Personal injury lawyers represent clients who have suffered physical and sometimes emotional or mental injuries. Such lawyers perform legal research to help their clients obtain some form of compensation for their injuries. This usually involves a monetary damages award to help offset the costs of the injuries. Personal injury lawyers also perform other tasks like appearing in court and representing clients during negotiations.
What Are Some Methods on How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer?
The most common methods for obtaining a personal injury lawyer are:
- Word of mouth: This can often provide access to reliable legal services. However, the average person may not always have personal connections to personal injury lawyers.
- Phone book/Online searches: These can provide large volumes of searches, but are limited in terms of attorney backgrounds and ratings.
- Bar associations: These can often provide information on attorney profiles, although actually connecting with a lawyer through such groups can be a slow process.
- Matching services: These can often provide a sure and efficient way to connect with lawyers. LegalMatch.com is the nation’s largest attorney-client matching service and covers all 50 states.
Thus, many of the more traditional lawyer search methods are being replaced by newer online methods like attorney-client matching sites. These provide more direct and accurate connections with attorneys.
What Information Should I Ask My Personal Injury Lawyer?
Before you enlist the services of a personal injury attorney, it is very important that you learn basic information about them. This can be done in an informal interview over the phone and through e-mail, before you hire them. An interview with the prospective personal injury attorney should disclose detailed information about his or her experience and information about your personal injury case. The following information should be exchanged during your interview:
- The lawyer's role in the firm
- The lawyer's experience in personal injury
- The lawyer's experience in handling cases similar to yours
- The lawyer's success in related cases
- The lawyer's fees to related cases
- The lawyer's view on projected outcome of your case
- How many other cases the lawyer is currently working on
- The average amount of compensation the attorney wins in related cases
- Any conflict of interest issues
You should not hesitate to conduct a thorough interview with the lawyer, since you will be working closely with them. The outcome of your personal injury claim will depend on having a solid client-attorney relationship before any litigation actually begins.
Tips on How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
When searching for a personal injury lawyer, it helps to take some time first to define your search needs. Some tips include:
- Try to pinpoint the category of your legal issue. Most claims will fall into a clear category like car accidents, slip and fall, or negligence. This will help narrow your search and speed up the search process.
- Identify whether you would like to work with a certain type of lawyer or if you have any special needs. This can help avoid conflicts of interests in the long run.
- Begin preparing documents and papers that might be helpful for your claim. For instance, begin compiling receipts, hospital bills, work stubs, etc.
- Create a checklist of questions you might have for your attorney.
- Make a written account of the incident that led to your injury as soon as possible to avoid any missed or forgotten details.
- Thus, the more you understand your own personal injury situation and your legal needs, the better chances you have at finding a personal injury to help you out.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
Most personal injury lawyer attorneys charge their clients on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement is when the client does not pay the attorney for the legal services until the attorney actually wins the case and the client get legally compensated for his or her injuries.
When choosing a personal injury lawyer, you are free to discuss with your attorney and determine the appropriate method of compensation. The most common forms of compensation include: contingency fee arrangements, hourly rates, or flat fees.
- Flat Fees. In a flat fee compensation arrangement, you will agree to pay your lawyer a predetermined sum upon the completion of your case. Typically, you must pay your lawyer this flat fee regardless of the outcome of your lawsuit. Flat fee arrangements are very rare in personal injury cases.
- Hourly Rates. An hourly fee arrangement requires you to pay your attorney based upon the number of hours he or she spends working on your case. It is your attorney’s responsibility to keep detailed records of his or her hours, and they cannot bill you for time they spent working on a different case.
- Contingent Fee Arrangements. A contingency fee arrangement is an agreement where the lawyer only collects his or her fee if you settle or win your case. In a typical contingent fee arrangement, the lawyer will collect 1/3 of your total award. Contingent fee arrangements are the most common fee agreement in personal injury cases.
Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is often necessary since most people don’t have a working knowledge of personal injury laws. It may be in your best interests to hire a personal injury lawyer in your area if you need help filing a lawsuit. Your attorney can help represent you in court and can assist with the different technical aspects of the legal claim.