Four Things to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you are injured through no fault of your own, you may have the right to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Unfortunately, this process is not always easy.
The insurance company may try to undervalue your claim, pressure you to accept an unfair settlement, or even blame you for the accident.
A personal injury lawyer can give you the invaluable legal counsel you deserve to fight for the compensation you need to move forward with your life. However, choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you can feel intimidating. Here is what you should consider when hiring an injury lawyer and how to prepare for your consultation.
When Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Strictly speaking, you are never required to hire a personal injury lawyer in Alabama to represent you. However, some cases can be incredibly complex and nearly impossible to prove without extensive legal experience.
And while anyone who has been injured can benefit from a lawyer’s advice, injury cases that are minor generally do not need the guidance of a lawyer.
How do you know when you need a personal injury lawyer to help you? The following types of cases almost always benefit from an experienced injury lawyer:
- Claims involving child injuries
- Cases that involve premises liability or product liability
- Cases involving catastrophic injuries or permanent impairments
- Cases in which multiple parties may share liability such as a commercial truck claim
- Claims that involve a government entity
- Injuries caused by medical malpractice
These cases may require a lawyer for many reasons. Your case may involve complex legal doctrines, liability may be unclear or hard to prove, or your claim may be very valuable in which case the insurance company will be prepared to fight. Some cases are complex because the injuries are hard to substantiate or value, while claims involving injuries to children are complicated because damages may occur in the future and the child’s health may change.
Important Things to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
You should treat a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer as an interview. It’s important to choose the right injury lawyer to handle your claim as they will be responsible for not only gathering and presenting evidence but defending you against claims you caused your accident. They will also negotiate on your behalf.
The following are the four things you should look for to choose a personal injury lawyer in Mobile you feel comfortable handling your case.
Personal injury is a very broad area of law with many specialties. Even though all personal injury claims require the same basic elements, such as proving liability and damages, laws surrounding different types of incidents can vary dramatically. The laws and procedures surrounding medical malpractice, for example, are very different than those related to dog bites or car accidents.
You want to be confident your legal team has the depth of knowledge needed to confidently handle your claim, anticipate hurdles, and gather the right type of evidence. Always ask about the amount of experience the injury lawyer has with cases similar to yours in circumstances or facts.
Success & Reputation
While past results should never be considered a guarantee or promise of future results, it’s important to choose a law firm that has a successful track record. Keep in mind most personal injury claims are settled outside of court, but some cases spend long months or even years in court. You should ideally choose a personal injury lawyer who has an excellent reputation inside and outside of the courtroom.
Ask the personal injury lawyer about the percentage of their cases that settle outside of court and how many cases go to trial. If the lawyer settles almost all of their cases outside of court, they may not have the trial experience you need if your case goes to trial. You can also ask about their success rate for cases that go to trial and how many cases settle close to or above the initial calculated value of the claim.
Most personal injury claims are settled before they go to trial, but there is always a risk of lengthy or complicated litigation. The more complex or serious your case, the more resources your lawyer should have at their disposal to gather evidence and fight for you.
Depending on the details of your case, your lawyer may bring in expert testimony to substantiate your claim, establish liability, prove the extent of your injuries, and secure maximum compensation. Because your personal injury lawyer works on a contingency fee basis and you pay nothing until compensation is recovered, the law firm should have significant resources that can be used to secure this testimony and other forms of evidence.
Commitment & Compassion
Finally, there are many intangible qualities you want to look for when choosing a personal injury lawyer. Do you feel comfortable talking to the lawyer? Do they seem to actually care about your situation? Do you leave the consultation feeling that they are committed to fighting for you and seeing your case through to the end?
A good personal injury lawyer will listen carefully to your story and ask plenty of questions to ensure he or she understands your position. If the lawyer promises a large settlement without really listening to the details, you may be getting a sales pitch more than the trustworthy and skilled legal counsel you need.
By choosing a lawyer you feel comfortable with at the start of your case, you can feel better that the lawyer will demonstrate good communication and keep you updated throughout the course of your claim.
How to Prepare for Your Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer
A free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Mobile is your opportunity to find out if your case has merit, what you can expect, and a possible legal strategy available to you.
When you’re ready to meet with an injury lawyer to discuss your case, it’s important to be as prepared as possible to get the best advice.
At Lattof & Lattof, P.C., we recommend writing down as much as you can remember about the accident and as soon as possible. Try to keep a journal to jot down how you feel each day, changes in your recovery, medical treatment you receive, and more. You can bring these notes with you to your consultation and use them to provide an overview of your case.
You’ll want to bring information to your consultation that gives the lawyer a good overview of your case such as:
- Any correspondence from the defendant, their lawyer, or their insurance company
- The police report or incident report
- Medical records related to your injuries
- Receipts and the Explanation of Benefits for out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Photos of the accident scene
When you meet with a personal injury lawyer, you will tell them your story including what happened during the accident and what has happened since. Mention if you have filed an insurance claim or you have been contacted by the defendant’s insurance carrier. The lawyer will give you an idea of what you can expect from your case, whether they believe your case has merit, and how they believe you should proceed.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Mobile Personal Injury Lawyer
Have you been injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness? You may be facing financial uncertainty, a difficult recovery, and an inability to return to work. You should not be concerned about fighting an insurance company trying to minimize your claim or blame you for your injuries.
Contact Lattof & Lattof, P.C. today to schedule a free case review with a compassionate personal injury lawyer in Mobile. Our family-run law firm has a century of combined experience representing Alabama accident victims. We are here for you!