If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall, or any other event through no fault of your own, you may be wondering if you should hire a personal injury attorney to assist you. Personal injury attorneys help injured victims recover money for their injuries. Personal injury attorneys work hard to ensure their clients receive the maximum amount of compensation allowed by law. However, there are dozens of attorneys that practice personal injury law—how do you find the right one for you?
What qualifications should you seek out in a personal injury attorney?
As you search for personal injury attorneys in your area, there are several qualities you should keep in mind.
First, you should learn about the attorney’s experience in personal injury law. Many attorneys claim that they practice personal injury law, but in reality, it only makes up a small fraction of their practice. The more personal injury cases an attorney has handled, the more experience that attorney has in this legal area. As you meet different attorneys, ask about the types of cases they have handled, how many they have taken to trial, and what the outcome of those trials was. Ask if the attorney has handled a claim similar to yours, and, if so, how that case was handled.
You should also browse different personal injury websites and see what types of awards and recognitions the firm has received for its work in personal injury law. Notable verdicts and settlement awards may also be listed on the website. This information provides insight into the firm’s track record in personal injury law.
How do I know if I need a personal injury lawyer?
Many individuals are unsure as to what type of attorney they need to help them with a legal case. However, the general rule of thumb is, if you have been injured through no fault of your own, you most likely need a personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawyers handle a wide array of legal claims, including those that stem from:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Train accidents
- Slips and falls
- Medical errors
- Dog bites and animal attacks
If your claim sounds like one of the above types, you need a personal injury attorney.
How much does it cost to retain a personal injury attorney?
Many injured victims worry about the legal costs of filing a personal injury suit. However, personal injury firms work on a contingency fee basis. At the end of the case, if the attorneys win the case, a portion of the award is paid to the law firm. A common contingency fee is one-third of the award. Therefore, if you go to trial or settle your case for $120,000, your attorneys would receive approximately $40,000. Any court costs or other legal expenses that were incurred during the case, such as filing expenses, are reimbursed at the finalization of the case as well.
What to do when you meet your personal injury attorney
Most personal injury firms provide a free consultation to potential clients. The free consultation allows these clients to ask questions and address concerns, and it also gives them the opportunity to see what it would be like to work with this attorney. After you have researched personal injury firms in your area and have selected a few to meet with, you should prepare for your initial consultation.
First, gather all of the documents you have that involve your personal injury claim. Medical records, medical bills, accident reports, photographs, and other such documents will help the attorney piece together what happened and determine how the law firm can help you. It is also wise to create a timeline of events. Start with the incident itself and note any medical appointments you had, when new symptoms appeared, and other such information. If you have any witnesses, they should write down a summary of what they observed as well.
Next, be prepared to ask questions during the appointment. Ask about the personal injury claims process and what you should expect during it. You should also ask how questions and concerns are addressed in the law office—are you able to speak with your attorney when needed, or are you directed to leave a voicemail or leave a message with a paralegal? Your attorney should make it clear that your questions and concerns are important and that you are encouraged to seek advice when you need it.
You will be working with your personal injury attorney for a few months at least. Though you certainly do not have to be best friends with your attorney, it is important that you feel comfortable with your attorney—after all, you may have to discuss personal information, such as your medical history, with this person. If you do not like the attorney or if you feel as though the attorney is impatient or aloof, you may not feel comfortable discussing your case. Strong communication is key to a successful attorney-client relationship.
Remember, your attorney needs your help too
It is easy for many individuals to believe that their attorneys are able to handle their cases without much help from the clients. However, this is not the case. Your attorney knows the law and the various processes involved with filing a personal injury claim, but your attorney depends on you to explain what happened, what medical treatment you received, and other such facts. Your attorney was not with you when you were injured, so you may have to provide many details to your attorney. Answer emails, return calls, and provide documentation as requested and your claim will be strengthened.
At Teale Law, we represent clients throughout New Hampshire in personal injury claims
Teale Law is dedicated to serving clients in personal injury claims, ranging from slip and falls to serious motor vehicle accidents. To schedule your free consultation with our Manchester firm, call 603-935-7425 or contact us for a free consultation.