Personal Injury Lawyer FAQ
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You should seriously consider hiring a personal injury lawyer if:
- You suffered serious injuries, including long-term or permanent injuries.
- Someone else was at fault for your injuries, and their liability is clear.
- Your case is complicated, in terms of the seriousness of your injuries, complex liability issues or the involvement of multiple parties.
- There is a likely source of money for compensation, including:
Third party insurance coverage
Your own insurance coverage
Third party personal or business assets
- Your accident happened recently. It is very important to consult with a lawyer as soon after the accident as possible, for several reasons, including the fact that there is a legal limit on how long you can wait before filing a personal injury claim. Your lawyer can help guide you through your claim and make sure:
- You are getting the best treatment for your injuries and for the case.
- You are shielded from insurance adjusters who will try to sabotage your case.
- Your medical bills don't go to collections and damage your credit.
- You don't pay unnecessary medical bills.
- You don't have gaps in treatment that can hurt your case.
- You don't have gaps in medical documentation that can hurt your case.
- You don't miss out on compensation from a case with multiple other claimants who exhaust the policy limits.
- Your case requires research and negotiation that you do not have the time, energy or legal skills to execute effectively.
- You're not willing to go to court. Although most traffic-related personal injury claims are settled in pre-trial negotiation, the only way to maximize your settlement is to prepare a strong case for a trial it will most likely never end up in, which includes filing your lawsuit in the court system.
- You want to maximize the value of your case, or at least secure a fair settlement. If you have more than a modest personal injury case, you will likely need to “go to battle” to get a fair settlement, as insurance adjusters will work hard to prevent you from getting the settlement you deserve.
- Check the lawyer's reputation online. The details of an attorneys reviews can tell you a lot, not just the star rating.
- Take the time to reach out to your circles and find out who the people you love and trust would recommend.
- Look into the lawyer's previous settlement results, and ensure they get solid financial results for their clients. You probably want to look more closely at the results for cases that resemble yours, rather than just the enticing, big-money results.
- Find a lawyer who is interested in you and your case, and has the time and resources to give you and your case the attention it deserves.
- Lawyers are only permitted to practice law in the state or states in which they hold a license by that State's Bar, so you want to be sure you are hiring a personal injury lawyer who practices in the state where you were injured. (So if you were injured as a tourist or on a business trip in another state, you need to find a personal injury lawyer in the state where you were injured.)
- They have a record of solid settlements.
- They specialize in the kind of Personal Injury Law YOU Need.
- They Are Empathetic and Understand that You Are Suffering. An attorney needs to be able to advocate on your behalf. That requires empathy.
- You Don’t Pay Them a Dime Unless They Win, and they will not expect you to cover case expenses.
- They Take an Interest in Your Case and Instill a Sense of Trust. Ask a lot of questions and choose the best attorney for your particular case, injury, style of conflict resolution and risk tolerance.
- They Take the Pressure off of You. You have enough to deal with recovering from your accident.
- How does your fee work? You should not be expected to pay fees or case costs if your attorney fails to win a settlement or judgment.
- Will I End Up Owing You Money When My Case is Over? (The answer should be no.) Ask what they will do if there is not enough settlement money to cover all of your damages and legal fees.
- Have You Taken A Case Like Mine Before? The BEST attorney for your case should ideally have a lot of specific experience with your particular type of accident and injury.
- Will I Have Access to You as My Lawyer Throughout My Case? Do you return emails and phone calls? You should expect great communication from your personal injury lawyer!
- Do You Litigate Cases and/or Take Them to Trial? Most traffic accident cases will be resolved in the personal injury insurance claims process, but some cases do require litigation and/or trial.
- Can You Provide References from Past Clients? Due to attorney-client confidentiality, personal injury lawyers often cannot give out client contact information, but you can research online to see what past clients are saying about this lawyer.
- What Can I Do to Ensure the Success of My Case? For example, it’s important to avoid posting on social media or talking about the case during the claim and litigation processes. Ask your attorney what you can do to help and how to avoid hurting your claim.
- How Long Will My Case Take to Resolve? While no attorney will be able to predict with 100% accuracy, it’s not unreasonable to ask for a ballpark figure.
If you’ve sustained serious personal injuries while on a trip away from home, you’ll need to hire the best personal injury lawyer who can help people who live far away. At the very least, the attorney should:
- Be licensed in the state where you were injured.
- Know the rules of the local courts.
- Be able to visit the accident scene or at least be familiar with the intersection where it happened.
- Have the technological capacity and experience to deal with clients in another state.
- Operate as a paperless office.
- Be well-versed at handling matters with clients they may never meet in person.
- Have convenient channels of communication, potentially including email, video calls and phone.
If you have come to suspect that the law firm representing you in your personal injury case isn't sufficiently competent, experienced, communicative or ethical, you do have the prerogative to change attorneys, especially if you believe that your representation has been substandard.
In some cases, this can be accomplished without paying any fees, while in other cases your original lawyer may be entitled to a percentage of your compensation settlement or award.
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