ambulance chasing is illegal in most states. Instead of hiring the first attorney that comes knocking, speak with friends and family members about practitioners that they have hired.
- A trial isn’t always necessary. If your injury was caused due to the negligence of someone else, your case could be settled outside of the courtroom. While a trial isn’t always necessary to settle your suit, it’s still important to hire an attorney to file the necessary paperwork, deal with the insurance companies, and act as a liaison between you and the guilty party.
What are the benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney?
Knowledge of the Law
A personal injury attorney has a deep understanding of personal injury law. They can be able to decipher what accident laws pertain to your particular case and calculate how much compensation you are entitled to.
Handling Negotiations on Your Behalf
Many personal injury cases are resolved outside of court. In such a case, your injury attorney will handle negotiations with the insurance companies and ensure that you get fair compensation. The lawyer knows the insurance laws that may impact an accident case. They can interpret the provisions of an insurance policy’s language that apply to coverage, exclusions and limitations. Note that insurance companies will often automatically lower their settlement offer to plaintiffs who don’t have an attorney representing them.
Representation in Court
Although the law allows accident victims to represent themselves in court, it’s imperative to enlist the services of an attorney. A lawyer is conversant with the various court rules and procedures and will ensure that they are followed to prevent the case from getting dismissed. In court, the lawyer will present all the available evidence and use their tricks and tactics to fight for the rights of their client. They will answer any questions on your behalf and keep you updated on the court proceedings. All this will help you to increase the odds of getting the rightful compensation.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Should Limit Specialization
Personal injury lawyers focus their attention on cases that involve the negligent or reckless acts of others. As such, hiring a lawyer who focuses on family law and dabbles in personal injury law, will not likely lead to a client getting the best bang for his or her buck.
Furthermore, personal injury lawyers often focus on a very limited aspect of personal injuries. When a personal injury lawyer focuses on a niche in the law, his or her knowledge and experience is often much more extensive than someone who works all kinds of personal injury cases. Therefore, a personal injury lawyer who has more experience in truck accident cases is likely more qualified than a person who focuses on medical malpractice cases and vice versa.
Avoid Ambulance Chasers
Avoid lawyers who solicit clients after they have been involved in an accident. Many jurisdictions specifically ban this practice, and conscientious lawyers will not try to take advantage of someone who just went through a serious ordeal.
Try an Initial Consultation
Before agreeing to sign up for a particular lawyer’s services, go through an initial consultation with the prospective lawyer. This service is often free from personal injury lawyers. Even if it is not, it is well worth the money to interview and assess whether a particular lawyer will be a good fit with you.
Questions you should ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer
When you’re faced with the dilemma of having to file a personal injury case, this can be filled with so much stress and anxiety. There’s no other way to put it. Whatever the case is, it’s a big turning point in your life. This fact means that the act of filing a personal injury case also shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The person who can be your best friend during such an important yet challenging phase is your lawyer. Because they have experience in the field of personal injury, these lawyers know the ins and outs of the law, as well as the things you should and shouldn’t do. But, the success of your personal injury case is also dependent on your choice of personal injury lawyer.
To help you along this line, here’s a list of questions that you should ask a personal injury lawyer before hiring their services:
What Are Your Fees?
When you’re presented with a wide variety of options, one of the most important considerations for you to make has to do with the fees. Most people think that hiring a lawyer is going to be expensive. Indeed, this can be true for some. So, as you filter out your options for potential personal injury lawyers, ask about the fees first and foremost. That way, you have an early determination as to whether or not the lawyer fits your budget.
The good news with personal injury lawyers, however, is that most charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay a fee until you recover a sum of money as your settlement, which is a compensation owed to you by the other party. When there are monetary rewards to you, the lawyer recovers a percentage of this amount as their contingency fee.
Have You Handled Personal Injury Cases Related To Mine?
Even when you’re dealing with a specialized personal injury lawyer, it’s also worth asking whether or not they’ve handled personal injury cases with the same circumstances as yours. Asking this question can give you an overall idea of whether or not the lawyer is equipped with the right skills to settle your case.
As you ask this question, do take it a step further by asking what the outcome of the cases were. If it isn’t favorable, then, perhaps, that can be considered as a red flag, and the best thing for you to do then is to look for another lawyer instead.
How Much Time Can You Devote To My Case?
Especially for personal injury lawyers in your locality who are known to have a heavy caseload, you’ve also got to ask how much time they can devote to your case. That way, you know whether or not proper attention can be given. Some lawyers tackle too many cases at once that they’re having a difficult time focusing on one client. Some may even assign your case to an associate in the firm or team. When you’re particular about this certain lawyer handling your case, then you have to make this request clear beforehand, as well.
How often will I receive updates about the status of my case?
The attorney should be able to tell you how their office handles a case from start to finish. They should be able to explain to you the life-cycle of a case and who will be working on your case during the different stages.
Do I have any responsibilities while you work on my case?
Beside keeping your doctor’s appointments and following their instructions with regard to your treatment, you should be doing very little work for your own case. You hire a a law firm to work for you, not the other way around, so if an attorney gives you a long to-do list, be suspicious.
Do you work with experts and professionals that can strengthen my case?
Personal injury cases that involve traumatic injuries will sometimes require expert testimony from professionals in a variety of fields, including medicine, accident reconstruction, economic analysis, etc. The law firm you select should have successful working relationships with experts of all types.