One of the most important decisions that you will be faced with following an accidental injury will be choosing the right attorney to represent you.
Many attorneys claim they handle personal injury cases. However, not all of them are qualified to do so. Some inexperienced attorneys can view personal injury cases as “easy money.” They do very little work and expect that they can settle the case and make a quick buck. The problem for the client in this scenario is that they likely received far less money then they should have because no one put in the work required to get them their fare compensation.
Only an experienced, aggressive personal injury attorney familiar with the nuances of the field will be able to maximize an injury settlement. There is a lot of work that needs to be done to maximize a recovery. An experienced, aggressive attorney will investigate all of the facts of a case, gather all information such as witness statements, photographs and medical records, review those records, litigate the case in court, hire experts, negotiate a settlement, and if necessary, go to trial. This type of approach will obviously yield far better results for a client then the attorney that is sitting around hoping for a call from an insurance adjuster offering a quick settlement.
So how can you ensure that you hire the type of attorney that is going to maximize your recovery? There are five simple steps to follow when searching for a personal injury lawyer.
First, be aware of the “ambulance chaser.” If you receive an unsolicited call or letter from a lawyer following an accident, be careful. This unsavory practice is frowned upon in the legal feild and may also be considered unethical. You would most certainly want to avoid a lawyer that engages in this type of practice.
Second, start your search by looking for an attorney with a proven track record of success in the field of personal injury. Look at their prior trial results and settlements. There is no substitute for successful experience. If your potential attorney can’t show you some of their successful case results, you may want to find another lawyer.
Third, the attorney should not be a jack-of-all-trades. The attorney should concentrate their practice in the area of personal injury. If your attorney is doing real estate, criminal law, family law or any other type of law, in conjunction with personal injury, they probably are not particularly well versed in personal injury law. Personal injury law is a complex and constantly changing field and an injured party would do well to find a lawyer who concentrates in only that area. Make sure you ask what types of cases the attorney handles.
Fourth, make sure your attorney has the resources to pursue your case. They will need both man power and money to maximize your recovery. There is a great deal of paperwork involved in personal injury law, as well as many financial expenses. A talented support staff and large monetary reserve are necessary to carry a case to fruition. Therefore, be inquisitive. Look around and ask questions. Where is the attorney’s office? Is it large, comfortable and furnished appropriately? Does the attorney have a staff? Does the office appear alive and bustling? Does the energy in the office feel positive? If you do not get a feeling of comfort from what you are seeing and hearing, beware.
Fifth, make sure the attorney is upfront with respect to his fees and expenses associated with the case. The attorney should have a thorough retainer agreement for you to review that lists their financial compensation and expenses. If the attorney does not have a full and thorough retainer or refuses to provide you a copy, you should be careful.
Moreover, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. If you don’t like what you are hearing, keep searching for the right attorney. He or she is out there.