Choosing a personal injury lawyer who actively investigates and preserves your claim and rights is essential in obtaining the compensation for which you’re entitled. So, how do you choose the right one? Here are five tips that can help:
1. Experience. Never underestimate the value of an attorney’s experience when it comes to assessing and investigating a claim. Hiring a personal injury attorney who knows what to look for, where to look for it – and understands what it means to your case – can make all the difference.
For example, every state has specific laws or standards related to statutes of limitation, negligence, causation, contributory negligence, assumption of the risk and others which might be relevant to your case.
Part of that knowledge and expertise also involves choosing the proper venue for your situation as that can affect how much compensation you receive. While it’s clear that a slip and fall case would be filed where the accident occurred, not all personal injury accidents are that clear cut. For example, if you’re injured by a product in your home that was manufactured in another state, the issues related to where to bring the suit can be complicated and need to be analyzed to best protect your interests.
Hiring a personal injury without experience may mean that you are rolling the dice and taking a chance you simply shouldn’t be taking. So, before hiring an attorney, ask them about similar cases they’ve handled, their success rates and whether they are prepared to take the case to trial if needed.
2. Focus. The focus of an attorney’s practice can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. A personal injury lawyer has unique skills when it comes to determining issues of liability such as negligence and causation – and is probably better equipped when it comes to accurately valuing the compensation for which you are entitled.
Approximately 95% of personal injury lawsuits settle before trial, so knowing how to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement is important as many factors are involved. This is definitely not the time to use your Uncle Saul the real estate lawyer – no matter how nice he might be.
3. Reputation. An attorney’s reputation can go a long way when it comes to resolving your case quickly and fairly due to their previous dealings with insurance companies and other lawyers in the area and in the court system(s) in which they practice.
An attorney’s reputation provides that added value as it will precede him or her – not only from a plaintiff’s perspective, but from the defendant’s perspective and the court’s perspective for handling cases and doing things the right way. It puts a client in the best situation to recover as much as they deserve as a result of what happened to them.
4. Objectivity. Objectivity cannot be understated when it comes to being compensated for your injuries. Make sure your attorney is objective and isn’t looking to settle your case too quickly in order to move on to the next client.
5. Personality. Often the most overlooked factor in hiring an attorney is personality. While you may not be discussing your case together over dinner every night, when you’ve been injured the last thing you need is an attorney who is not going to be there for you to ask questions, give you a status on your case or return your calls in a reasonable time.
Hiring a personal injury attorney to assist you with an insurance claim or lawsuit can go a long way towards getting the money you deserve. As you go through the hiring process, remember, you do not need to rush. Be sure you are comfortable with your lawyer’s ethics and experience, and feel free to talk to multiple attorneys before selecting the right one for you. Selecting your attorney is an important step, and you can take the time to do it right in order to get the right lawyer for your case.