There are few things more intimidating than dealing with a personal injury lawsuit on your own. Legal matters are often confusing and contentious, which is troublesome to endure. Countless people sustain injuries each year as a result of someone else’s negligence, but not all of them take legal action simply because they don’t know what all it entails. They might think they don’t have a case or, even worse, attempt to file a lawsuit on their own.
However, there’s a way you can position yourself more successfully and reduce the burden of handling everything yourself—hire a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Here are some tips that might help.
You Can Afford Legal Help—Here’s How
It’s important to have strong legal representation in order to protect your rights and help guide you through this difficult time. And while it’s only natural to think you can’t afford an attorney, it might surprise you to learn that many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means they don’t require a large sum of money upfront—the firm is willing to represent you and initially pay for expenses. Then, once your case is successful and you receive compensation, the firm takes a portion of the settlement as its fee. Simply put: if you don’t win, you don’t pay. However, there might be some advance costs for certain administrative duties, so make sure to ask about these to get clarification.
Additionally, many firms offer free consultations to learn the details of your case and determine whether they have the expertise to handle it. Use this meeting to your advantage by asking thorough questions so you feel comfortable about your decision to work with them.
What to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Not only should you feel you have the right representation, but also that your lawyer alleviates the burden of dealing with legal matters while you’re also trying to recover from your injuries and return to a normal life. Here are some essential questions that need detailed answers.
What experience do you have?
Each legal professional has specific areas of expertise. For example, if you have a car accident case, you wouldn't go to a general attorney who handles business matters. Ask each firm for results in personal injury cases and in what ways its team assists you.
How often will I hear from you?
You’ll feel much more at ease if you receive regular communication from your lawyer and their team. Even if there’s nothing major to report, your representation should update you consistently so everyone knows what’s going on, and you have every opportunity to ask questions. Also, get an idea of your attorney's current caseload—if they're too busy, this may affect how they stay in touch and handle key details.
How do you collect evidence?
Fact gathering should be more than just writing down what you say. A qualified attorney secures police reports, reviews and documents the accident scene, tracks down eyewitnesses, and goes to great lengths to preserve other critical evidence.
Who orders my medical records and expense statements?
You shouldn’t have to contact your health care provider to request records and bills. You need to focus on recovery. It’s your attorney’s job to do this as part of claim valuation.
Do you deal with the insurance company or do I?
Most insurance carriers are armed with large legal teams whose only objective is to make it out of a lawsuit with their bottom line intact. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you’ll have trusted representation to combat any opposition and put your best interests forward. Your legal counsel should handle all communication and negotiations with an insurance company.
What happens if my case goes to trial?
While this doesn’t happen often in personal injury cases, make sure to choose legal representation with experience in trial cases. They’ll not only help prepare you for the overall trial process, including how to give depositions and courtroom testimony but also have the expertise to defend your case in court.