What should you look for in a personal injury lawyer
What should you look for in a personal injury lawyer?
When you’re hiring someone to litigate your case, what should your criteria be?
Being injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence can forever change your life – and your finances. If your injuries cause chronic, permanent pain, or if they require you to miss significant time at work or change careers because you are no longer able to perform the tasks you were once able to, or if they require multiple therapies and rehabilitation, you can find yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt.
Ideally, your insurance would cover the cost. However, insurance companies are reluctant to pay you the full settlement amount you deserve because that means they lose money, and they have their best interest at heart. Often these insurance companies are hard to negotiate with and have experienced attorneys working for them …when you are recovering from an injury, it’s difficult and frustrating to be your own advocate. Research actually shows that plaintiffs who hire personal injury lawyers are considerably more likely to get verdicts and higher settlement amounts than plaintiffs who try to make claims on their own.
But there are numerous legal firms out there, and especially if you live in Florida, you’ll see more ads for lawyers than you can keep track of. So how do you know who to choose? How you determine what attorney you should trust? After all, the amount you recover could affect how quickly and completely you are able to heal, not to mention your quality of life.
Selecting a personal injury lawyer can be a scary task! Here’s some things that you should verify and some questions you should ask during your search to make sure you are making the right decision.
First, you need to ensure that your lawyer is actually a personal injury attorney and not another kind of lawyer, regardless of what they advertise. A personal injury attorney will have trial and negotiation experience, understand medical terminology and diagnoses, and know negligence law. Real estate lawyers and criminal lawyers, for example, would lack the niche experience and knowledge that you need.
After that, there are multiple things you should look for within this specification.
You need a lawyer who is local – preferably to your city or community but definitely in the region of your state where the accident occurred. They will know the local courts, know the state and city laws, and be licensed to practice law in the area.
You need a lawyer with a positive reputation. If all you’re seeing is bad or unenthusiastic reviews on the Google or Facebook page of an attorney you are considering, that’s a red flag. Ask your friends and coworkers if they’ve heard of lawyers you’re considering and see what their reputation is really like.
Along those same lines, it is helpful to dig past the surface and look at whether or not they have had any legal trouble, themselves. You can publicly view any attorney’s disciplinary record and see if they have ever had complaints filed against them and whether they have ever been disbarred/suspended. (In Florida, go to the state bar website, type in the attorney’s bar number and see any and all past negative marks).
You may want to look for a personal injury lawyer or firm that further specializes in your type of case. For example, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you may want to look for a personal injury firm that primarily handles motorcycle accidents cases. If your loved one was injured due to nursing home neglience, you may not get the same quality of litigation with a car accident attorney who is not as familiar with laws regarding neglect or abuse
You need to hire a personal injury attorney with years of experience litigating cases like yours, and they need to have extensive trial experience, as well. It seems obvious, but find evidence that they have a winning record; attorneys that lose consistently lose for a reason.
While word of mouth referrals are helpful, you should never select a lawyer purely based on that. Do your research online as well! Comb through candidates’ websites and do a Google search on them to see what materials come up. Call lawyers and ask them questions like how many cases like yours they’ve taken on before and what the outcomes were, how many attorneys will be working on your case, how long they expect your case to take, what the communication between you two will be like, and what their fee structure is. Don’t be afraid to ask blunt questions. Your case is worth it, and the right lawyer won’t be afraid to answer them.
The Florida Law Group is nationally recognized for our ability to win maximum settlements for our clients. We are ranked in the top 1% of state firms, and have earned a spot in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum® for our work. If you have been injured due to someone else’s carelessness and are looking for a personal injury attorney who meets all of these criteria, contact us today!