Dealing with the aftermath of a serious injury is often difficult, painful, and costly. It’s possible as well that your injury came about as the result of someone else’s actions. Insurance may be available to cover some costs and help you cope with the difficulties ahead, but if you are unsure whether you’re getting the best possible settlement from an insurance company, hiring a personal injury lawyer may be a positive step to help you with the legal and administrative details.
When to Consider Hiring a Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident or another type of accident for which you were not at fault, one of your options is to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you understand the personal injury laws of your state and, if it seems prudent, to negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf. Most people do not have a thorough and detailed understanding of personal injury law, and while it is possible to look up such laws for yourself, it may still be difficult to completely understand your rights and what you may be entitled to. Even if you gain sufficient knowledge of the law, it may still be difficult to negotiate effectively with an insurance company if you have no prior experience in doing so. If you want to ensure you have someone with a good understanding of the law and experience in settling insurance claims on your side, you may want to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent you.
How to Find a Lawyer
References are a good place to start if you choose to hire a personal injury lawyer. Ask family, friends, colleagues, and other trusted people in your network if they have ever worked with a personal injury attorney and what their experiences were. You can also ask any lawyers you have worked with on other personal or business issues if they have any professional recommendations. Most lawyers specialize in only one or two types of law, so you need to make sure you engage an attorney who has experience in handling personal injury cases.
Depending on where you live, you may have heard of one or several law firms through advertising on TV, radio, or in print. Remember that just because the names of these firms may be familiar to you doesn’t necessarily mean they will be the best firm to represent your specific case. Do some research on any attorney or legal firm you consider hiring. Again, ask people you know if they have any experience with any firm or individual attorney you are considering and check with the Better Business Bureau or other trusted consumer agencies to make sure the firm doesn’t have any complaints filed against it.
Things to Ask Your Lawyer
Many personal injury attorneys will offer a free initial consultation, but it’s best to inquire if there is a fee for such a consultation before meeting with the attorney. You are not obligated to hire any attorney based on your initial meeting, so if you are not comfortable with the first attorney you meet with, try consulting with a different one.
During your initial meeting, make sure that the individual you are meeting with is the attorney who will actually handle your case, not a paralegal or “investigator” with the firm. Ask about the attorney’s experience with your type of case, including whether or not the attorney has taken cases to court when necessary, and how often the attorney settles out of court. You can also ask the attorney for references from past clients.
Finally, ask about the fees and expenses the attorney will charge to take on your case. Many personal injury cases are accepted on a contingent basis, which means that the attorney will receive a percentage of your insurance settlement as their fee. Make sure you understand all fees and expenses, especially whether any expenses may be billed separately from the insurance settlement.