Most people never anticipate having to file a personal injury claim. However, with almost 98 million emergency room visits due to accidental injuries per year in the United States, the chances are good that you or a family member will suffer injuries in an accident. When an accident and injury are the fault of another party, it should result in a personal injury claim.

If you suffered injuries and believe someone else was to blame, your first step should be to seek the medical attention you need. You want a prompt diagnosis of all your injuries, and you should begin following your treatment plan. Your next step should always be to consult with a personal injury attorney who can handle your legal claim.

But how do you know which personal injury attorney is the right one for you? Below we cover How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer for your case.

How do you Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer

While many benefits come with representation by a personal injury lawyer, you may feel overwhelmed when considering how to choose a lawyer. This might be the first time that you have gone through the legal process, or you might have had a prior negative experience with another lawyer.

In any case, there is a criterion that you can follow to help you decide which personal injury lawyer is best for you. Here are some factors you want to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer.

Ask About Prior Experience

When choosing a personal injury lawyer, you want a lawyer with recent and successful experience handling personal injury cases. You do not want to hire a divorce or estate planning attorney to handle your injury matter, as these cases are all very different.

You also want a personal injury lawyer who has a positive reputation within the legal community. Like other professions, every professional’s reputation precedes them, and you do not want to lose your case before you even step foot in the courtroom.

Ask About Their Track Record With Cases

Similar to the lawyer’s general experience, you also want to ask about your lawyer’s prior track record of success. While experience handling claims does matter, it does not make much difference if your lawyer does not have a successful track record of winning cases.

Suppose your lawyer has a mixed track record of successful cases or loses most of their cases; that reflects their skill and dedication. It is usually an indicator that they have done something wrong throughout a personal injury case. When a personal injury lawyer has a track record of winning cases, it speaks to the dedication and effort they will give to your case.

What Forms of Communication Does the Attorney Use?

Another important factor you want to consider is how your lawyer communicates with you. While personal injury cases can be complex and time-consuming, they are not so all-consuming that your lawyer cannot keep you updated.

If your personal injury lawyer cannot answer your questions at a reasonable time or respond to your calls, that indicates that they look at you as just another number. If they see you as just another number, they will treat your case as just another file. You want a lawyer who will give your matter the personalized attention it deserves.

Does the Attorney Operate on a Contingency Fee Arrangement?

When choosing your personal injury lawyer, you also want to pay attention to how you will pay your lawyer for their services. Many people assume that all lawyers get paid on an hourly basis. With personal injury lawyers, a contingency fee arrangement with their clients is the norm.

A contingency fee arrangement is when a client forfeits a portion of their compensation in exchange for their lawyer’s representation. Instead of paying an hourly fee for their lawyer’s time, the lawyer agrees to assist with their case and only receives fees if it is successful. The lawyer will not receive payment if the client does not receive compensation from their case. If the claim is successful, a percentage of the compensation will become the legal fees.

Because of this arrangement, many personal injury lawyers are passionate about helping their clients achieve their desired outcomes. A contingent case aligns your interests with your attorneys, and attorneys will usually not accept cases they do not think they can win.

Your personal injury lawyer should discuss the contingency fee arrangement with you during your consultation. Ensure that you understand all of the payment provisions before you ever sign a representation agreement.

Ask About Specific Experience

You should also find out which areas of personal injury law the attorney has experience in when helping clients. While many personal injury lawyers can effectively perform legal services for you, you want a personal injury lawyer with specific experience with your particular type of accident.

Each accident is different and requires you to prove different legal elements. A personal injury lawyer who has specific experience in your type of accident is more knowledgeable about the types of evidence you will need to strengthen your case than a generalized lawyer.

For example, suppose you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident. In that case, you should find a personal injury attorney who has represented dozens of clients who have suffered an injury in similar motorcycle crashes. Many personal injury attorneys practice personal injury law under the car accident umbrella, but not all will take on other injury cases. You need a personal injury attorney who has represented clients like you in the past if you wish to secure compensation in your case.

Additionally, your lawyer should have handled cases involving injuries similar to yours. This is especially important if you have severe or catastrophic injuries. An attorney who only handles cases involving minor injuries might not have the resources to take on a claim involving a paralyzing spinal injury.

What Is the Lawyer’s Experience With Trials?

