If you have been injured as a result of the negligence of another person or entity, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for medical expenses, lost income and in many areas, intangibles such as pain and suffering. The average person will not be able to successfully go up against massive insurance agencies, so it is a good idea to retain the services of a personal injury attorney. In the US, lack of lawyers is definitely not an issue—rather, your challenge will be picking the right one amongst the many that will happily take your business. Here are some tips to get you started in your search.
Be Wary of Referral Services
Referral services are available for most types of law, with personal injury being a particularly abundant. The problem with referral services is the varying standards employed to get listed; for some, it may be nothing more than paying a fee to get in the directory. Any recommendations that come from these services may have nothing to do with the attorney’s experience, knowledge or competence.
Look for Lawyers that Specialize in Personal Injury Law
There are many lawyers who dabble in various areas of law and for certain legal needs, this type of lawyer may fit the bill just fine. But, personal injury cases can be complex and there is a lot at stake. Going with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury alone is your best bet for getting a more favorable outcome; additionally, you also want to consider a lawyer who is experienced in your type of injury in particular. They will have the specialized knowledge necessary to secure a favorable settlement.
Consider Attorneys with Trial Experience
Even though a majority of personal injury claims are settled before going to trial—even cases that are set to go to trial typically settle at some point before actually reaching the court room—you might consider working with an attorney who has experience fighting cases in court. This can work to your advantage since the threat of going to court by a lawyer who has successfully tried personal injury cases may motivate insurance companies to come to a favorable settlement sooner than later—most want to avoid trials, which can be costly, bring negative publicity and possibly result in having to pay out more money to the plaintiff than a settlement may have. If the attorney has no trial experience, the insurance company may not take threats of a lawsuit very seriously.
Look for a Lawyer Who Can Take Your Case Sooner than Later
Ideally, you want to get moving on your case as soon as possible, especially if those medical bills are piling in and you are not receiving any income. When evaluating lawyers, how soon they can take your case should be an important consideration. The negotiation process can take awhile and the sooner you start it, the sooner you can reach a favorable settlement amount. Of course, you must balance this out with other factors important in selecting the right attorney.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers all things law; she recommends visiting chicagopersonalinjurylawyer.com if you are in need of an attorney in the Chicago area.