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You've suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence, and now it's time to hire a personal injury attorney. What should you look for in an attorney? After all, there are so many choices. How do you know who is the right attorney for your case?
Hiring the right personal injury attorney to represent you is critical and can make or break your case. Don't let that thought overwhelm you, though. Make sure to address the following topics when discussing your case with each prospective attorney and consider their answers.
A reputable personal injury attorney will evaluate your case during your free consultation and answer your questions factually and honestly. Among the issues they should address is letting you know if you indeed have a case. Whether you have a strong claim for compensation will depend on multiple factors. These factors — evidence, the extent of your injuries, if there is any insurance coverage — are what the attorney will evaluate to determine if you do have a valid claim.
No matter how successful each attorney's track record may be, ethical attorneys understand they cannot — and should not — make promises of recovering compensation to their clients.
Instead, how they answer this question should verify the validity of your claim without making any guarantees. The attorney should also share their general case strategy and their professional opinion on what factors impact your case and how you might have a better chance of succeeding, whether through settlement or a trial.
Also, consider asking how quickly the attorney thinks they may be able to take care of your case. Consider this question a test and any answer promising fast results by a specific date to be a failing score for the attorney. Any attorney you hire should be realistic about timelines as well as potential outcomes.
A proven record showing success in both personal injury settlements and jury trials is necessary. In addition, experience handling cases like yours is essential.
The experienced attorney you hire may have a team of attorneys and support staff, including newer attorneys helping them, of course.
You are looking for — and deserve — a personal injury attorney who believes in keeping their clients informed and educating them on all aspects of their cases. If you want to know everything in detail, your lawyer should take the time to explain:
Contingency fees are the most common type of fee arrangement in personal injury cases, but some attorneys may have alternative billing options.
You are likely not your attorney's only client, but that doesn't mean you deserve to be left hanging with unanswered phone calls. The attorney you hire should have a general policy in place to return all client calls as soon as possible or within a certain time period. You should also request to have this policy included in your retainer agreement or in writing, such as a letter or email.
No matter how good their track record is, it's still possible for mistakes to occur in the handling of your case. Any errors on the part of your attorney could negatively affect the outcome. For this reason, your personal injury attorney should have an active professional liability insurance policy.
You've done the research, met with a few personal injury attorneys with proven track records successfully handling cases like yours, and asked the right questions. So, which one do you hire?
You may start by eliminating the attorneys who did not answer any questions to your satisfaction. Of those attorneys that remain, consider the personality and work policies that you believe match well with your needs. If communication is paramount, choose an attorney that has a policy to update clients frequently. If years of experience is the most important factor for you, choose the attorney that has been working on these types of cases the longest.
As with anything, choosing an attorney is all about finding the right fit for your case and circumstances. Once you choose the right attorney, you can feel assured you have a strong advocate on your side.
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.