Getting injured from accidents and other people’s negligence is traumatizing. Additionally, it can cause a host of financial and personal problems. Aside from incurring medical bills, your job or livelihood can also be compromised. That’s why you are allowed to file a compensation claim against the at-fault party in personal injury cases. For that, you need the assistance of an attorney.
Choosing a lawyer that specializes in personal injury cases is very important. If this is your first time, you need to select wisely. This article will teach you the common mistakes to avoid when finding your injury lawyer, especially as a first-timer:
1. Lack Of Research
When finding a personal injury attorney, you must do extensive research. Avoid settling for a general practice lawyer even if you’re in a rush. Although they can handle different kinds of cases, hiring someone who has been practicing personal injury law gives you a better advantage.
You can ask your friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations. Also, consider using the internet to find a qualified personal injury lawyer in your locality. You can join online groups and forums as well. That way, you can learn about the experiences of people from different lawyers.
Once you have a list of potential lawyers to work with, you must do your due diligence by performing the following:
- Look for their work history
- Read up on their profile and academic background
- Ask for feedback from previous clients
- Look for online reviews
- Inquire with the state bar for any previous or ongoing ethics complaints
You can follow these to check their background thoroughly. Remember, finding a personal injury lawyer takes time. You have to do it carefully to ensure you have a greater chance of winning the case.
2. Not Contacting Multiple Lawyers
Settling to consult with a single lawyer is alright, but it would help if you had more options. If you have a list of multiple lawyers, try to contact each one of them and schedule a consultation.
Meeting a potential legal counsel first will help you get insights as to how they really deal with and communicate with clients. Keep in mind that there is no harm in communicating with several personal injury attorneys. You have to look for someone who fits your needs.
3. Not Asking The Right Questions
Asking the right questions during your first meeting with a potential legal counsel can help you choose the best one. You need a lawyer who knows how to explain and communicate the details of the case thoroughly so you can understand how your case is going.
Before going into the details of your claim, you should ask basic questions first to assess how well the lawyer can convey information. You can start with the following questions:
- How many years have you been handling personal injury cases?
- How can you keep me updated on my case as it progresses?
- Will you represent my case personally?
- Did you handle similar cases as mine before?
- How much do you charge?
If they can answer your questions thoroughly and appropriately, you can evaluate how accommodating they are and how much respect they can give you as their potential client.
4. Not Checking Legal Fees
Legal representation is costly, especially when your case takes too long to resolve. Additional fees are probably the last thing you want to worry about after healing from your injuries, but the reality is you still need to prepare a budget if you’re hoping to find a good lawyer.
If you have a list of qualified personal injury lawyers, it is best to compare their legal fees. In most instances, some attorneys charge hourly rates while others bill their clients per case.
Many personal injury lawyers, however, work on contingency fees. This means they will only get paid once they win your case. You don’t have to spend anything as long as you can find a personal injury lawyer who agrees to take on your case. However, the catch is, they will get a percentage of the compensation you will get from the at-fault party.
If money is really tight, finding a personal injury lawyer who will agree to take your case on a contingency basis would be your best option.
5. Finding A Lawyer Who Is Not Experienced In Court Trials
The primary purpose of having a personal injury lawyer is to have them legally represent you during negotiations until the trial and settlement. So, if your claim goes to trial, your lawyer must know how to navigate the rules and procedures of the courtroom.
Some lawyers might be good at negotiating, but that does not mean they are good in the courtroom too. Court procedures could be very technical, and a lot of factors are at play. Your lawyer must be able to present evidence and establish facts that are convincing for the judge or jury.
Finding a lawyer who has trial experience is crucial, especially if you intend to have your claim settled in court. Remember that the lawyer is your representative, and if he or she does not make a good impression in court, that will affect your claim.
6. Rushing The Case Or Settlement
Rushing your case could be detrimental, especially when you’re still in the process of finding a lawyer. When you want to settle your claim quickly, you might overlook many steps in the process. You could end up with an inexperienced lawyer or an unethical one who only cares about monetary compensation.
Dealing with legalities while still recovering from physical injuries is very daunting, especially if it’s your first time. A good lawyer, however, can take off a lot of weight on your shoulders. Aside from negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf, they can also represent your case in court if a trial is necessary.
Looking for the right personal injury lawyer may take time. Most first-timers make the mistake of rushing things and forget to do due diligence in selecting a lawyer. To avoid these mistakes, you can follow the tips provided. Do your research, ask questions, talk to various lawyers or ask for referrals before hiring one.