Important Things to Consider Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers help people recover compensation for physical injuries caused by another person's negligence. Injured people often seek legal representation because it is difficult to prove fault without professional assistance. When seeking legal counsel, clients must consider several factors including experience, fees, availability, and reputation. Here are the questions you should ask yourself before choosing a personal injury attorney.
- Experience - How long has the law office represented clients in similar cases? Some firms specialize in certain areas of the law, such as medical malpractice. They might offer specialized expertise and training. Other firms focus exclusively on personal injury lawsuits.
- 2Fees - What are the costs associated with retaining the lawyer's services? Are there additional charges for filing documents and attending court hearings? Ask how much you will be expected to pay upfront and what the payment schedule looks like. Make sure you understand how much money you will owe the law firm over time.
- Availability - Will the lawyer be able to meet with you promptly? Can he or she return calls or emails within 24 hours? Do they accept insurance settlements? Be wary of attorneys who do not respond quickly to requests for information.
- Reputation - Is the law office well known among friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors? Do they have testimonials online? Look for reviews from former clients and others familiar with the firm's work.
- Insurance - Does the lawyer take health insurance? Many personal injury attorneys require their clients to sign retainer agreements requiring them to pay for the attorney's services upfront. If the client does not have sufficient funds to cover the cost of litigation, the attorney may attempt to obtain a judgment against the client.
- Communication - How easy is it to communicate with the lawyer? Is the lawyer accessible via the phone, email, or text messages? Do they return phone calls or send follow-up correspondence? Do they answer questions immediately? Keep in mind that communication issues could impact the quality of representation.
As you search for a lawyer to handle your personal injury case, don’t just rely on recommendations from family members and friends. Start by asking your network of contacts for referrals. This could include people in your professional life, such as your employer, coworkers, clients, and even doctors. Also, ask your insurance agent about local lawyers he knows. You might find some great suggestions there.
Next, look up the names of several potential candidates on the internet. Searching for keywords like "personal injury attorney," "car accident lawyer," "accident lawyer," etc., will bring up many different listings. Make sure to read each one carefully to see what information is included. For example, some sites list fees upfront while others do not. Some provide testimonials from previous clients while others do not.
If you are considering hiring a particular lawyer, try contacting him directly via email. Ask questions about his experience, how long he has been practicing law, and whether he accepts cases involving car accidents. Be wary of anyone who does not answer your inquiries promptly.
Finally, once you have narrowed down your choices, schedule a meeting with each candidate. During this initial interview, ask specific questions about your situation and request copies of relevant documents. Look for someone who seems honest, trustworthy, and knowledgeable. If possible, take notes during the meeting and review them afterward.Understand Your Personal Responsibilities
As a client, you have several responsibilities. You must seek needed medical care and remain in full compliance with your doctor’s recommendations. In addition, you must ensure that your medical bills are filed correctly with your health insurer. You must keep your legal team up to date on the status of your case. And finally, you must be honest and candid with them about what is happening with your case. If you don't give your lawyer enough information, he or she cannot do his or her job effectively.Request the Paperwork Needed for Your Case
In order to represent you in a personal injury case, your lawyer will likely request many different types of documentation. These include medical records (related pre-existing conditions and test results), accident reports, photographs, and details about the incident (date and time, location, weather/ road conditions). You must provide all of this information to your attorney.
Your lawyer will use it to build a strong case against the insurance companies. If you don’t do this, your chances of winning are slim. Insurance companies know how much money they stand to make off injured claimants, and they won’t hesitate to fight tooth and nail to keep what they think is rightfully theirs.Time Is of the Essence
The law requires victims of personal injury claims to act quickly. A lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the incident causing the harm. This period begins to run immediately upon accrual of the cause of action, regardless of whether the injured party knew about his or her legal rights. In addition, the statute of limitations does not begin to run again once it expires.Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are currently interviewing personal injuries lawyers and you want to ensure that you have chosen the best lawyer for your needs, here is a list of questions to ask during the interview process:
- What areas of law do I specialize in/have experience in?
- Do you handle cases similar to mine?
- If yes, how did it turn out?
- How many cases have you handled previously?
- 5. How many cases are you working on right now?
A personal injury lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, will fight for your rights and help you maximize the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.