Every year, hundreds of thousands of people die from accidental injuries and over 27 million suffer injuries that require medical attention in the emergency room. The cost of all of these injuries? Over $600 billion.
Injuries result in medical costs, lost wages from time off of work, loss of future wages if your injuries impact your long-term ability to work, and psychological costs, such as pain and suffering or loss of companionship. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident that was due to another person’s actions or negligence, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to represent you.
If you find a personal injury lawyer with experience in your type of case, they can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Read on to learn more about how to go about finding a lawyer that’s right for you and your case.
Ask for Recommendations and Referrals
It’s hard to watch TV without seeing countless commercials for personal injury lawyers and law firms. Don’t just go with the one you remember from TV though. Ask family and friends for recommendations of attorneys they have worked with (or for ones to steer clear of) and if you know any lawyers, as them for a referral for someone who practices personal injury.
Google is also your friend here, as you can quickly obtain a list of local personal injury lawyers along with their reviews. This can help narrow your list down, as you likely will want to eliminate any that have low scores or negative online reviews.
Do Your Research
Once you’ve done some basic research and gotten recommendations, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Scour each attorney’s website, reading through their about me pages, their practice areas, information about successful cases, and any client testimonials they may have.
Pay attention to their experience. You don’t want to hire an attorney with no experience in personal injury cases to represent you. Further, you also want someone who has experience with your particular type of case, not just general personal injury experience.
You should also check your state bar association website to see if they have any grievances or disciplinary actions for misconduct or other behavior that could be concerning. Finally, if you know other attorneys, ask them about those that you are considering. A referral from another attorney is a good way to gauge how effective, honest, and ethical they are.
Meet With Potential Attorneys
After you do your in-depth research, create a shortlist of attorneys you’d like to meet with or speak with on the phone. Most attorneys offer a free case consultation where you can ask questions, discuss your case, and the attorney can advise whether they think you have a good case that is winnable. Use this meeting to find out more about the attorney.
Things you should ask include:
- How long have you been practicing?
- Do you have experience with cases similar to mine?
- Who else will work on this case?
- What kinds of resources do you have to handle this case?
- What is your fee structure?
- What kinds of case expenses should I expect?
- How do you communicate and how often?
- Do you have trial experience?
- What percentage of your cases are referrals from other lawyers?
- Do you only handle personal injury cases?
- What do you think my case is worth?
The answers to these questions and how willingly the attorney answers them should guide you in your final decision.
Understand the Fees and Cost
Beyond an attorney’s experience, one of the most important things to know more about is their fee structure and the costs you can expect to make your case. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t get paid unless you win your case. If you do win, the typical contingency fee is 1/3 of your settlement amount.
Beyond the lawyer’s fee, however, there are other expenses that come up in preparing your case, such as accident reconstruction experts, expert witnesses, costs for medical records, court reporting fees, filing fees, and physician reports. These fees are not contingency-based and must be paid as the case proceeds.
Some attorneys will ask the client to pay all or part of these fees upfront while others may pay them as the case proceeds and then get reimbursed from the final settlement. If you lose the case, some attorneys will still require you to pay back the fees while others will not.
Before signing a contract with an attorney, it’s important that you understanding they work on a contingency basis, if they will front the money for your fees, how much you can expect to spend in fees, and what happens if the case is lost. Don’t sign with an attorney who is not clear and direct on fees and what you can expect.
What Do They Think Your Case Is Worth and How Long Will It Take?
You may have a certain number in mind when you speak with your attorney for your consultation. They can advise you whether they think it is attainable or if they think your case is worth more or less. While they can’t guarantee you any amount, experienced attorneys will be able to give you a ballpark range of what you might expect based on their experience with similar cases.
Depending on the strategy you and your attorney agree on, whether it’s to get the highest amount possible no matter how long it takes or obtaining a settlement as quickly as possible with as few expenses as possible, your case could take anywhere from months to even years. Once again, an attorney with experience will have a ballpark idea of how long you can expect the process to take.
Your Search to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you need to find a personal injury lawyer, you will want to start your search sooner rather than later. An attorney can guide you through every step of the process to improve your chances at a fair settlement.
Luckily, the attorneys at Sweet Law have years of experience handling personal injury cases ranging from car accidents to assaults to defective products. Contact us today for a free case consultation.