Have you been injured in an accident? If so, you’re entitled to compensation for your medical bills, the time you had to take off work, and any other expenses related to the injury.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get what you’re owed. You may need to hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you and make sure you’re compensated fairly.
In order to hire the right lawyer for your case, read on to learn five important considerations you should keep in mind.
When dealing with an insurance provider, the following are big red flags that you should have a lawyer representing you.
Typically, when an insurer gives you a laundry list of tasks to perform before they’ll compensate you for your injury, it’s a sign that they’re trying to find a reason not to pay you.
A lawyer will understand these kinds of tactics and will advise you on how to proceed. They may even be able to put some pressure on the insurer to get rid of these tasks and make things easier for you.
Often, insurers will try to get out of compensating accident victims by requiring them to visit a doctor that they hire.
When this happens, the doctor may try to minimize and undervalue the extent of your injuries.
If you have to fill out a bunch of forms answering questions about your medical history, it’s probably because the insurer wants to shift the blame for your injury to something that happened to you before the accident.
An attorney can advocate for you and prevent the insurer from trying to minimize or totally eliminate your compensation because of past accidents or injuries.
If you were injured in a car accident, insurers may try to convince you to have the damage appraised by someone they’ve hired.
The issue with this is similar to the issue of seeing a doctor hired by the insurer. An appraiser hired by the insurer will usually undervalue your car and try to minimize the severity of the damage. The goal, of course, is to pay you as little as possible.
To avoid this, work with an attorney to get a fair estimate of the cost of repairs for your car and make sure you’re not bullied into accepting less than you should.
It’s not uncommon for insurers to want to record phone calls with you and any other people who were injured in the same accident. The recordings typically seem innocent enough, but they may try to use them later to confuse or trap you in an effort to reduce or eliminate your claim.
If you have a lawyer on your side, it’ll be easier to avoid difficult situations like this that could later be used against you.
If you do decide that you need a lawyer, you’ll want to keep these five considerations in mind and make sure you’re asking the right questions.
First things first, you need to ask about your potential lawyer’s experience. You want someone working on your case who thoroughly understands your state’s specific laws and regulations.
A more experienced lawyer will be better at communicating with insurers and other professionals to help you get what you’re owed.
You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask them how long they’ve been practicing and find a product where they attended law school.
If you injured yourself when you slipped and fell, you’d want a lawyer who has experience with those kinds of cases, right? Someone who works exclusively with car accident victims might not be the best person to take your case.
Ask about the types of cases they typically handle and find out if they have a specific concentration that is relevant to your case.
You should also ask about their success rate with cases like yours. After all, it doesn’t matter how many car accident victims they’ve represented if they’ve never actually been won a case for them.
Do some research online and find out what people are saying about a particular attorney before you decide whether or not you want to hire them.
Testimonials on the lawyer’s website are a good place to start, but be sure to venture to other, independent review sites like Yelp as well. This will help you get a slightly more objective view of the lawyer’s reputation and ability to handle your case.
Of course, money matters, too.
Don’t sign any contracts until you thoroughly understand how much the lawyer you’re considering hiring charges.
It’s common for personal injury lawyers to only charge you a fee if you win your case. This is called a contingency fee.
If this is the protocol for your case, the lawyer may take a substantial percentage of your settlement if you win. Find out the exact percentage they take before agreeing to anything.
You should also get a clear outline of all fees related to your case that you may need to pay, regardless of the outcome.
Finally, find a lawyer who cares and shows genuine compassion for their clients. Of course, they should want to help you win your case (that’s how they get paid), but they should also care about you as a human being.
Look for someone who communicates well and actively listens to your questions and concerns. Getting the compensation you deserve for your injury can be a long battle, and it’s important to work with a lawyer that you like and get along with.