If someone is injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another, they may be entitled to compensation for any injuries and damages sustained. To obtain this compensation, an injury victim must file something called a personal injury claim.
Any injury resulting from negligence may be eligible for compensation in a personal injury claim, but certain types of injury accidents are more common than others. These include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability
- Wrongful death
Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Following a personal injury accident, the only thing you should be doing is healing. An experienced personal injury lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the incident, gather evidence, ensure that paperwork and filings are completed accurately and on time, deal with insurance companies and other involved parties, and negotiate for the maximum compensation available to you.
But choosing the right attorney is important. Ask around, do your homework, and make sure you’re comfortable working with this particular person before deciding to move forward. The five tips below can help you hire the best personal injury attorney for your unique needs and goals.
1- Research your options and find an attorney with experience in your area of personal injury.
When hiring a personal injury attorney, it’s a good idea to find an attorney with extensive experience in your specific area of need. Personal injury law covers most injuries caused by negligence, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all process—car accident claims are quite different from nursing home neglect claims, for example. Make sure that your lawyer has experience with claims similar to yours.
2- Ensure the attorney is licensed in the state where your injury occurred
Geography matters when it comes to the state in which your accident occurred and where your lawyer practices. Many lawyers are licensed in multiple states, especially those that practice near a state line. But if your accident occurred in California, it probably makes more sense to work with a CA-based lawyer rather than one located in Texas, even if the TX lawyer is licensed in CA. Generally speaking, an attorney based in or near the state will likely be more comfortable with that state’s laws than one who just dabbles there.
3- Read client reviews
Client reviews are one of the best ways to vet an attorney before making your final decision. This is not to say that a single bad review should steer you clear of working with that lawyer or firm, but an inordinate amount of bad reviews probably should. Likewise, dozens of glowing reviews can be quite reassuring. In addition, reviews—both good and bad—often delve into the attorney’s personality, reliability, communication style, and work ethic.
4- Schedule a free consultation
Once you’ve narrowed it down to two or three attorneys, it’s time to schedule your free consultation. Fortunately, when it comes to personal injury cases, most attorneys offer a free consultation and charge on a contingency basis, which means that they don’t get paid unless you do. The initial consultation is an opportunity to discuss your claim, determine if you like working with this particular lawyer, and decide how to move forward.
5- Ask the right questions at the consultation
The questions you ask are as important as the consultation itself. The answers to these questions can help you decide if this lawyer is the one for you, or if you should continue your search. In addition to discussing the specific details of your case, consider asking the following questions to determine if the attorney is the right fit for your unique situation.
- Have you handled cases similar to mine?
- Do you have the time needed to dedicate to my case?
- Who else will be working on my case?
- How will you communicate with me about my case?
- Do you think my case will need to go to trial?
- Are you comfortable going to trial if it becomes necessary?
- How involved will I be in my case?
- How do you charge?
- Will I have to pay anything if I lose my case?
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If another’s negligent or reckless actions have caused you harm, you should seek out the guidance of a skilled legal team to help. Don’t wait – and don’t go through the complex process without the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer by your side.