If you’ve suffered a personal injury through the fault of another, you may be out of work, overwhelmed with piles of medical bills, or in constant pain and agony. Under any of these circumstances, researching, locating, and learning how to find the best personal injury lawyer to handle your claim in court can seem like yet one more insurmountable obstacle. There are, however, some guidelines that can help you select the right personal injury attorney. With the right advocate on your side, you can breathe a sigh of relief and let someone else carry at least part of your burden, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
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Personal Injury Attorney Selection Tips
One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a personal injury attorney is whether the attorney has experience in and concentrates his or her legal practice on personal injury law. Attorneys with personal injury law as their primary focus have a decided advantage in that they understand the complexities of the area, can more easily keep abreast of the latest developments and ever-evolving laws, and are more likely to know the habits and tactics of opposing counsel-all of which can give their clients an edge over the defendants. Plaintiffs’ attorneys with demonstrated experience dealing with insurance companies and their attorneys may have also gained credibility with these and similar types of common and recurring opposing parties, and thus have “less to prove” in order to achieve an equitable settlement on their clients’ behalf.
Another factor worth considering is whether a particular personal injury lawyer has experience trying cases and winning substantial verdicts. Although most personal injury claims are settled out of court, knowing that an attorney is a skilled litigator can add an additional dimension to the client’s overall sense of security. And if the case does fail to settle, strong and shrewd litigation skills can almost certainly precipitate a better outcome for the plaintiff.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingent-fee basis, under which the client pays a fee only if he or she wins the case. Typical contingent fees range from thirty to forty percent of the amount of damages recovered; if no damages are recovered, no legal fees are due, but costs may still need to be paid. Although it may be tempting to choose a lawyer based on who will take the lowest percentage, fees alone should not be the determining factor. Often the most experienced lawyers may claim the higher fees, but if the attorney is not skilled and experienced, the plaintiff may have a lesser chance of prevailing, and any percentage of nothing is nothing.
Many lawyers provide initial consultations free of charge. Thus, potential plaintiffs may interview multiple candidates before signing a fee agreement. Care should be taken, however, to make a selection in a relatively short period of time, since the law provides strict limits on the time periods in which suit may be brought. Once engaged, a lawyer should be responsive to the client’s needs, answering questions satisfactorily, returning phone calls promptly, and, most importantly, representing the client’s interests zealously. If at any time a client is dissatisfied with his or her counsel, the client should be able to change lawyers without penalty.
The Need for an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
When you’re injured, you need all the help you can get, and you need it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, that means that some injury victims pick the first attorney they find, rather than making an informed choice. It’s important to educate yourself and find the right fit for you and your case. Using this list, you can find the right attorney to make the most of your case.
Experience Assessing Claims—Personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can tell you at the outset whether it is worth your while to pursue legal action. If you are unlikely to prevail, you will not need to incur the time and expense of preparing for litigation.
No Fees If You Don’t Recover—Most personal injury attorneys work for a contingency fee, which means that if you do not win your case, you will pay no attorneys’ fees. You will, however, be responsible for certain expenses not directly related to professional fees, such as the fees doctors charge for reviewing your records or being interviewed.
Red Tape—An experienced attorney can work through the maze of paperwork necessary to resolve your claim so that you can get on with your life.
Investigative Team—Experienced attorneys work with a team of investigators who have experience in specialized areas and will skillfully investigate the technical aspects of your case.
Objectivity—A personal injury attorney can be more objective about your case than you can and will not make a rash decision. Whereas you may be tempted, for instance, to go for a quick payout, your attorney may counsel you that it is in your best interests to wait for a more appropriate offer.
Alternative Dispute Resolution—An experienced attorney will know whether your dispute may be best resolved through mediation, thereby saving you time, money, and emotional energy.
Experience Working With Other Lawyers—An experienced personal injury lawyer can deal most effectively and expediently with opposing counsel.
Experience With Insurance Companies—Lawyers are also used to working with insurance companies and will not be confused by their tactics or feel pressured to settle for an unsatisfactory amount.
Best Settlements—Personal injury attorneys work hard to reach the best settlements for their clients, as early in the litigation process as possible.
Best Jury Verdicts—If a trial becomes necessary, a personal injury lawyer can zealously represent you in court and work toward achieving the best possible jury verdict in your favor.
Dealing with an injury, potential income loss, almost certain medical bills, and the resulting stress and anxiety can be overwhelming. One way to alleviate some immediate pressure and ensure the most favorable long-term consequences is to select a personal injury lawyer who is experienced, skilled, and responsive to his or her clients’ needs.
Experienced lawyers can take care of all of your legal needs so that you can focus your energies on your recovery, and they may even be able to help you secure interim benefits to which you are legally entitled, well in advance of resolution of your lawsuit. If you have been injured, contact Ankin Law today.