Sometimes, a lawsuit is the only way to resolve an injury’s financial strain, especially when insurers or at-fault parties are not willing to take responsibility.
You will need to select a personal injury attorney for the best possible outcome, but you cannot make the selection blindly. As with anything else in life, there is a caliber or quality to legal practices. If ensuring restitution for your injury is vital, then take your time to make the best selection possible.
Characteristics of an Excellent Personal Injury Attorney
Before choosing an attorney, you must do your homework and find those legal minds representing the best in their profession and area of expertise. There are at least seven characteristics of an excellent lawyer for personal injury claims: focus, confidence, results, respect, responsibility, reputation, expertise.
Many lawyers will claim personal injury experience, but they do not practice it exclusively. While an attorney may have the technical requirements to practice any law, that does not mean they are successful in every area. When looking for your lawyer, find one that focuses on personal injury law exclusively. It is often best to choose within the specific injury class as well. For example, if you are suing over injuries sustained in a car accident, find a car accident attorney.
Be careful of bold claims from dime-store lawyers. Large billboards litter many highways with legal guarantees of settlements or quick lawsuit ends. What many of these lawyers do not advertise is their aversion to the courtroom. If you want any chance at fair compensation, you need to work with lawyers willing to go to trial. If an insurer senses that an attorney is afraid of the courtroom, they will make lowball offers that your lawyer will possibly pressure you to accept. Confidence is a significant portion of negotiations, and insurers sense when a lawyer is ready to fight.
It is not enough to find an attorney who will take things to trial if necessary. It would be best if you also located someone with a proven track record. Do not be afraid to ask about a lawyer’s success rate and average verdict. If you are fighting for a judgment on a significant and life-altering injury, you want a lawyer who has the past results to prove their value.
An attorney should also garner respect within the legal community. An excellent way to acknowledge their standing is active participation in state and national organizations. Ask any potential lawyer about the groups they belong to and how they ensure continued involvement and recognition in the institutions.
Beyond professional recognition, a lawyer is responsible for the preparation and delivery of their client’s arguments. While many people assume that argumentation is only a mental exercise, it also maintains a monetary value and responsibility. Making a case requires research and expert witnesses or testimony, none of which is free. When deciding on an attorney, make sure they have the financial means and responsibility to handle your claim.
A lawyer can have a standing in the legal community, but their clients may not feel the same. While it is critical to refer to any potential counselor’s legal credentials, you will also want to examine any references and reviews from past clients. Most lawyers are often more than willing to provide contact information for references, and you can check their online profiles for other client reviews. If an attorney is unwilling to share client reviews, be cautious of their level of professionalism.
Finally, while an attorney, through the sheer obtainment of their license, has proven knowledgable of the law, you need to find a legal representative with a working knowledge. A lawyer demonstrates expertise through not only courtroom success but also lectures and publications. Find a lawyer who actively exhibits their expertise and receives acclaim for doing so.
Your Needs and Attorney Empathy
While a personal injury lawyer may check all the boxes for character and charisma, remember that you will be working with them for weeks or possibly months. Professionalism and knowledge are essential, but empathy and understanding are crucial.
As a client, you have needs and concerns. Some people want to be hands-on with their cases, while others want to step back and let the lawyer handle everything. Know what kind of client you are and find an attorney who is willing to work and talk on your level and at your pace.
Initial Meetings and Assessments
Almost every personal injury law firm offers a free initial consultation. The meeting provides the opportunity to experience personality traits and identify the purpose of your claim. During the initial meeting, the lawyer will want to go over your claim’s details to determine the potential value and likely outcome of the lawsuit.
Personal injury claims are different from other lawsuits because the lawyer often works on contingency, which means do not get paid unless a case receives a settlement or favorable judgment. The added risks of such cases mean that attorneys and law firms are more selective about the cases they take, which makes preparing for such initial interactions crucial to your future selection success.
Law Firms and Familiarity
Please do not assume that, because your consultation is with a specific attorney, they will handle your case. Always ask. Many law firms will pass low-risk negotiations off to associates, meaning that the head lawyer mainly reviews the work and strategy.
If you do not want an attorney-in-training working your claim, get familiar with the law firm you are interviewing. Tell them you want an experienced lawyer handling the negotiations and potential trial. In some instances, you might be better off choosing a private lawyer instead of a firm.
Hiring a lawyer for your personal injury claim is nerve-racking. However, the selection is critical to a favorable outcome. Take your time, review the characteristics of prospective attorneys, and do not forget to clarify your needs during consultations. Any law firm or attorney interested in arguing on your behalf should sympathize with your needs and instill confidence in their abilities.
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