When you suffer a severe injury, any number of things can happen—and usually, they happen at the same time. You can find yourself unable to work, and you can experience mounting medical and other bills. You can also run into issues receiving payments from the company where you experienced the injury or the insurance company of the person who caused it to happen. In cases like these, you may need to pursue a lawsuit to receive the settlement that you’re due.
Mounting a lawsuit alone isn’t merely difficult—it’s not a great idea. You need to enlist the services of an attorney, but not just any kind of attorney. You need a personal injury lawyer who has experience inside and outside the courtroom to ensure you receive fair treatment and support. Get started by reading these great tips for picking a great personal injury lawyer.
Referrals and Recommendations
Your first step is to find in a friend or trustworthy acquaintance who’s had past experience engaging in their own lawsuit. Ask them for recommendations. The internet also has plenty of reviews of lawyers and law firms, so look for a lawyer who has more impressed clients than disappointed ones. Call them afterward and do a quick interview with the attorney to see if they’re available. An interview also allows you to get a feel for how they work and what they’ve done in the past.
Pick a Lawyer Who Is a Personal Injury lawyer
There are many attorneys out there, not every attorney is a personal injury lawyer. A practitioner of family law, a business lawyer, or a criminal defense attorney can all be exceptionally good at what they do, yet lack train and experience in personal injury lawsuits. If an attorney doesn’t have experience in personal injury law, don’t waste your time hiring them.
Pick a Pit Bull, Not a Poodle
The next of our tips for picking a great personal injury lawyer is this: find a lawyer known for going to the mat for their clients. While some cases can be settled outside of court, make sure you get a lawyer who won’t simply accept the minimal payment for working with you and then walk away. Look into their past cases and see how they conducted themselves and represented their clients. You want to pick someone who will stand by your side—and stay there until your problem is completely resolved. You want to be able to rely on the lawyer you choose, so pick them carefully.
Aggressiveness Is Good, but Not Toward You
You absolutely want an attorney who’s fearless and ready to legally fight it out with the other side. What you don’t want is a personal injury lawyer who rubs you the wrong way. Arrange for a consultation so you can discuss your case. Tell the attorney all the details and pay attention to how they talk to you and outline your options. If the attorney is offensive, belittling, or otherwise off-putting, they’re not the partner you want beside you during the case. In fact, you may receive signals that they won’t be there for you at all. Save yourself time, worry, and money. Find a lawyer you can have a good relationship with and who will keep you in the loop.
They Should Be Able To Help You With Funding
Your lawyer can’t legally lend you money; doing so would create a conflict of interest. On the other hand, they can inform you of ways to take care of medical bills, legal expenses, and other costs associated with a personal injury lawsuit. Ask them about personal injury lawsuit funding, and if it’s pre- or post-settlement. Pre-settlement funding is given by financial firms that base the money they give you on the potential settlement of your case. Post-settlement funds work in the same way, except they’re paid while you await the final settlement. Funding can be used to make life easier for you while ensuring you receive medical treatment that can’t wait until after payment.
Are They Permitted To Practice Law?
In order to practice law, lawyers need to pass their state’s bar exam and are subject to review by their state bar afterward. Look up your potential lawyer at your state’s bar’s website to check their past record. Note whether official complaints, questions of malpractice, or disciplinary actions have been brought up. If they aren’t listed, they won’t be able to practice law in your state at all.
Are They Equipped To Handle Your Case?
Big money is often at stake during a personal injury case. Insurance companies are both well-heeled and well-represented by attorneys who are eminently qualified and experienced in defending their clients’ interests. If your lawyer is a small-time general practitioner, they’ll be the first ones to tell you that they’re not properly equipped or well-funded enough to handle your case. Consider engaging a large firm. The professionals there will have long-time experience and access to resources that a smaller firm would not.
Good Lawyers Keep in Touch and Stay Available
This can only be assessed once you’ve retained your attorney, but it makes the importance of referrals very clear. Your lawyer needs to keep you informed of the status of your case. This doesn’t mean 24/7 service and regular round-the-clock reports. There will be times when there’s nothing to report—but you’ve engaged them to represent you, so you should expect a measure of availability and accessibility. They should be in touch with you at least once a week and return your phone calls and emails within a day or less.
Feeling Out Their Fee
What will the representation cost, and will the settlement be worth it? Find out how your potential personal injury lawyer will charge you. Unless you’re a billionaire, avoid lawyers that charge by the hour. They could very well spend your settlement before you get it. Contingency fees tend to be the norm, meaning that the attorney or their firm gets a percentage of the final settlement. This means that they won’t get paid if they lose the case. However, contingency fees are calculated according to the likelihood of winning. If your lawyer has a good feeling about the case—usually based on previous cases that they’ve won—they’re more likely to take it on a contingency fee basis.