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What To Consider Before You Decide To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer

by Gloria Louden
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There are several benefits you can have when you hire a personal injury attorney. In most cases, people who have legal representation get larger settlement offers. This is because insurance companies are aware that a lawyer can take the case to court if necessary, meaning it can cost the insurance company even more money to settle the case. Therefore, having a personal injury attorney from Salvi. Schostok & Pritchard P.C. working on your behalf can even the playing field.

After all, insurance companies have unlimited resources that are needed to fight your accident claim, so you must have a legal representation on your side with adequate resources and experience to fight for you. This article explains what to consider before you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer.

The available options after a personal injury

Personal injury lawyers handle cases that involve the negligent or reckless acts of other people. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find a personal injury attorney rather than an attorney who specializes in another law field and only handles personal injury cases on the side.

You can find personal injury attorneys out there who usually focus on a variety of areas of personal injuries. So these attorneys have the knowledge and experience to get a successful outcome. When you sustain personal injuries, perhaps you need to do the following:

Start with a consultation

Before you decide to hire any personal injury lawyer, it’s always a good idea to do an initial consultation with the prospective attorney. This initial consultation is usually a free service for many lawyers. Even if it’s not a free service, keep in mind that it’s important to interview an attorney so that you can know whether or not the lawyer can deliver what you expect from them. This initial consultation can also help you to figure out if you have a good case.

But you need to avoid some personal injury lawyers who solicit clients after they realize that they were involved in accidents. The good news is that this practice is banned in many places, so reputable personal injury attorneys cannot use such tactics.

Consider settlement

The good news is that most personal injury cases can usually settle even before going to trial. There are some cases that can make it to trial, but they can be stopped by a mutual agreement during the negotiations.

Besides, most cases can be settled before you file an official lawsuit. In many situations, there are some defendants who decide to avoid bad publicity, so they choose to settle the case earlier. An early settlement sometimes tends to reduce some expenses that you may have to pay if there was litigation.

With the lawyer’s fees, it’s always important to remember that some attorneys offer contingency fee arrangement. These attorneys offer this arrangement they are aware that you may have limited money for litigation. Therefore, some personal injury lawyers can choose to handle your case and get a specific percentage of the settlement.

However, you may still be required to pay for the other costs that are incurred. This is because this contingency fee is only applicable to the lawyer’s work. So it means that you may have to pay the other costs, such as delegation of tasks to researchers, filing costs, and many more.

There are some personal injury lawyers out there who can pay for these expenses upfront, so you need to reimburse them after settling the case. On the other hand, some lawyers can ask you to pay for these expenses from your pocket when an expense is incurred.

You also need to understand that cases involving personal injury cases can sometimes settle quickly, especially if damages and liability are straightforward and minimal. But there are also cases that are complex and need more time to complete them. This is the reason why it’s important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney to provide you with the right estimate of the duration of the case.

What you need to find out from a personal injury attorney

No doubt, personal injuries can affect your physical and mental health. With the medical expenses that need to be paid, it’s only fair that the at-fault party should take responsibility for the injuries you sustained. However, before you hire a personal injury attorney, you need to find out the following things:

The attorney’s level of experience handling the similar type of cases

Personal injury law is a large practice field, and there are different types of cases under it. These include medical practice, animal bites, medical malpractice, slip and fall, defamation, and product liability.

Most of these categories can also be further subdivided. For example, medical malpractice can include traumatic brain injuries, birth injuries, misdiagnosis, and surgical errors. Many personal injury lawyers may have handled most of these types of cases, though none may have handled all of them. Remember that some of these fields are quite unique and need some level of experience and knowledge.

Therefore, you need to look for a lawyer with the experience and knowledge handling the type of case you have. Knowledge and experience means familiarity with legal issues and connections with the right investigators and other experts who can assist with your case.

The chances of winning the case

It’s also important to find out from the chances of winning the case, but there is no precise answer. The truth is that the lawyer may be ethically needed not to provide an exact response to avoid exaggerating the potential of the case and creating unrealistic expectations.

It’s worth noting that personal injury lawsuits can be unpredictable, and you can expect anything to happen even when it’s in the middle of a trial. But your lawyer can give at least a rough prediction concerning your chances of winning and the kind of compensation you need to expect should the case settle, or even should you win it when it goes to trial.

