When you suffer injuries in an accident caused by the negligent conduct of another party, you want to know that the attorney chosen to fight for you has the knowledge, skills and experience needed to get you the compensation you deserve. According to the American Bar Association, more than 1.3 million lawyers actively practice law in the U.S. Many of them advertise on radio and television asking you to call for help with your personal injury case, but how do you know which one is best suited to handle it?
Knowing the qualities to look for is the key to finding the right personal injury lawyer. Here are a few suggestions for what to look for in a personal injury attorney.
Do they have experience with personal injury law?
The first consideration when narrowing your list of lawyers and law firms is to focus on choosing one whose practice concentrates on personal injury law. Just because someone has a reputation as a great criminal defense attorney does not mean they have the skills and legal knowledge needed to be successful against insurance company adjusters and defense lawyers.
When evaluating an attorney, you want an attorney who fulfills the following criteria:
· The primary focus of their practice is handling personal injury claims on behalf of injured parties.
· The attorney has years of experience negotiating settlements in personal injury cases.
· An attorney should have extensive experience conducting trials of personal injury cases.
Even though most personal injury claims result in a settlement before ever going to trial, insurance companies may be more inclined to settle a case when they are up against an attorney who has the skills and experience to take the case to trial as a last resort.
Does the lawyer have experience handling your type of case?
The type of evidence needed to prove fault on the part of the other party and to prove damages depends on the nature of the accident and the injuries. The following are the different types of personal injury cases:
· Motor vehicle accidents.
· Premises liability claims, including slip-and-fall accidents.
· Medical malpractice.
· Product liability claims for injuries caused by defective products and machinery.
· Construction and workplace accidents.
In addition to injuries caused by the negligent or reckless conduct of another party, injuries may also be inflicted through intentional conduct. For example, an injury caused by someone hitting you with a bat or with their fists may result in criminal charges against your assailant, but it also gives you the right to seek damages through a personal injury claim in civil court.
An attorney with experience handling your particular type of claim understands what the law requires in terms of proving fault in order to win a favorable settlement through negotiations or judgment after trial. Attorneys know what evidence must be gathered and presented in order to prove each element of the claim and the damages inflicted upon you based on the type of case.
What sets a personal injury lawyer apart?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer gives you someone with the ability to take charge of your case to free you to concentrate on getting the rest and medical treatment that you need to recover from your injuries. While you focus on getting better, the personal injury attorney that you choose handles everything else, including:
· Investigating the circumstances of the claim to identify and gather evidence in support of your claim for damages.
· Notifying the at-fault parties and their insurance companies of the claim for damages.
· Preparing and filing pleadings with the appropriate court to commence a personal injury action on your behalf.
· Handling all communications, including negotiations, with insurance companies and defense lawyers.
· Keeping you informed on a regular basis about the status of your claim.
· Being available to answer any questions and to address concerns you have about the case.
The law firm or lawyer you choose should have a reputation for being thorough and aggressive in handling personal injury claims while also being compassionate and understanding about your needs as a client.
Who will be handling your case?
It is not unusual for the everyday handling of your case to be assigned to an associate or paralegal in the law firm, but you want to know who will have primary responsibility for handling negotiations with insurance companies and, if it becomes necessary, handling the trial when the case goes to court. You should meet with the lawyer having primary responsibility and feeling comfortable with them before choosing the firm to handle your case.
Do your homework before choosing a personal injury lawyer
Take the time to research lawyers and law firms to find one with the experience, skills and knowledge to handle your personal injury claim. When hiring a Bend personal injury attorney, schedule a free consultation to get to know the lawyer and the firm before making a decision to retain them.