A personal injury attorney helps individuals who were injured as a result of negligence, misconduct, or intentional wrongdoing of another person or party. The lawyer may take many steps to ensure that the client receives the compensation that he or she deserves. This includes gathering proof of the incident, looking for and interviewing witnesses, calculating the damages resulting from the injury, submitting a demand, filing and prosecuting a lawsuit, and counseling the client throughout the entire claims process.
Thomas M. Hunter, Attorney at Law, is an experienced personal injury attorney on whom you can rely. He will not let you face this extremely difficult time of your life on your own.
Advice on Selecting the Best Personal Injury Attorney
1. Look for an Attorney with Experience
The practice of law has grown increasingly specialized. As a result, your initial step should be to locate an attorney who has experience representing plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits. Even if an attorney has extensive expertise in claims work, you may not want to engage one who has represented chiefly insurance companies. A lawyer accustomed to dealing with insurance companies may not adequatelt prosecute your claim. On the other hand, a qualified plaintiff’s attorney, one with some experience defending the other party, can be a significant asset. Mr. Hunter worked in claims for a major casualty insurance company before attending law school, so he has an understanding of the “mindset” and inner workings of insurance carriers.
2. Find a Lawyer Who Would Be Interested in Your Case
A good attorney-client relationship is really a working partnership. Both sides must understand the other and both sides need to know what the other side expects. If there is an unwillingness to “partner up”, to work the case together, to communicate openly, honestly and freely and to pursue the case in a legal and ethical way, then that attorney-client relationship is doomed to failure. It is important, then, to consider “interview” the lawyer, get to know him or her, find out what he or she will do and how things will be done.
Since most personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, many lawyers are only interested in “serious” injury cases, meaning cases with substantial damages. A lawyer has only so many hours in his or her day and the lawyer can spend that time on a million dollar case or a thousand dollar case. Make sure that the lawyer is willing to do what is necessary to handle your claim to a successful conclusion with fair compensation. If the lawyer is unwilling to take your case to trial, for example, because it is not “substantial” enough, you need to find a lawyer who will.
Just as you are interviewing the lawyer, the lawyer is also interviewing you. If there are substantial problems in your claim that militate against a sufficient recovery, the lawyer may decline to represent you. The lawyer will want to spend his or her time where it can generate the best result.
If your case is too small of too “iffy” in the lawyer’s estimation, you may be able to employ the lawyer on an hourly basis. In such an instance, you will bear the entire risk (and enjoy the entire reward) if the claim is successful.
Finally, a lawyer may decline to take your case if the two of you may not get along or not feel comfortable with one another. If your personality and that of the lawyer immediately clash, the lawyer may conclude that managing your lawsuit is simply not worth it. You both need to be on the same team and, if you are infighting, you are not fighting the opposition.
3. Ask Your Friends and Colleagues For Recommendations
Contact friends or coworkers who have had their personal injury claims handled by a lawyer. If they speak well of the experience, add that attorney to your list of candidates. However, never choose a lawyer simply based on another’s recommendation. Individuals will react differently to a lawyer’s style and personality. Do not hire a lawyer unless you have met with them, discussed your case, and determined that you are comfortable getting into a working relationship with them.
4.Lawyers You Are Already Familiar With
You may already be acquainted with a lawyer, either personally or through the lawyer’s representation of you in a previous legal situation. Therefore, hiring someone you already know may seem intuitive when considering a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury lawsuit. This attorney, however, may lack experience representing clients in personal injury cases. If this is the case, request a referral from the lawyer to someone who would be a good fit, either at the lawyer’s office or elsewhere. Lawyers frequently refer cases to one another, and most attorneys know someone in their network who handles personal injury cases for plaintiffs. As with referrals from friends or coworkers, still do your due diligence even when recommended by another lawyer.
Online resources can provide legal information and attorney directories that can assist you in compiling a list of prospective attorneys with whom to speak about your case. Online resources can provide legal information and attorney directories that can assist you in compiling a list of prospective attorneys with whom to speak about your case.
