Personal injury attorneys can sometimes get a negative reputation as “ambulance chasers” and are often the victims of stereotypes and jokes that are not only false, but damaging to the legal system and society as a whole. When you or a loved one suffers an injury as the result of somebody else’s actions, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help build your case, negotiate with the insurance companies, and if necessary represent your case in court. A personal injury attorney is actually in a position to help you obtain a favorable settlement, something that you may not be able to accomplish on your own.
Why do I need a personal injury attorney?
Personal injury cases can be very difficult and stressful, especially when they involve you or a loved one. While it may seem possible to work on a personal injury case yourself, keep in mind that it can be quite challenging. Many people do not take responsibility for their actions and insurance companies will typically work to pay out as little compensation as possible. Without a knowledgeable personal injury attorney you may be taken advantage of if you are not completely familiar with the legal rights and remedies available to you.
When working with insurance companies it is typical for them to try and effect the lowest possible settlement they can. Throughout this process they will also attempt to obtain damaging statements from you that may have a negative impact on your position in the case. In these cases an experienced personal injury attorney should be used to represent you, protecting your best interests and ensuring that you are working toward a favorable settlement. Attempting to handle it on your own can lead to very poor results.
How much does a personal injury attorney cost?
The price of a personal injury attorney can vary from attorney to attorney, so this is not a straightforward question to answer. In a majority of cases, personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingent fee basis, meaning that if the case is won the attorney will receive a percentage of the award as their fee. However, if the attorney does not win the case, no fee will be awarded. It is important to understand that these fees are different from costs associated with your case. You may be responsible for certain costs associated with your case and it is important that you discuss these details with your attorney, likely during your initial consultation, so that you are clear on all of the costs involved with your case.
How can I find a personal injury attorney?
Just like hiring a criminal defense attorney and hiring a DUI attorney you can often find a personal injury attorney through referrals from friends and family or other trusted sources. A referral from a trusted source is always a good place to start. It is also important that you do a bit of research on your own, make sure that the personal injury attorney you are contacting is willing to have a face-to-face meeting with you to discuss your case, often referred to as an initial consultation, which are typically free of charge. It is important that you meet with your attorney to determine your comfort level and make sure that all of your questions are being answered thoroughly and clearly. Remember that there is nothing wrong with meeting with an attorney and then choosing not to hire them, it is important that you feel comfortable and pick the best representation to meet your needs.
Beware of false advertising; in an eagerness to obtain clients many lawyers make false claims and empty promises regarding personal injury case results. Do not be fooled by false advertising. Meeting with your attorney and making sure they are qualified and well experienced in personal injury cases is one of the best methods in selecting a legal representative.
Are there special types of personal injury attorneys?
Yes. It is important to understand that not all personal injury attorneys specialize in all fields of personal injury law. For example, not all personal injury attorneys are qualified to handle medical malpractice law or workers’ compensation cases. Make sure you question the attorney as to whether or not they are a specialist in the area pertaining to your case. It is also helpful to question whether or not the attorney has represented clients who had cases similar to yours.
What are some questions I should ask a personal injury attorney before hiring them?
- What areas do you specialize in?
- Have you ever handled cases similar to mine before? What was the outcome?
- Who will be working on this case with you?
- How long will this case take to be resolved?
- Do you take personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis?
- What can I do to improve my case or to help you in any way?
- How will you keep me informed about the progress of my case?
- Are you easy to contact regarding my case?
- If you are unavailable, who else can I speak to about my case
While there are many questions you could potentially ask a personal injury attorney before hiring them, these should give you some more important areas to focus on to help you determine your comfort level. It is important that the attorney is able to answer these clearly to you so that you are well informed and feel comfortable with the answers you have received. If the attorney is unable to do so, it may not be the best fit.