You also want to ask your personal injury lawyer about their willingness to take your case to trial. Many people assume that each lawsuit goes to trial. In reality, many personal injury claims are resolved through an out-of-court settlement. Some lawyers out there will even push clients to accept lower offers to avoid a trial.

The issue with this thinking is that insurance companies throw out settlement offers that do not even cover a significant portion of your injuries. You want a personal injury lawyer ready to take your case to trial and who will not advise you to simply accept the first settlement offer thrown at you.

Have Previous Clients Provided Referrals?

One of the most important references that you can use to choose your personal injury lawyer is a referral from prior clients. Even if this is your first personal injury lawsuit, you can ask your family members and friends about any lawyers that they have used in the past. A personal injury lawyer who has been successful at representing your family member or friend is considered trustworthy. Even if you do not know anyone personally who can make a referral, the attorney should connect you with prior clients who can advise you on their satisfaction.

Negligent Actions in a Personal Injury Case

In civil court, you have the right to hold a defendant liable for their negligent actions against you. While various accidents can happen to you, not all of these accidents are considered actionable in civil court.

A defendant’s negligence involves:

  • Duty of care. The defendant must have owed you a certain duty of care.
  • Breach of duty of care. The defendant’s careless actions must violate that duty of care.
  • Causation. The plaintiff must establish a connection between the defendant’s careless actions and injuries.
  • Damages. The plaintiff must display the damages they endured from the defendant’s careless actions.

Injuries that stem from another person’s negligent actions are legally considered personal injuries. Common accidents in personal injury claims include car, motorcycle, and truck accidents. They can also be non-vehicle-related, like medical malpractice, premises liability accidents, or product-related accidents. As long as another person’s negligent actions caused the accident, the victim of that accident has the right to seek compensation from that person for their injuries.

The Frequency of Accidents and Personal Injuries

Whether a car accident or a slip and fall accident, the number of personal injury accidents has increased over the years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 42,915 people died in car accidents last year. Regarding accidents caused by defective products, the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that there were 11.7 million people admitted to the emergency room from injuries caused by defective products in a single year.

A study from Johns Hopkins University stated that medical malpractice is the cause of 250,000 deaths every year. Medical malpractice is still the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Statistics also show that eight million people need medical attention for fall-related injuries, and one million for slip and falls.

Common Injuries due to Accidents

When you are in an accident, your injuries can vary widely. You might have a few cuts and bruises, or you might experience serious injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, permanent nerve damage, and fractured bones. The damage can be so severe that you suffer irreparable disfigurement, like traumatic amputations. These types of injuries are injuries that you will not recover from. The path of your injury claim often depends on the severity of your injuries.

The Financial Consequences of an Injury

When you suffer from a personal injury, you want to consider filing a claim against the liable party. The main reason is to receive financial compensation for your medical expenses and other losses. Depending on how serious your injuries are, you might have to face medical expenses for your injuries for the remainder of your life.

Even if your injuries are not as severe, you still face medical bills and deserve compensation for an accident that happened through no fault of your own. Aside from the medical expenses, you probably missed a certain amount of time away from work or also had to pay for a certain amount of property damage. These damages can also be quite costly.

Pain and Suffering from an Injury

The pain and suffering you endure can be even more damaging than the financial consequences of your accident. This type of damage allows you to sue for the physical pain you experience and the mental anguish caused by your accident.

Some accidents can be traumatic and cause victims to suffer from mental disorders like PTSD and depression. You also might struggle with physical pain from your injuries that is debilitating and causes additional emotional suffering.

You seek compensation for all of these losses by filing an insurance claim or lawsuit in civil court. Once you prove liability for your injuries, you must then prove the extent of your losses. Many losses – especially intangible losses and future losses – are challenging to calculate. Never try to calculate these on your own, as you risk demanding much less than you deserve.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

When you file a claim for your personal injury, you want to give yourself the best chance of winning. Hiring someone accustomed to handling personal injury cases to represent you just makes sense. A personal injury lawyer can provide more legal services for you other than simply representing you in court.

A lawyer can identify liable parties, calculate your damages, file necessary insurance claims, negotiate with adjusters, advise on settlement offers, and even file a lawsuit when needed. You always want this legal help, as it can maximize your financial recovery while allowing you to focus on your physical recovery.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today

You deserve to give yourself the best chance possible of receiving your maximum compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer with the necessary experience to help you win your claim. Keep in mind that you have a limited time to file a claim for compensation, so never delay.