As an accident victim, having a personal injury lawyer or firm could mean the difference between getting a handsome settlement or suffering under the crushing weight of medical bills that follow. Surviving an accident is an ordeal in itself due to the pain and trauma it causes; what makes it even worse is when the guilty party or the insurance company doesn’t want to pay up their dues. If the other party’s negligence is what caused your suffering, then you are entitled to compensation.
Having the right personal injury attorney for your specific case is crucial, and contrary to popular belief, finding one isn’t that complicated. Whether you’ve been a victim of a car accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice or something else, this guide will help you choose the right lawyer to get more money.
How to choose the right personal injury lawyer to get more money
- Determine what kind of an expert you’d need
Since “personal injury” could mean many things, you’d want to begin the search by narrowing it down to the kind of personal injury you have. If you had a car accident where you were not entirely responsible, find a lawyer with experience dealing with these cases. The same goes for if you had a slip and fall or are a victim of medical malpractice/ negligence. Having an expert would significantly increase your chances of getting a reasonable settlement.
- Search for licensed attorneys in your area
You could do a quick Google search by typing “Car accident lawyer near me”, but that won’t get you the best results. You may have a lot of choices, but many of those attorneys could be ones that don’t necessarily have the best skills but enough budget to advertise themselves. Instead, take things slow and interview a couple of lawyers to learn more about their backgrounds and experience. You could also ask for references from friends and family.
- Review client testimonials
Nowadays, buying testimonials is easy as several marketing firms offer this service to their clients. If you’re looking to hire an attorney with the best skills for the job, try and reach out to a couple of their past clients. Talking to past clients will give you a good idea about the following:
- How personable the lawyer is
- How comfortable the client felt dealing with the lawyer
- Their experience in the said field
- If the case went to trial or if there was a settlement
- If the client was happy overall with their conduct
At this point, you’d be able to narrow down your choice to 3-5 best attorneys and take a pick among those.
- Prepare and present your questions
Once you’ve scheduled a face-to-face interview with the lawyer, come prepared with every question you might have regarding the process. The attorney would also want to know the nitty-gritty of your case to give you a fair estimation of the time it might take to get a settlement and the amount they can reasonably acquire as compensation. If you aren’t confident with the lawyer’s claims, keep looking at other options.
Contingency fee agreement: what does it mean?
One of the most common reasons people avoid hiring a lawyer is due to their ‘exorbitant fees.’ Plus, they have insurance, and the other party also has insurance. So why go through the hassle when the insurance companies can work it out among themselves? Well, the truth is that the insurance company’s interests are exactly opposite to yours.
While you’re thinking about getting enough money to pay medical bills, the insurance company would be trying their best to pay you as little as possible. They’ve got to make a profit, too, you know? However, the good news is that most personal injury attorneys agree to work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay anything to the lawyer upfront. You only pay when the lawyer has managed to win the case or settle outside of court.
Contingency fee agreements allow the lawyer to collect their compensation from your settlement, usually a percentage of the money you receive. For example, an agreement may entitle the lawyer to get 30% if you settle before a lawsuit needs to be filed or 40% if the case goes to trial and damages get decided by the jury.
“Should I try to manage my own case?”
Trying to handle a case on your own only to involve a lawyer later makes the claims process complicated. So, it’s crucial to understand what you’re dealing with and what you’re capable of. Here are a few instances where you may be able to handle the claims without an attorney:
- You’ve been in an accident with no serious injuries: Let’s say you’ve been in a minor car accident that has resulted in damage to the vehicle and minor injury to you. Usually filing a claim with your insurance vendor or the other party’s vendor will cover it. If you’re satisfied with the insurance company’s coverage, there’s no need to get a lawyer involved.
- You’re already receiving the maximum amount: Insurance companies have policy limits set in place. So if you have a policy that entitles you to a maximum of $100,000 and you’ve been offered that, trying to get more might not be wise. Any additional money would have to be collected directly from the defendant if they have enough assets or wealth to afford your claim.
- You’re comfortable dealing with the settlement process: If you’re confident about your ability to research and manage the settlement process, then, by all means, try. However, know that settling claims takes time, and some even go to trial.
Whenever you suffer from serious injuries, it’s always best to hire an attorney because they can help you get a complete idea of the damages you’ve suffered. Since insurers and defendants take attorneys more seriously, your chances of maximizing the recovery go up higher. With so many reasons to hire a lawyer, you have no excuse to try and file a claim all by yourself!