The best way you can make sure that the lawyer is not over-promising is to check the answers from several lawyers and see if they are all saying the same things. They should be, though if you meet a lawyer promising the worth of your case to be much more, be wary unless they can adequately tell you why they believe your case is worth more money.

Also, remember that unless the lawyer says otherwise, they may not take your case unless they believe that they can recover some money on your behalf. This is because accepting your case while expecting a loss doesn’t make any business sense.

Ask the attorney the person who will be handling your case

Many personal injury lawyers usually don’t handle each single part of a case. Sometimes, they have a legal secretary or even a paralegal who helps in the preparation of the legal documents and letters. So if you intend to hire a senior lawyer, they can have a junior associate who may do lots of the legal work.

Instead, the attorney can be dealing with the more complicated elements of the legal concerns and oversee the progress of the junior associate. Having an attorney delegating most of the legal work to others cannot be something you want. However, this is quite common as it assists to keep legal fees down.

The legal fees

As explained earlier, most of the personal injury attorneys usually work using a contingency fee arrangement. This simply means you don’t need to pay the attorney unless they get some recovery from the claim. You can find some lawyers who can charge at least 33% of the total recovered amount, but this can depend on various factors.

Aside from this contingency fee percentage, there are other financial issues that concern the handling of costs. The method used can mean having a couple of extra money in the pocket when the case is over.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit doesn’t need you to hire a lawyer. But even if you decide to represent yourself, there are some legal costs that you will still incur. These costs include expert witness fees, court filing fees, information-gathering expenses, and administrative fees.

There are some things that you need to be aware of especially when it comes how and when these costs get paid. Firstly, if you happen to win the case, it means you need to pay these costs. The only issue that arises is when is the right time to pay them. Well, if the legal expenses are to be paid off the top, this can mean that more money for you than paying after the attorney gets paid. On the other hand, if you pay the legal costs after the attorney gets paid, it means less money for you.

Another consideration is who becomes responsible for paying the legal costs after losing your case. This usually depends on the specific fee arrangement that you have with your lawyer. Depending on the strength of the case and financial situation, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney who can absorb some of these costs when you lose your case. However, if you can pay these expenses regardless of the outcome of your case, then you may want to negotiate for a smaller contingency fee with your lawyer.

The level of courtroom experience

Despite the popular belief that all cases go to trial, you need to know that many civil cases don’t even go to trial. Hence, you can find just a few experienced lawyers with a few cases that made it to trial. However, you still don’t want to hire an attorney with very little trial experience.

This can be a huge disadvantage for several reasons. Firstly, if your case happens to go to trial, it means your lawyer may not give you a better chance of winning. Keep in mind that winning a case in the court of law requires lots of skills and experience.

Another reason can be that your lawyer is afraid of appearing in court. If this is the case, then there is a good chance that the at-fault party may get a sense of it and decide to offer a lower settlement. This is because they will know that your lawyer can encourage you to take it with the hope of avoiding trial. Regardless of whether or not your case is going to settle, it’s important to hire an attorney who is willing to take a case to trial and is experienced with the court proceedings.

Remember that most personal injury cases can settle without any need of filing a personal injury lawsuit. In such situations, all the parties involved can decide to negotiate a settlement or they can enter the mediation that can reach a settlement agreement.

But some cases tend to go to trial when the parties involved fail to resolve the disputes between themselves. Hence, it makes sense to choose a lawyer who is a skilled negotiator and aggressive trial attorney.

Whether your case goes to trial or settles, you want to have an attorney on your side who is always prepared. If the lawyer has little trial experience, it’s crucial to meet with multiple other attorneys.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies usually track the cases that attorneys or law firms settle. Therefore, if there is a lawyer who has the reputation of always willing to take cases to trial to protect the interests of their clients, then the insurance companies can be ready to negotiate even a high settlement just to avoid court.

Lawyers who have little courtroom experience can sometimes not be successful when it comes to negotiating with insurance companies. However, there are also some attorneys with little courtroom experience but are good when it comes to negotiations with insurance companies, though they are rare. So you need to be careful before you decide to hire a personal injury attorney.