6. Choosing the Correct Attorney
Regardless of how you initially connect with a candidate, it’s essential to meet with the lawyer to discuss your claim. Bring copies of all documentation pertaining to your claim, including the police report, medical bills, information about your lost wages, and all correspondence with the insurance provider, including your demand letter, if you have reached that stage. The majority of personal injury attorneys offer no-cost initial consultations. Use that time to ask essential questions, such as:
- How long has the attorney been practicing?
- How much of the lawyer’s practice consists of personal injury cases?
- Is the attorney more frequently called upon to represent plaintiffs (claimants) or defendants (businesses, insurance companies)?
- Is the lawyer familiar with the insurance company involved in your case, or perhaps with the specific insurance adjuster?
7. Who Will Assist You With Your Case?
Typically, lawyers and staff personnel collaborate collaborate on cases. Lawyers may supervise and delegate certain functions and tasks to paralegals. This can be advantageous if work is completed more rapidly. Furthermore, if you are paying by the hour, it is in your best interest to avoid having the more costly lawyer fees when the tasks can be handled less expensively with a paralegal’s time.
8. Which is better, a small or a large firm?
The size of a law firm has little bearing on how successfully it handles your case. You may believe that a major law firm will intimidate an insurance company into paying you more money, but this is rarely the case. At a large firm, a small personal injury case can easily get lost in the shuffle. Additionally, these firms have a habit of liberally spending money on expenses that may consume a significant portion of your prospective compensation.
Insurance companies know that large law firms frequently devote less time and attention to a smaller, typical personal injury case than smaller firms will spend. As a result, insurance adjusters dealing with large firms may make smaller personal injury settlement offers, expecting that the client’s busy lawyer will accept it. You are more likely to obtain personalized service from, and have better communication with, a small law firm. Many of the most outstanding personal injury attorneys choose to work in small firms.
Regardless of who you hire, you will want to be assured that critical work on your case is not delegated to inexperienced personnel. When interviewing a lawyer for the first time, inquire which lawyer in the office would be responsible for your case and who you would be working with personally. If more than one lawyer handles your case, request to meet and discuss your case with the other lawyers. Additionally, inquire about which aspects of the case the lead lawyer will directly handle and which will be delegated to a paralegal.
9. Communication Channels
When choosing a lawyer, the ability of you and your lawyer to communicate successfully is crucial. Is the lawyer receptive to your concerns? Is the lawyer willing to consult with you on strategic matters? Is the lawyer clear in his or her explanations? Do you think your attorney will keep you informed and listen to your views before making critical case decisions?
The desire of a lawyer to listen and comprehend you may influence how much you can assist the lawyer and whether you have some control over how the lawyer handles his or her duties. The willingness and competence of your lawyer to explain what is happening in your case will also affect your capacity to make sound decisions. Additionally, your capacity to communicate with one another may make the entire procedure significantly less stressful.
10. Your Settlement Objective
After examining the specifics of your case with the lawyer and the history of your negotiations with the insurance company, the lawyer may offer you an opinion on the value of your case and the difficulty of obtaining payment from the insurance company. This is the time to discuss the various approaches to your case with the lawyer and whether the lawyer is willing to handle it in the manner you choose.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should You Look for in Personal Injury Lawyers?
You should look for knowledge of the law, particularly of their field of practice, in a good personal injury lawyer. They should stay current on legal precedents and legislative changes and be able to explain how the law applies to your case in light of the facts and evidence.
What Percentage Do Most Personal Injury Lawyers Take?
Many personal injury lawyers take between 33% and 45% in contingency fee agreements, although you can always free to negotiate a lower proportion or a different arrangement.
What are the Two Ways of Recovering Damages in a Civil Case?
The two ways of recovering damages in a civil case are by settlement or by verdict in a trial. The types of damages to which you may be entitled will vary according to the type of claim you have, and your lawyer will explain and address that with you when you meet.
Work With An Esteemed Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of another person’s carelessness, recklessness, or malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation under personal injury law. To determine whether you have a valid case, contact an esteemed personal injury lawyer like Thomas M. Hunter, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation.
Call Thomas Hunter Law Firm at (912) 231-1116 Today!
Thomas Hunter Law Firm
7505 Waters Ave, A1 Savannah, GA 31406