You were injured and left to fend for yourself, you were hurt by the actions of others and now they are trying to sweep you under the rug or brush you aside. The legal system is designed to protect your rights and try to make you whole. But the laws that protect you are specific and have to be followed precisely. This is an overwhelming process and you do not even know where to begin...
You need an attorney, but before hiring a personal injury lawyer, here are a few thing's you'll need to know about him or her.
The 5 things you need to know before hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer deal with:
- Area of Practice
- Track Record
Does He or She Practice in Personal Injury Law?
Many law firms offer a variety of services, make sure that the lawyer you hire practices specifically in the area of personal injury. When you meet with an attorney, make sure that they will be your attorney. Some lawyers will pass cases on to newer attorneys or send a paralegal to "investigate" your case instead of meeting with you directly. If the attorney doesn't have time to meet with you, he or she probably won't be able to give your case the time it needs, which could really hurt you in the long run.
There are a lot of details in injury law, any one of them may be the loophole that wins or loses your case. It's vital that your lawyer be dedicated to the field of injury law, because you can guarantee that the insurance company's lawyer will be an injury law specialist.
What is His or Her Track Record?
Anyone can tell you how good he or she is, but the proof is in the track record.
- How long have they been practicing personal injury law?
- How many cases have they handled?
- What types of injury cases do they handle?
- What are the case results?
- What do their clients have to say about them?
They don't have to have a big name or a lot of billboards to indicate their success. Anyone can buy marketing. A good reputation in the legal community and with their past clients is typically the best indication.
How Long Will it Take?
Sometimes a lawyer can get all the information submitted to the insurance and settle with them without going to court, this is both faster and cheaper. In most cases though, a good lawyer will be realistic and tell you what you need to know rather than what you want to hear. A bad lawyer will tell you that he can get you a cash settlement quickly, then string you along for his own convenience or gain.
How Much Will it Cost?
In the area of personal injury, attorneys are paid a contingency fee. There are no up-front costs and the lawyer is paid a percentage of whatever amount of money he or she recovers on your behalf.
Don't expect the person at fault or the at-fault party's insurance company to take care of you and treat you fairly. In fact, you should probably wait to even speak to the at-fault party's insurance company until you have spoken to an attorney on your own. And DO NOT sign papers with the insurance company. You're already suffering physically, emotionally and psychologically, you shouldn't need to suffer financially as well.