Before you embark on the quest to find a personal injury attorney, it is important to know what personal injury actually means. Personal injury often involves negligence on the part of someone, whether it be a business, organization, association, neighbor, physician, or complete stranger (as in a car accident). Many personal injury negligence claims include product defects, physician malpractice, work-related injuries, car accidents, birth injuries, and slip and fall cases (often categorized under “premises liability”–where did you fall and whose fault was it to prevent the conditions of your fall?).
Personal injury cases are complicated. Although it may seem clear that the person who caused the accident is the person responsible for paying for the damages, it’s often difficult to prove who may have been the guilty party, such as in the case of an accident that occurred at a company event, a playground, or an organization’s location. It is also evident in more ways than one today that many people simply don’t have the financial means to pay for someone else’s attorney or hospital costs, or might not have insurance altogether. Issues like these make it even more important to seek the assistance of a firm who specializes in personal injury cases so that justice will be served on your behalf.
Like many professionals, attorneys specialize in various areas of law from family law to commercial law to business law to personal injury law. When you are faced with a personal injury case, you want someone who has a proven history of settling lawsuits related to personal injury, likely one you can trust to do their best for you, and who has experience in this area. If your injury or situation requires the advice of a attorney to help you settle the matter, you can find yourself in a sea of listings on the web and in the phone book. Who’s to know which one is better than the other? Do the attorneys mean what they say in print and on television?
For the most part, federal regulations mandate the type of advertising that attorneys can use, and they have to follow advertising guidelines so as not to sway or mislead the public regarding their specialties and areas of expertise. Their rates must be established in accordance with a national standard so you, as a consumer, can feel comfortable that you are not being led astray with false promises, or being overcharged. Seeking an attorney who is a right fit for you and your situation can mean considering many questions and scenarios before you sign an agreement and pay a retainer. Here’s a short checklist of what you can use to start your initial search for the right legal counsel:
- What is their history for verdicts and settlements in personal injury cases similar to yours?
- Don’t rule out using someone who is not in your immediate area; many firms have the means and tools to provide long-distance advice and consultation
- Is there an initial consultation fee, and can you have unlimited access once a relationship has been established?
- How long has the firm been in existence?
Once you have made an apportionment with a personal injury attorney based on those factors, you’ll want to know what to expect. Much of the work by the firm will involve fact-finding and discovery. You should expect that a great deal of time goes into exploring the cause of the injury and all situations surrounding the event, before and after. If you need to write a timeline of events, do so before your meeting so you don’t have to remember the details at the consultation. Enlist the names and numbers of witnesses, prepare copies of pertinent documents, compile photos, and make copies of medical records. Having those on hand will assist the firm in an initial investigation to help you settle and find relief.
Choosing the proper attorney is the first important step to ensuring that your future will be well-represented. If you’d like to explore your case and a probable relationship with our firm to find out if we can assist you in your personal injury case, please take our Free Case Evaluation, at no obligation. We are here to help when you are ready.