What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney
An injury, whether sustaining or causing one, can be quite costly. With this in mind, the idea of hiring a personal injury attorney may sound counterintuitive but actually, it is a great step towards getting compensated enough and/or not getting ripped off by insurance companies or complainants.
Self-Representation vs. Professional Representation
According to the Law Office of Darryl E. Young, a personal injury attorney in Merced, litigants in personal injury lawsuits are allowed by law to represent themselves, but it needs to be emphasized that just because it is allowed doesn’t mean it is the best way to go about it. While self-representation does let you avoid attorney fees, which you may not able to recover, it does not guarantee that you will receive the best possible compensation for your claims. Another thing that you have to remember is that you will be responsible for the voluminous amount of paperwork, filing work and an essential crash course in law and the accident insurance system.
You might think that hiring a lawyer is an unnecessary expense, but think about it this way: a professional is someone who has devoted years of study and work to his or her area of specialization. These years devoted to the profession allow clients to receive the best possible outcome from their personal injury claims whereas, according to Lawyers.com, “a self-represented party will often resolve a case for a much lower value than what an attorney could obtain.”
However, self-representation in a personal injury lawsuit is not always a bad idea. It may be the practical option when damages are limited and disputes do not exceed the amount of $10,000.
Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
There are several good reasons why you should hire a personal injury attorney:
Experience with Insurance Companies
Whatever type of accident you may find yourself involved in, there is almost always an insurance company to take care of the claims. These insurance companies work towards the goal of giving the least amount of compensation possible, which, to you as a claimant, can spell bad news. Personal injury attorneys are experienced at negotiating with insurance companies so that their clients receive the most just settlement possible.
Knowledge of the Law
You can try taking a crash course on law, but it probably will not amount to the years of study and experience that a lawyer has put into his profession.
Understanding of Accident-Related Injuries
With studying and experience comes a deep understanding of accident-related injuries, including short- and long-term effects, proper medical care and corresponding costs. This allows your personal injury lawyer to recommend and work towards the fairest settlement possible.
Appearing in court can be a daunting experience, but for lawyers, it’s just another day at the office.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney
When looking for a personal injury attorney, it is important that you find one you are comfortable with and you trust to protect your interests. Davis Law Group explains: “Quality, ethical lawyers will try to give accident victims a sense of the value they can expect long before the attorney has any actual obligation to you.” Here are some important factors to consider when looking for a personal injury attorney:
- Your lawyer should be licensed to practice in the state in which the accident occurred.
- As with most professions, attorneys specialize in different areas of the law. Find a lawyer that specializes in your kind of injury, such as vehicular accident, medical malpractice, slip and fall cases, assault and battery or animal-related injuries.
- Make sure your lawyer has a good reputation and a clean disciplinary record. In some states, you can check if an attorney has a disciplinary record by looking up his or her bar number on the state bar’s website.
- You will, of course, have more confidence hiring a lawyer with a good track record of won cases. Lawyers play an important part in winning or losing a case, and sometimes losing cases can be attributed to attorney’s duties such as filing the necessary paperwork, getting witnesses and following up with judges.
- Right at the onset, it is important to establish the fees necessary to pursue your case. Apart from attorney’s fees, there are other expenses such as trial preparation costs and medical experts’ fees (if necessary). You should be comfortable with the payment scheme that your attorney sets up for you.
- Lawsuits are delicate life situations that must be handled to the highest level of trust and confidence. You should be able to feel 100% at ease with your attorney, as he or she will be representing you. A lawyer’s years of expertise and flawless track record do not mean a thing if you do not feel comfortable with him or her representing you in court.