Tips for Choosing an Injury Law Firm
When you think of lawyers, what image comes to mind?
If you’re like most people, it’s a courtroom scene in which one person’s liberty hangs in the balance after having been accused of murder. This is the scenario portrayed by countless movies, novels, and television dramas.
In reality, civil cases are much more common than criminal ones. Civil cases may take many forms, and may not always go to trial, but they are always handled by an injury law firm.
Read on to learn how to select such a firm in the event that you have been injured or otherwise wronged by a negligent party.
What Is Personal Injury?
When a person or entity has caused you harm, whether intentionally or through negligence, you are entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against them. These types of cases differ from criminal lawsuits, in which the government (the “state”) is the plaintiff.
Some types of personal injury suits include slip and fall, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death, and medical malpractice. Car accidents are the most common reason that personal injury suits are filed.
When Can You File a Personal Injury Claim?
Not every accident, of course, merits legal assistance. For example, if another driver rear-ends you in a parking lot, resulting in only minor or cosmetic damages to your vehicle, it won’t be worth your time or money to sue them. Her insurance will take care of your repairs.
On the other hand, if your car is totaled and your arm broken during a collision with a truck whose driver was texting behind the wheel, then you may decide to pursue litigation.
Choosing an Injury Law Firm
You’ve no doubt heard the radio jingles or seen the roadside billboards advertising various injury law firms. Do you choose the one with the catchiest tune or the biggest sign?
Since you’ll likely be working closely with your attorney for months or even years to come, you should probably put a bit more time and effort into choosing a firm. Although it’s a personal decision that, like dating, depends a lot on how well you and your attorney mesh, there are some guidelines to assist you when comparing injury law firms to handle your case.
How Is Compensation Handled?
Any injury law firm worth its salt with work on contingency. This means that they won’t receive any payment from you up front; in fact, they may not take payment at all unless you win your case.
The advantages of this setup are two-fold. First, you won’t have to pay any fees out of pocket, which is a boon when you’re out of work and strapped for cash. Secondly, it assures you that your attorney is confident about the chances of winning damages for you and that they’ll work hard to get the highest amount possible.
A Strong Resume
Just as you don’t want your surgery performed by a doctor who’s fresh out of med school, you also shouldn’t hand over your personal injury case to an attorney who doesn’t have real-world experience.
Make sure your lawyer has plenty of experience in the specific field of personal injury law that concerns your case. While you’re at it, ask who you will be dealing with. Some big-name firms distribute clients to lower-level attorneys who are just starting out, or have paralegals handle much of the case.
There’s nothing wrong with giving new attorneys valuable experience, but it’s important to know what kind of oversight they’ll be given — so that you have the ease of mind that your case will be handled with expertise.
Experience Dealing with Insurance Companies
Forget that stereotype of a tough-as-nails attorney arguing passionately before a jury. What you need in a personal injury firm is a lawyer who can negotiate with insurance companies, because very few personal injury claims ever see the inside of a courtroom.
Insurance companies will generally go to great lengths to reach a settlement. Going to trial is expensive, and if a company or business is involved, leads to negative publicity. So you likely won’t go to court in your personal injury case.
Once the insurance company makes an initial offer, you’ll sit down with your attorney to discuss whether or not to accept it. The offer may be satisfactory, and you may be willing to accept it simply to close this painful chapter of your life and move on.
The Tenacity to Go to Trial
Your attorney may advise you to hold out for a larger settlement, however. After several rounds of offers and counteroffers, she might eventually suggest that a trial is in order. While this is always your decision, ultimately, it’s a smart idea to choose an attorney who has courtroom experience — in the event that you need it.
Recommendations and Personal Chemistry
We mentioned earlier that choosing a personal injury firm can be a bit like searching for a relationship. Someone can tick all the boxes and look great on paper, but if your intuition tells you not to trust them, listen to it.
Ask any potential law firm for client testimonials. Don’t be afraid to shop around until you find the attorney who has not only all the necessary qualifications, but also the personal chemistry that makes them a good fit for you.
Personal injury firms will offer potential clients a complimentary consultation before you sign any contracts. Use this opportunity to ask questions, get a good sense of how your case will proceed, and evaluate whether or not the firm feels right.
Bear Your Best Interests In Mind
After a car crash, slip and fall accident, or dog bite, you are already feeling stressed. You may be out of work and worried about how you will pay your bills, and of course, you’re in physical pain.
It can be tempting to choose the first personal injury law firm that you come across, but take the time and make the effort to do some research. A cautious approach can mean the difference between a decent settlement, and one that truly helps you get back on your feet financially.
The Law Office of Scott D. DeSalvo is here to help. Our qualified attorneys understand the importance of your case, and will give their best effort toward helping you reclaim your life. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.
"Hiring Scott was one of the best moves I have made in my life. Scott is a down to earth person and attorney. Scott is a 5 star first class act who really knows his stuff. The Judge said his presentation was one of if not the best he had ever seen. Take my advice, hire Scott. I’m sure you’ll be 200% satisfied. I was."
Cab Driver, Fall Down See More >