What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney After an Auto Accident

When deciding which personal injury attorney to work with after an accident, do not take the decision lightly. Not only could the decision mean thousands of dollars more or less in your bank account upon settlement, it could also mean the difference between sleepless nights wondering “did I screw up this decision” to sleeping like a baby knowing you are in good hands.

Here is what to look for when making your decision of who to work with as a personal injury attorney.

1. Do not look for the biggest billboard you can find and make your decision based off of that criteria. This attorney may not be the one best suited for you, and also may be too busy to handle your case “hands on” enough. You may be pushed off completely on to a junior associate who does not have the experience or free mindedness to do what is right for you. He or she may have scripted mandates from the firm telling what to do, and that script may not be in your best interest.

2. Ask for referrals from friends or family who have had claims. What better way to find out about actual experiences and outcomes?

3. What is the track record of your attorney at recovering damages? You want a proven track record and an attorney who is not afraid of standing up for you enough to take your case to court if necessary. Ask questions about results and court cases.

4. Professional organizations. Which ones does the prospective attorney belong to?

5. Does the attorney charge a fee upfront for the case? Some do, some don’t. Having the attorney work on contingency will effectively give him or her “skin in the game” and make the outcome that much more important.

6. How much experience does the attorney have in personal injury and what percentage of his or her practice does it compromise? If it’s a hobby in the scope of the practice, keep looking.

7. Attorney’s philosophy. If the philosophy appears to be sign up as many as absolutely possible and then push off on the junior associate, keep looking. If the philosophy is to work closely with you and then the law firm takes a “hit” at the end of the case to get you a better settlement, then finish the meeting!

8. Avoid firms employing contract runners. You should sit face to face with the lawyer you are hiring to discuss your case and sign the contract for representation. This could be the most important meeting you will have with your attorney. Some higher volume firms utilize contract runners, and may refer to them as “investigators”. You should not agree to a contract runner and insist on meeting with your lawyer prior to hiring. Contract runners are usually not lawyers, and therefore not allowed to answer any legal questions you may have about the contract or the representation.

9. Ask the attorney if he or she will reduce their fees.

A personal injury attorney may make more money at the end of the case than the client. Doesn’t sound fair does it? This happens when the attorney takes his full one third fee, and then medical bills take up the rest of the settlement. The client may not even break even and have money still owed on medical bills! You should ask if they will cut their fee at the end of the case so that this will not happen. If the lawyer is unwilling to do this, consider hiring a law firm that will.

10. Ask if your attorney will handle your property damage claim for free.

If your case includes a property damage claim (vehicle) ask your attorney if they will handle this for free, assist with getting a rental vehicle, and take care of dealing with the insurance company that is paying for the issues with your vehicle.

Deciding On A Personal Injury Attorney

Accidents Happen

In a perfect world adults would act like grown-ups, admit fault and accept responsibility for their actions. But this world is far from ideal and not everyone acts like adults. Not everyone wants to pay the consequences for what they do. Even insurance companies are looking to take advantage of you by settling for the least amount of money that is possible. If you have been hurt you should contact a personal injury lawyer.

Personal Injury Attorneys Explain Your Rights

Personal Injury Attorneys know what rights you have under the law and can simply explain them to you. But in the case of personal injury, time is not always on your side. Even the best case imaginable has a time limit attached to it and even easy cases need documentation from the start.

Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney

You need to select the best attorney. The one that knows the law the best and one that has experience dealing with your type of case. You need to put more effort into seeking out an attorney than just dialing a 1-800 number from a TV ad, or picking the lawyer with the biggest ad in the phone book. Those things say more about that attorney’s marketing ability than their actual skill, knowledge and expertise.

The Best Way to Find an Attorney is by Word of Mouth

Talk with people you know who have worked with attorneys before and talk to those lawyers. Speak with any attorneys that you have worked with in the past. Even if they do not deal with personal injury they likely can lead you to an attorney that they know who does work in personal injury and that they feel does their work well. In speaking to all these different attorneys you may see that a certain name is mentioned by a few attorneys. That name is probably worth pursuing.

You can also check the records of lawyers you speak to through associations like the Better Business Bureau. You can also find websites with client reviews of attorneys and see whether on not a certain lawyer is on good terms with their clients and if clients like their work.

Picking a Personal Injury Attorney

When you trim down your list to the names, and firms of the lawyers that you want to be represented by you now have to set up an appointment. Many attorneys will give you your first appointment without charging you, but others may charge a consulting fee. Paying that fee is your choice, but you should meet with more than one attorney to get a feel for how strong your case is. Also try to find out each attorney’s background in handling cases like yours and an idea of how much time handling the case would take. Remember to ask about cost and how payment would be handled.

Many times the outcome of a case can be decided by the effort you exert trying to find the most qualified attorney to represent you.

Do a lot of research and ask tough, but important questions and you will find a great personal injury attorney.

How to Go About Selecting an Attorney For Your Case

How to Select a Personal Injury Attorney

While there are many factors that affect whether a client wins or loses a personal injury case, or affect the level of the settlement, selecting the right personal injury attorney makes the most difference in winning the case. So, how should one go about selecting a personal injury attorney who will get the best results, and the best settlement, for the case?

Most personal injury attorneys have free consultation. You, the client, should use the consultation not only to have the attorney assess your case, but also to interview the attorney to make sure your case will get the attention it deserves. The first indication as to whether you and your case will get the attorney’s full and undivided attention is how you are treated during the free consultation. Obviously, you should expect to discuss the case with an attorney, not with a paralegal, or other members of the attorney’s staff. After all, you are not hiring a paralegal; you are hiring an attorney to understand your case, research the facts of the case, research the law and win your case for you. You want to be able to talk to the attorney first hand, not through intermediaries.

Once you meet with the attorney, outline your case and answer whatever questions the attorney may have. You should then ask the following basic questions. The answers that you get should determine the level of comfort you have regarding the level of attention that the attorney will give you and your case:

1. Who will be handling and researching your case. Is that person an attorney or a member of the staff?

2. If your case goes to trial, will the attorney be fully involved in the litigation or would he outsource the litigation without any involvement?

3. Will the attorney be your contact at the attorney’s office? If so, will he be available during office hours as well as after hours? Would he give you access to his direct telephone, including his cellular phone?

It is a fact that at the offices of some personal injury attorneys, clients come in contact with paralegals and other office staff but never with an attorney. If the attorney responds that his “competent” staff will give their full attention to your case, get a clue. If the attorney is reluctant to give you his cellular number to contact him anytime you have a concern, get another clue.

Many of my clients have confided in me that the reason why they have not selected other attorneys before knocking on my door was the fact that they could not talk to an attorney. They were able to talk to a paralegal or other staff, but not the attorney.

If you are not able to talk to a personal injury attorney during the consultation, or if you do not feel comfortable that your case will be getting the full, undivided attention of the personal injury attorney, find another attorney. There are many good attorneys out there who are anxious to give you and your case their full, undivided attention.

Ramzy Ladah
Las Vegas Personal Injury, LLC
http://www.ladahlaw.com