Accidents are unfortunate yet sometimes unavoidable events. You could be on your merry way without a care in the world. Then, wham, a drunk driver slams into you. The next minute you knew, your day is already going downhill.
You wake up to a colossal cast encasing your leg. One thing is for sure; you will not be able to work during this time. And the other fact is substantial medical bills will be coming your way. It doesn’t help that you exhausted your medical cover not too long ago.
What we have described above has been a reality for some people. But, there is a solution, file a case. However, filing a personal injury lawsuit without a lawyer can put you at a disadvantage.
Personal injury cases aim to get compensation for aggrieved parties. However, it is interesting to note that only a mere 4-5% of such cases make it to court. Parties in the remaining percentage typically agree to pre-settlement with the help of their lawyers, of course.
But the success of your case depends on the lawyer handling your case. Learn how to pick the best personal injury lawyer below.
Table of Contents
What to Look For in A Car Accident Attorney
1. Level of Expertise to Get the Best Personal Injury Lawyer
Not just any lawyer can handle a personal injury case. Attorneys have different areas of specialization. A tax or divorce attorney may have a general understanding of personal injury cases, but, that is not their area of expertise. So they will not give you the proper representation you need.
In searching for the best personal injury lawyers, go for those who have been in the industry for some time. Some of the questions you need to seek clarity on are:-
- How long have they been in the personal injury litigation business?
- Do they have past clients you can call up as references?
- Proof of relevant certification and licensing
- Trial experience is essential. If the case makes it to trial, you want someone who can handle a court case. Please note that some lawyers specialize in settlements and may not know how to handle court cases.
- Track record of verdicts that favor the plaintiffs. The higher the settlements they have been able to get, the better. It proves they will try their best to get you a high verdict.
- Membership in industry bodies is a sign of expertise and professionalism.
- Knowledge of applicable state laws. Different states have different interpretations of personal injury laws. The attorney you choose should have a thorough knowledge of such to serve you well. Further, they should have the relevant licenses to practice law in that state.
- Strong networks in case you need additional experts on your case. Such include doctors, investigators, etc.
Getting the information requires research on your part. Yet, due diligence is not a step you should ever miss. Please take time to read customer reviews as well. The online space has made it easy to get honest feedback.
2. Communication Style
You may have walked into some attorneys’ offices and felt a level of discomfort. They seem more interested in making money than listening to what you have to say.
An excellent personal injury lawyer should have your best interest at heart. And you should know this from the first consultation. The attorney will take the time to explain everything you need to know.
As we stated, many personal injury cases do not reach the trial stage. Indeed it would be in your best interest to seek resolution outside of court. Please note that a trial can take months to years. The stress and financial implications can take a toll on you.
But, on the flip side, be wary of a lawyer who seems too quick to settle. Such personal injury lawyers will settle for any amount as long as they make their fee.
Take note of how the personal injury lawyer communicates with you. Do they answer your questions in a manner that satisfies you? If you leave the attorney’s office with more questions than answers, you can know what to expect going forward.
It also helps to know if you will have a full-time resource working on your case. You don’t want to deal with different people every time you need an update.
3. Fees and Billing Structure
Transparency around fees and billing processes should be a consideration as well. The attorney should present their billing structure so that you know what to expect regarding costs. There is no one set formula for billing.
Some attorneys will charge on a retainer basis, others on a project basis. The best personal injury lawyers will offer a free case evaluation to clients. That way, you don’t part with any money during the initial consultation.
Personal injury attorneys can also work on a contingency basis. That means they only collect if you win the case. The advantage of this method is you don’t lose any money if the case does not go your way. But, make sure you know exactly how much the attorney will deduct.
Indeed, you can expect to pay a percentage of the settlement. But, there could be other hidden fees you may not be aware of. A reasonable attorney will provide a complete breakdown, so you are never in doubt.
If the lawyer is working on a contingency basis, find out if they can afford the trial expenses. There is a lot that goes into preparing and successfully closing a case. You don’t want the lawyer dropping the case because they ran out of finances in the middle of everything.
True, it can be hard to determine the practice’s financial health. Unless, of course, you have intimate knowledge of their books. But you could get a pretty good indication with simple steps. You may, for instance, pay a visit to their offices. Is it in a good business location/ have they invested in infrastructure and staff?
Any accident comes with a cost implication. If you get hurt, the recovery means you will not be working at that particular time. There is also the money that will go into the medical bills.
A personal injury lawyer can help you get compensation if the other party is at fault. But, please take time to find the right attorney. One critical consideration is whether they have expertise in handling personal injury cases.
Next, do they have licensing to practice in that particular state? Finally, take time for a face-to-face meeting with the attorney you opt to work with. Look at how they communicate, their level of transparency, and whether you feel comfortable with them.