What Is a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You’ve surely seen the names and faces of plenty of personal injury lawyers in your area, advertising on social media, billboards and even TV — but what is personal injury in legal terms? Most people associate personal injury attorneys with representing victims of car accidents and other motor vehicle collisions, but that’s not all they do.
If you have been injured due to the negligence, wrongdoing or carelessness of another individual or entity, including medical or legal malpractice, assault, birth injury or even sexual abuse, that is considered a personal injury. Because these cases require tough representation and compassionate support, choosing the right lawyer is one of the most important things you can do to help your case. Read on to learn how to find a trusted and experienced personal injury attorney you can count on.
Ask Friends and Family to Refer Their Personal Injury Lawyer
Most people have strong opinions about legal representation. That’s why the best way to find a personal injury lawyer is to talk to people you trust about positive experiences they’ve had with an attorney who represented them in the past. Ask in person or use social media to cast a wide net to friends, family and community members to get recommendations for personal injury lawyers who were communicative, available, supportive and successful.
If no one in your circle has needed a personal injury lawyer, online reviews — via Google or Yelp, especially — are another credible way to see what others say and find an attorney you can trust.
Research Attorneys Online
Before filing a personal injury claim, you’ll need to do a little research to ensure that you’re getting the best representation possible. Once you’ve asked your trusted circle for referrals and found some positively reviewed lawyers, get online to ensure that they’re licensed and in good standing in your state.
Because each state has its own local bar association, all personal injury lawyers are registered in their databases. Here, you can check on the bar status of a potential attorney, and you can find out whether they have been sanctioned or if any disciplinary measures have been leveled against them.
Ask About Your Case
Personal injury claims are not one-size-fits-all. Because the outcome of each case relies on many different factors, it’s important to ask your lawyer what they think about the merits of your case and what kind of outcome they plan to pursue, whether it means resolving with a settlement or going to trial.
When it comes to settlements, your attorney shouldn’t be promising large sums of money or even specific figures. Of course, they will be able to give you a ballpark estimate based on similar cases they’ve represented, but promising a specific amount of money is a red flag. You should also ask whether or not the lawyer you’re speaking with will personally handle your case or pass it off to another associate.
Review All Paperwork
Once you’ve signed all the documents to accept a lawyer’s legal services, you have entered into a contract. That makes it crucial to review and fully understand all of the paperwork your attorney gives you. You should always feel comfortable asking as many questions as necessary, and your lawyer should be as helpful as possible in answering them. If they seem bothered, uncomfortable or frustrated with any of your questions, it’s usually a red flag that this isn’t someone you should be choosing to represent you. You deserve a lawyer who has the patience and tenacity to fully pursue your case for the best possible outcome.
Discuss Fees Before You Sign the Contract
When you’re dealing with the medical expenses of your injury — not to mention missed income as a result — you can’t afford any more financial surprises. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they receive no compensation until they recover your negotiated settlement. However, this all depends on the firm. Some lawyers may charge an hourly rate for specific tasks, while others charge a higher percentage for various types of cases.
That’s why it’s extremely important that you understand and feel comfortable with their payment structure. To be sure, ask about 1) the percentage of your recovery they will charge for their services and 2) how they charge for any additional legal fees.
Looking for an Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm?
No more Google searches for “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?” Whether you’ve been looking for a personal injury lawyer in New Jersey or Illinois, we’re here to recover the compensation you deserve.
For 40 years, the nationally recognized lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs have been helping personal injury victims all over the country, including Baltimore, Chicago, Columbia, NYC, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Des Moines and many more cities. We believe that you have a right to understand your options before you hire a lawyer.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case, and we’ll help you decide the best steps to take from here.