Personal injury claims involve two or more parties. One party must have a duty of care toward another party and have neglected that duty, resulting in the other party’s injury. A personal injury lawyer will determine whether your case meets the strict criteria of a personal injury claim. However, you don’t want just any personal injury attorney, you want one who will get you the maximum settlement possible.
Identify Your Goals
Before you search for an attorney, you should identify your case and settlement goals. For example, do you want to pay the medical bills that resulted from the injury, and do you have personal property that needs fixed? In addition to these general costs, you may receive lost wages and expected future medical costs.
Non-economic damages may also be pursued. These include payment for emotional distress, pain, psychological disorders that resulted from the incident and any future disability challenges. All these non-economic costs can be quantified into monetary damages.
Consult your state bar association office to identify the injury lawyers that are licensed to practice in your state or the state in which you were injured. Someone in the office may also refer you to a specific lawyer. You may check review websites, such as Martindale-Hubbell, to determine how your peers feel about each of the lawyers on your list.
Consider seeking personal recommendations from your peers, local businesspeople, friends and family and legal professionals you have worked with in the past. Read the client reviews on their website but understand that these may be biased.
Education and Experience
After you have narrowed down your list, go to the lawyer’s websites to get an idea about where they were educated and how much experience they have. For example, do they have trial and negotiation experience? How long have they practiced law? Do they have experience negotiating or working with insurance adjusters and companies?
In addition, personal injury cases vary significantly, from slip and fall cases and car accidents to dog bites and product liability cases. Therefore, the laws that apply to each of these cases differ significantly as well. Do your prospective lawyers have experience with your specific type of personal injury case? You also want to learn what percentage of the lawyers’ case loads are personal injury and your specific type of personal injury cases.
Pursue a consultation with your abbreviated list of possible lawyers. Ask for a case evaluation and prospective settlement. Then, ask about the process and any professional experience questions you may still have. You should also ask for and contact the lawyer’s references. Identify their communication practices and who will handle your case.
Not every lawyer you meet with will have the desire or time to pursue your case. To ensure you have the best shot at getting the lawyer you want, make sure your evidence, including police and accident reports, photographs and videos, witness contact information and medical and other bills, are organized and in good shape.
If you have been seriously injured because of the neglect of another party, you may have a personal injury case. Consider seeking the legal advice of a personal injury attorney to determine whether you should pursue your claim.