If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by someone else, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Personal injury claims, even those just between you and your insurance company, are more complicated than most people realize. The fastest route to maximum compensation is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Hiring an attorney can seem overwhelming. Since most people don’t think about attorneys until they need one, accident victims often rush to hire the first lawyer they meet. But finding the right fit takes time. Here are some tips to help.
Personal Injury Lawyer 101—Selecting the Right Attorney
Understand Attorney Specialization and Skills
Personal injury lawyers represent many kinds of victims. Find an attorney who focuses on your type of accident or injury. Law firm websites usually list attorneys’ practice areas. When you meet the lawyer, ask what kind of cases they concentrate on and how many clients they have represented in that practice area.
Litigation experience is essential. Ask the lawyer what percentage of cases they take to trial and how many of those result in a favorable client outcome. A successful personal injury attorney must be willing and able to take a case to trial when needed.
Personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations. Meet with multiple lawyers to find the best fit. The attorney will assess the value of your claim and the likelihood that you will obtain compensation. Different attorneys may have different opinions about the probable outcome of your case and how to get the best result.
Before you choose a personal injury lawyer, understand how they will be paid. Clarify what you pay for and when and how you pay. Learn the difference between costs and fees and how the lawyer handles both. Discuss any caps or limitations on funding and how decisions are made about litigation costs.
Topics to Discuss Once You Find an Attorney
One of the biggest complaints about personal injury lawyers is their lack of communication with clients. Avoid this complaint and set your attorney-client relationship up for success by addressing the following before you agree to work together:
- Communication: Discuss how you and your attorney will communicate and how often, and what you should do if your attorney doesn’t follow the communication plan.
- Your Representation Team: Understand when you will be dealing with other members of your lawyer’s team, such as paralegals, and when you will work directly with your attorney. Clarify who your lead attorney is and when you will work with that person versus other lawyers.
- Sharing Your Story: When you provide information, let your lawyer determine what is or isn’t pertinent. Be honest and thorough. Holding something back could hinder your case. Experienced personal injury attorneys can deal with less than perfect cases if they have all the information.
- Identifying Your Case Outcome: Clients get to decide what they want from the representation. Before hiring an attorney, tell him your desired result and the minimum outcome you would accept. Your attorney will choose strategies most likely to accomplish your goals. Settlement often makes more sense than a trial.
Effective communication is essential for a successful personal injury case. If you have any concerns or questions about your attorney or your case, speak up.
What to Do When Working with Your Personal Injury Lawyer Isn’t Working
Unfortunately, it happens—clients have misgivings after they start working with an attorney. Warning signs it may be time to rethink your choice:
- Lost confidence in your lawyer
- Lack of communication
- Unanswered questions or confusion about your case
- Unprofessional behavior by your lawyer
You have the right to change lawyers at any time. If you aren’t happy with your lawyer’s work, you may want to get a second legal opinion. Changing lawyers could slow down your case, and you may owe money to the first lawyer for completed work, so try to resolve your concerns before changing lawyers. However, with only one chance to seek compensation for your injuries, it’s imperative that you have an excellent working relationship with your personal injury lawyer.
Why choose Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel?
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel have represented personal injury clients since 1978, with a proven track record of obtaining the compensation clients deserve. Contact Reiner, Slaughter & Frankel today for your free no-obligation consultation.