If you were involved in an accident you have the right to file an injury claim against the negligent party. Prior to filing a claim, you may consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help you through the process. The process can be complex and hiring the right attorney can be an important step in receiving full compensation for your claim.
A personal injury lawyer can provide the expertise in assuring you the full payout for your claim. One of the first steps when evaluating the right attorney is understanding that not all attorney’s practice personal injury law. Furthermore, a personal injury attorney may not specialize in a specific area of personal injury law.
If you are considering hiring a personal injury attorney consider the following tips:
One of the best ways of finding a reputable attorney is asking for a referral from a friend, colleague or family member. You may find that someone you know has gone through the same process. They may be able to provide you valuable information on the process and their success with their attorney.
When a person can’t obtain a referral they should consider the internet as a viable source. There are list serves, forums and organizations that rate attorneys based upon their track record. These forums and organizations can provide you with a list of attorneys that have received awards from past successes.
Another source is visiting websites of local attorneys. When a person begins searching online for attorney in their area they can do a search by location and practice area. If you have been involved in a car accident you can easily search for a car accident attorney in your state or town.
When you begin looking through different websites try locating the experience of each lawyer. There are many attorneys’ that provide their experience on their website. You may find this information on the about us page. Attorneys may also provide information on the different practice areas. There are some attorneys that practice specific areas with personal injury law. A firm may be dedicated solely to motor vehicle accidents or wrongful death cases. Another way of evaluating attorneys is locating their past settlements and verdicts. Some law firms will list past clients on their website and provide information on settlement reached and verdicts won.
When you have located a few different attorneys contact them and set up a phone conversation or meeting. Most attorneys will provide a free consultation that can be done in the office or by phone. When you contact a lawyer you should have a list of questions. These questions should be used to evaluate and make an informed decision whether you are working with the right attorney or not.
Some of these questions may include:
How many cases do you handle each year? Make sure the cases they handle are specific to your accident (wrongful death, slip and fall, auto accident etc.)
If a settlement can’t be reached with the insurance company, ask the attorney if they are experienced in going into litigation. This means if a settlement can’t be reached through negotiation, will the attorney file a personal injury lawsuit and be prepared to go to trial. There are some attorneys that may refer the case out if a settlement can’t be reached.
If you are filing a personal injury claim against an insurance company, ask the attorney if he or she has ever been involved in settlement negotiations and lawsuits with the company. If the attorney has successfully represented clients against the said insurance company, you may consider hiring the attorney.
Most personal injury attorneys will work on a contingency fee basis. They will provide their services to clients on a percentage of the proceeds. If the attorney successfully get a settlement or wins a verdict, they will receive a percentage of the cash award. If you are going to sign an agreement with the attorney, make sure the fees are spelled out on the agreement.
No matter who you hire, you should always feel comfortable with the attorney. A comfort level of experience and personality is always recommended.
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