It is always a trying time when one is dealing with an injury due to the fault of someone else and struggling to get appropriate compensation. Navigating the legal world of gaining compensation from someone else while also dealing with insurance companies can require the help of a qualified personal injury lawyer who will be able to maximize the results of these processes and ensure that a fair compensation is attained. However, for those who have never had to hire a personal injury lawyer before, what is the best way to go about completing this process and ensuring a just settlement?
How to find a personal injury lawyer?
Though ads for personal injury lawyers, such as daytime television commercials and billboards emblazoned with 1-800 numbers, are nearly ubiquitous, this is usually not the most effective way to go through the hiring process. Many of the best lawyers who deal with personal injury cases get their clients through a referral service or a membership organization such as the American Association for Justice. When selecting a personal injury lawyer, it is best to work through one of these organizations (or the recommendations of friends and family) rather than the big advertisers.
Questions for an attorney
Once a lawyer has been selected from a reputable directory, a client should ask a number of questions to ensure that it will be a good professional fit (though a consultation might require a fee, meeting with a lawyer does not mean that they must necessarily be hired). A client should inquire as to that lawyer’s specialty and make sure it overlaps with their particular injury. Likewise, a client will want to know how likely it is their case will go to trial, how the fee structure works for that particular firm, and how the lawyer will keep the client informed concerning the case. A lawyer will likely not give personal references due to the importance of client confidentiality, but asking these questions will give a client a better sense of how much personal attention they will receive from their lawyer.
Other conditions in the hiring process
Once someone has located a reputable attorney and had a positive experience during an initial consultation, most clients move forward with hiring this attorney and begin the process of gaining compensation with the help of their attorney. However, sometimes a client will have second thoughts after already hiring the attorney and want to reconsider their options. If this is the case, the client does have the power to cancel their agreement (though the client will still need to compensate the lawyer for the work already done on the case thus far). If the client thinks that they will need a new attorney, they should have an initial meeting with a backup lawyer before cancelling the initial agreement. Similarly, if a client has a dispute with their attorney, it will likely be mediated by their state’s bar association in order to have a fair resolution.
What if there is an appeal?
Most clients who follow the basic tips listed above concerning the hiring of a personal injury lawyer find that they are satisfied with the results of their settlement. However, clients will want to note that their attorney might not be obligated to represent them in an appeal, as the lawyer is typically only responsible for the case as listed in a retainer agreement. Clients who feel that they need to ensure that the same attorney will represent them in the case of an appeal will want to include this in a retainer.