Steven A. Bagen | February 3, 2023 | Uncategorized
You deserve compensation for the injuries you suffered because of someone else’s wrongdoing, but you want to choose the best personal injury attorney for your case. But how do you know which personal injury attorney is the right one for you?
Below, we cover
How Do You Choose the Best Personal Injury Lawyer?
After sustaining injuries in an accident someone else’ caused, your first step is to seek the medical attention you need. You want a prompt diagnosis of all your injuries, and you should begin following your treatment plan so you have a record to include with your claim.
Your next step is to consult with a personal injury attorney who can handle your legal claim.
While a personal injury lawyer can offer many benefits to help you get the compensation you need, you may feel overwhelmed when considering how to choose the best 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.
The following are some factors you want to consider when choosing the best personal injury lawyer for your case.
Do They Have Prior Experience with Personal Injury?
When choosing the best 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
Along with inquiring about a lawyer’s general experience, you also want to ask about your attorney’s prior track record of success. You want an attorney who has successfully handled personal injury claims, but if the attorney does not have many successes at trial or settlement negotiations, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad lawyer. They could be just starting their practice, and you can receive exceptional representation from a new lawyer who will likely work diligently to obtain a favorable outcome for you to build their clientele.
However, if the attorney has been practicing for a while and has lost most of their cases, that could reflect on their skill and dedication. It usually indicates that they have done something wrong when handling personal injury cases, or they simply do not have the resources and commitment to see the case through. 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 does not answer your questions in a reasonable time or respond to your calls, they may not be fully invested in your case, and they may look at you as just another number. You want a lawyer who will give your matter the personalized attention it deserves, and the best personal injury attorneys are responsive to their clients and will address your questions and concerns while providing regular updates as to the status of your case.
Does the Attorney Operate on a Contingency Fee Arrangement?
When choosing the best 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. However, most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee arrangement is when a client forfeits a portion of their compensation in exchange for their lawyer’s representation. Instead of receiving an hourly fee for their time, the lawyer agrees to assist with the case and only receives fees if it is successful. The lawyer will not receive a 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 attorney’s, and lawyers typically will 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 the payment provisions before you ever sign a representation agreement.
Ask About Specific Experience
Since personal injury law covers such a broad range of scenarios and areas, you should also find out which areas of personal injury law the attorney has experience in when helping clients. For instance, some personal injury lawyers handle primarily motor vehicle accident claims, while others focus mostly on medical malpractice or product liability. You want a personal injury lawyer with experience handling 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 commercial truck accident. In that case, you should find a personal injury attorney who has represented clients who suffered injuries in trucking accidents. Truck accident claims typically involve many different regulations, and various parties may be named as defendants. These types of claims can be far more challenging to successfully navigate than car accidents. The same holds true for medical malpractice and product liability claims.
When choosing the best personal injury lawyer for your case, you need to select an attorney who has represented clients like you in the past to increase your chances for success.
Likewise, you should choose a lawyer who has 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 all injury lawsuits go to trial. In reality, many personal injury claims are resolved through an out-of-court settlement. Some lawyers will even push clients to accept lower offers to avoid a trial.
The best personal injury attorneys will never accept an initial lowball settlement from the insurance company, and they are legally prohibited from accepting an offer without consulting you first. You want an attorney who will negotiate aggressively to obtain the highest settlement possible and who will eagerly take your case to trial and fight hard to help you get the maximum jury award allowed under the law.
Have Previous Clients Provided Referrals?
The most important references that you can use to choose the best personal injury lawyer are referrals 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 successfully represented your family member or friend would likely be very trustworthy and equally committed to your case.
Even if you do not know anyone personally who can make a referral, the attorney should be able to connect you with prior clients who can advise you on their satisfaction. Also, many of the best personal injury lawyers publish client testimonials on their websites that you can read.
Can They Help You File Your Injury Claim or Lawsuit
All personal injury claims are complex legal processes that require the skills and expertise of an experienced attorney. Most personal injury claims are covered by insurance, and you want to select an attorney who knows how to deal with insurance companies and someone you can trust to submit your claim under any deadlines the insurance company mandates.
The best personal injury attorneys will work hard to make the insurance company accept your claim and negotiate to get you the largest settlement. If the insurance company outright denies your claim or refuses to settle, your attorney will then file a lawsuit on your behalf in civil court.
Every state has different statutes of limitations for when your attorney must file your case in court. In Florida, the statute of limitations is four years for most injury claims. However, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims only allow two years from the date of the injury or death to file. Additionally, claims against cities, municipalities, and other government entities typically have their own requirements on when and how you file a claim, and they usually have convoluted processes you must follow.
You need to work with a lawyer who understands the statute of limitations as it applies to your case and can advise you accordingly. If your lawyer does not file your claim or lawsuit within the statute of limitations or other imposed deadlines, you will likely have no legal recourse to obtain compensation going forward.
Both during settlement negotiations and trial, the best personal injury lawyer will fight hard for you and do all they can to prepare your claim to increase your odds of getting the best outcome possible.
Can They Prove Negligence 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.
For your case to have merit, your attorney must show:
- The defendant owed you a certain duty of care.
- The defendant’s careless actions violated that duty of care.
- The defendant’s careless actions caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages as a result.
The best personal injury attorney will work diligently to establish the other party’s liability for your injuries to help you get the compensation you need.
Can They Evaluate and Document Your Injuries?
You can suffer a wide range of injuries in accidents someone else causes, and you need an attorney who can help you document your injuries so you can obtain just compensation.
You might have a few cuts and bruises, or you might sustain 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 best personal injury attorney will gather your medical records, diagnostic test and lab results, and other evidence to show the range and severity of injuries you suffered. They will also certify your injuries through the testimony of an independent third-party medical expert.
The insurance company and defendants in the case will likely hire their own medical experts to refute your claims, and they will try to minimize your injuries or claim the insurance policy doesn’t cover them.
When choosing the best personal injury attorney for your case, you want someone who will assert your rights and counter any methods the defendants may use to reduce the amount they will pay or deny your claim.
Can They Help you Determine the Types and Amounts of Compensation You Can Receive?
After evaluating and documenting your injuries, your attorney can help you determine the types of compensation you can receive and calculate their dollar figures. Florida allows injured parties to recover economic damages that cover financial losses such as medical bills, treatment expenses, lost wages, and related out-of-pocket expenses. Economic damages are usually easy to quantify and calculate through receipts, bills, and estimates.
Additionally, you can receive non-economic damages for areas of your life impacted by your injuries that will continue to affect your life and future. These types of damages are intangible, non-financial losses you suffered, and they include things like pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and mental and emotional distress.
Non-economic damages are harder to quantify and calculate because they do not have definitive dollar figures, but they can often provide you with substantial amounts of compensation to help you as you deal with the ongoing adverse effects your injuries have caused.
The best personal injury attorneys will sit with you and carefully explain the types of compensation you can pursue, and they should provide reasonable and objective opinions on how much money you will get. You do not want to work with an attorney who promises a large payout because no attorney can guarantee results.
Why You Need the Best Personal Injury Lawyer
The accident that caused your injuries was not your fault, and you shouldn’t have to bear the costs of treatment and other accommodations you may need. Moreover, you deserve compensation for the ongoing pain and suffering you experienced because of your injuries.
You want to give yourself the best chance of getting the favorable outcomes you expect and deserve, and for that, you will need an attorney for help. Choosing the best personal injury attorney for your claim will involve a lot of research, but you want to ensure you choose a trustworthy attorney with experience and success handling personal injury claims. Ideally, you also want to choose someone you feel you can work with throughout the process.
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.
To begin, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today to schedule a consultation.