You’ve seen their billboards and you’ve listened to their commercial jingles. But are the most visible personal injury lawyers in your area really the best?
There are different types of attorneys out there and it’s important to find the right one for your specific case. Don’t just accept the first “ambulance chaser” who solicits you. Instead, let’s look at how to find the best personal injury lawyer.
What Is A Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers help clients who have been harmed by another party, whether that harm was caused by accident or negligence. Such an attorney will work to defend their client’s rights and earn them proper compensation for their injury.
You’re fully entitled to settle such a case on your own, but there are many legal and emotional benefits to retaining an experienced lawyer. Not only can their knowledge of the law help navigate your case toward a better settlement, but they can assume the burden of the workload as you heal.
If you’ve been injured and need legal assistance, you’re looking for an attorney who has successfully negotiated similar cases with impressive results. Luckily, many personal injury lawyers are specialized in certain claims – and the variety might surprise you!
Types of Personal Injury Lawyer
The most common specialized lawyers deal with vehicular accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, construction accidents, slips and falls, recreational accidents, nursing home neglect, and even dog bites. Most injuries sustained in these cases are considered unintentional but can still be brought before the courts.
Other specialized lawyers deal with clients whose injuries have been sustained with intent. These attorneys take on cases involving defamation, sexual abuse, and intentional injury.
Benefits Of A Specialist Lawyer
Generalist lawyers tackle a wide range of cases and their strengths may apply to your particular injury. When possible, however, it’s best to seek out a specialist lawyer who has the resources and connections to get you compensated. Specialist lawyers know valued physicians who can evaluate a client’s injury. Plus, they can quickly assess the merits of your claim and prove liability.
While every injury is serious and deserves attention, the complexity of each case differs. That’s why it’s essential that you find a lawyer who has experience in your injury type. You wouldn’t seek out a slip-and-fall lawyer for a medical malpractice lawsuit, or a construction accident lawyer for a nursing home neglect case, would you?
24 Hour Lawyers
Some personal injury attorneys are also what’s known as “24-hour lawyers”. They cover the same accident and negligence cases but make themselves available around the clock for the benefit of their clients.
Whereas many lawyers are only available during traditional working hours, 24-hour lawyers can be reached at any time. Open availability could make a big difference, especially since vehicular accidents, construction accidents, slips and falls, recreational accidents, and dog bites frequently happen at night.
Meet Them Face-To-Face
It’s incredibly helpful to book a one-on-one consultation with prospective lawyers before you make a final choice. This way, you can gauge their attention and interest level in your case. It’s also a good opportunity to assess their personality; after all, you might be spending a lot of time with this person!
Don’t be bashful about asking tough questions when you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer. Ask them about their success rate, both in negotiating settlements and litigating cases. Attorneys should be more than happy to discuss their winning record – that is, unless they don’t have one!
Feel free to ask them how long they’ve been practicing personal injury law. You can also ask them how much your case is worth. Experienced lawyers should be able to provide an estimate on settlement amounts, provided the case goes according to plan.
Get A Second Opinion
If you’re on the fence about your choice of attorney, you can do your own investigative digging. Every personal injury lawyer has a specialty, even if they don’t market themselves as having one. To determine an attorney’s strengths and weaknesses, you should research reviews and testimonials from previous clients.
Alternatively, you can ask your friends, neighbors, and family for referrals. Most people know someone who has used the services of a personal injury lawyer. Their positive or negative experiences will help you filter your list of candidates.
Ask About Contingency
It’s hard enough to fathom paying a lawyer hundreds of dollars per hour when you’re healthy, so being injured makes that scenario even harder. For this reason, it’s a good idea to broach the subject of contingency with your prospective attorney.
Most lawyers are willing to work on contingency, meaning that they don’t get paid until you get compensation. Attorneys frequently charge between 25% and 40% of the final settlement, however some want to take an even bigger cut. Discuss contingency rates with your prospective lawyer to make sure you’re on the same page.
Finding a lawyer who is committed to your case and willing to work within your financial constraints is important, because cases can take a long time. Most personal injury claims take between one and three years to get resolved.
The other party could slow down proceedings, or you may need time to determine the extent of your injuries. Other timeline factors include the court’s schedule, a stalemate in negotiations, and the cooperation of insurance companies.
It’s normally advised that you interview at least a couple different personal injury lawyers. Meeting a variety of options will help you gain a better understanding of your own legal needs.
If you find yourself in a dire situation and need immediate representation, however, it’s helpful to know that 24 hour lawyers are available. In fact, a quick online search reveals a number of resources that will connect you with 24-hour lawyers in your area.
What’s most important is that you have representation. If the other party has a lawyer and you don’t, the odds of getting compensated for your injury are low.