If you’ve been injured in an accident and are suffering a personal injury, you’re well aware that stress (as well as bills, responsibilities, hassles) simply seems to skyrocket. Whether big or small, a personal injury accident puts your life at a halt, adding a mountain of emotional, mental and physical difficulties that you now must pick yourself back up from, work around or persevere through.
Luckily, a load can be taken off when you hire a personal injury attorney. A personal accident can (will) amount to piles of legal work, and a rabbit-hole of files and procedures that aren’t exactly listed out in layman’s terms. You need someone that is specialized and trained in the legal proceedings, the jargon and simply the step-by-step journey that is navigating a personal injury case. A personal injury attorney has gone to school and studied the exact situation you are in. His/her entire job is to know your case, fight your case and win your case.
Find a personal injury attorney that will work for you. Here are a few key things to consider when picking the right one.
From the very beginning, there should be an open, transparent conversation about pricing. Establish what the lawyer charges for, and what his/her provisions are, whether it be a contingency basis or an hourly rate. For example, some lawyers only charge you if they win your case, but their definition of “win” could be a case dismissal, a reduced fine, etc. Stay clear and on the same page from the get-go to avoid any mishaps.
Also, consider the cost of your accident versus the cost of hiring an attorney. While you can’t go wrong with the legal help of an attorney, sometime the pay off isn’t worth it.
2. Check State Bar Listings
Make yourself aware of any disciplinary history associated with the lawyer. It may be listed as public record, so do your homework. If something comes up, don’t be afraid to inquire directly with the lawyer, and highly assess how they respond. You want a lawyer that can handle the hot seat.
3. Experience & Training
Ask your candidate to share past experiences and success stories they’ve had with previous clients. Assess how they handle themselves with a win or loss, and consider if this is someone you want representing you. Keep a high radar for authenticity — no lawyer is going to tell you about his/her failures and struggles. Their explanation of past cases are obviously going to put them in a good light, so stay aware of genuine performance versus a charismatic, scripted performance. Ask questions, engage and and try and get a feel for your lawyer as a whole.
4. Referrals, Recommendations, Reviews
A branch off of the above is to do your own investigating. Ask around for someone who’s dealt with a respectable attorney. Gauge your judgment of said person, and go from there. Browse online reviews.
When meeting with them in person, try and get a feel for their character. Trust your instincts. Commit when you feel comfortable to have this person speaking for you.
A key factor to a successful case is your communication with your lawyer. Be confident in your conversations — pipe up when you have a question, or don’t fully understand something.
Also, you lived your personal injury experience first hand, but your lawyer did not. Make sure you’ve filled them in entirely on every detail, and what you’re trying to gain out of this. A two-sided flow of communication is the only way for terms to finalize on the same page.
When you’ve been burdened with a personal injury, you now have a slew of new, foreign things to consider. When done right, a personal injury attorney can take off part of the burden for you. But, to find success in that, you need to vet your lawyer and make sure they will bring you good, and not more trouble.