Four Things to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring a personal injury attorney to handle your injury claim can be very beneficial. Victims represented by an attorney often receive larger settlement offers.
The insurance company realizes that the attorney is willing to take the matter to court if necessary, which would cost the insurance company more money.
Having a personal injury law firm on your side evens the playing field. Insurance providers and corporations have unlimited resources to investigate and fight an accident claim. You need a legal team on your side with the resources and skills to fight for you.
Your lawyer also protects you from bad faith insurance tactics, the stress of dealing with an injury claim, and making errors that could hurt your chance of receiving a fair settlement amount.
Having someone to provide support and guidance through a difficult and challenging period can be comforting as you continue to heal from your accident injuries.
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What Matters Should You Consider When Searching for a Personal Injury Lawyer?
When you meet with a lawyer to discuss your personal injury case, you want to ask as many questions as necessary to determine if the attorney is the best attorney to handle your case. However, four questions you always want to ask before hiring a personal injury attorney are:
1. What Types of Cases Do You Handle?
One of the most important considerations when hiring a personal injury lawyer is the area of expertise. Search for an attorney whose primary area of practice is personal injury cases. It is even better to find an attorney who handles the same types of cases like your case.
For example, suppose you were injured by medical malpractice or because of a defective product, you want to ensure that the lawyer has significant experience handling the same type of personal injury case. An attorney who routinely handles the same type of cases develops considerable skills, knowledge, and resources that benefit you when the attorney handles your case.
Furthermore, lawyers who build a reputation in the area of personal injury law might have to work less to obtain a favorable settlement offer.
Insurance companies are aware of the reputations and success rates of personal injury lawyers within each jurisdiction.
Jurors might also be familiar with the lawyer as a trusted legal advocate for accident victims, which can also benefit you if the case goes to trial.
2. What is Your Fee and Billing Policy?
Personal injury lawyers usually work on a contingency-fee basis. The attorney does not receive his attorneys’ fees until he recovers money for your claim. If the attorney does not recover compensation for you, you do not owe the attorney any money for attorneys’ fees.
Contingency fees are common in most personal injury cases, including cases involving car accidents, slip and falls, construction injuries, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle crashes, and many other types of injury cases.
Before hiring an attorney, make sure you understand the fee structure. Confirm that if the attorney does not recover compensation, you will not owe any money for attorneys’ fees. Additionally, ask whether the percentage of the contingency fee increases if the case goes to trial.
Costs are different from attorneys’ fees. The costs of a case might include postage, travel expense, deposition fees, expert witness fees, copy costs, and court fees. Attorneys handle costs in different ways.
Some lawyers might bill costs as they are incurred or periodically throughout the case. Other lawyers may wait until the case settles to deduct all costs from the settlement proceeds. However, some lawyers might hold you responsible for costs regardless of whether you receive compensation for your claim.
Always make sure you understand when you will be responsible for fees and costs.
3. What is the Percentage of Cases Settled?
Many personal injury cases settle without the need to file a personal injury lawsuit. The parties might negotiate a settlement, or they might enter mediation to reach a settlement agreement. However, some cases will go to trial because the parties cannot resolve the dispute between themselves.
Therefore, you want an attorney who is both a talented negotiator and a skilled, aggressive trial lawyer. Whether your case settles or goes to trial, you know your lawyer is prepared. If the attorney has little trial experience, you might want to meet with several other lawyers.
Insurance companies track the number of cases that law firms settle.
When an attorney has a reputation of being willing to take a case to trial if that is the best way to protect the client’s best interests, the insurance company might be more willing to negotiate a higher settlement to avoid court.
Lawyers who never go to court might not be as successful when negotiating with an insurance company.
4. Who Will Handle My Case?
Some lawyers hand all cases to an associate lawyer or a paralegal to handle. When you hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim, you expect the lawyer you hire to work on your case.
A law firm needs to have sufficient staff members and resources to handle the cases it accepts. It benefits you when a law firm has a talented, experienced team of legal professionals to work on your case. However, you want to confirm that the lawyer you retain will be the person who oversees your case.
Another question to ask is who negotiates directly with the insurance provider. Members of the legal teamwork to gather evidence, research laws, and prepare a demand settlement package. However, who will talk to the insurance claims representative to negotiate the settlement?
Confirm that your lawyer, the person with the expertise, reputation, and negotiating skills, will be the person who fights to recover the maximum amount of compensation available for your injury claim.
One More Factor to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Effective communication is essential during a personal injury case. Your attorney might need to contact you for information. You may also need to talk to your lawyer if a problem arises or you have a concern.
Ask the lawyer how he communicates with clients and how often you can expect to receive updates about your case. Ensure that the forms of communication work best for you, such as email, text messages, regular mail, and telephone calls.
Also, ask the lawyer how quickly he returns messages, both urgent and non-urgent messages. When you need to talk to your lawyer, you want to know that he will be available to address your concerns.
Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. offers a free consultation to accident victims in New York City. Don’t hesitate to contact our law office to schedule yours today. Our NYC personal injury lawyers would be happy to review your case and answer any questions you might have.