Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer and Prepping for the Claims Process
You’ve likely seen the advertisements on the highway or listened to the ads on the radio for numerous personal injury lawyers in your area. In the past you’ve always ignored the ads, but now due to an unfortunate circumstance, you are in need of a personal injury lawyer. But you don’t know the first thing about the law and you want to make sure you receive justice for your case.
So how do you know who to choose when it comes to finding the best personal injury lawyer? What are some questions you should ask a personal injury lawyer before hiring them? And how do you even begin to prepare for the claims process? It helps to do some research first and to use these tips to help you choose the best and most competent lawyer to represent your case.
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Lawyers Equal Success
If you have never filed a personal injury claim before, you may not be aware that using a lawyer for your personal injury lawsuit means that you are more likely to have a settlement or financial result that you are hoping for when it comes to reparations.
When an individual uses a lawyer for a personal injury case instead of trying to represent themselves, the success rates and settlement amounts are much more significant. There are many reasons to use a lawyer including the fact that the lawyer will help walk you through what type of documentation you will need to proceed with your case.
If you are concerned about legal fees, many personal injury lawyers base their fees on a percentage of the settlement and only charge if a settlement is achieved. So for many circumstances, there is not a significant out-of-pocket cost when it comes to hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Tips For Choosing A Personal Injury Lawyer
The number one piece of advice individuals with previous personal injury claims give is to hire a lawyer that has been to trial. Many personal injury lawyers focus on settling outside of court so you want to be careful and make sure you hire a lawyer that has gone to trial before.
Insurance companies like to take advantage of the lawyers who have not gone to trial as often and offer smaller settlements because they know the lawyer is more likely to choose the settlement than go to trial. So when choosing a lawyer, ask them to share their previous trial experience with you before hiring them.
Another important aspect to consider when hiring a lawyer is whether or not the lawyer you choose has experience with your specific type of claim. For example, maybe you are filing a personal injury claim for a car accident, but the lawyer you hire has more experience with medical claims than automobile injuries. That lawyer is likely not a good fit for your case. Ask your lawyer about their previous clients and cases and do some research online of your own to ensure you make the best choice in hiring a lawyer.
Schedule A Consultation
A good lawyer knows and expects that you will have a lot of questions about both your case and the lawyer’s experience with cases similar to yours. Most lawyers provide free or inexpensive first time consultations so that they can answer general questions and help you feel comfortable before you hire them.
Before you make a consultation appointment, check online to see if previous clients have made any reviews about the lawyer. When you do decide to schedule a consultation, make sure you make the most of your time and ask as many questions as possible. Take someone with you to help take notes and ask any questions you may forget to ask.
How to Prepare for the Claims Process
It can be a daunting task to organize and search for paperwork in general, but it can become especially overwhelming when you are trying to collect documentation for legal purposes. Before you and your lawyer begin to work together to prepare your case, you need to find out what the statute of limitations is for your state when it comes to personal injury lawsuits.
Each state has its own time frame, and if you do not file the suit within the designated time frame you will not have a valid and legal case. Once you determine the timeframe in which you need to file the paperwork, start making a list of all of the documentation you will need for a successful case.
The claims process begins once you file the initial claim and then the lawyers for both parties will begin investigating the paperwork. Paperwork can and will include items such as medical records and bills connected to your case.
This is called the discovery phase of the process and can last anywhere from months to years depending on the case and the state. Sometimes witnesses are involved which can add another layer to a case, so it is best to be patient and trust your lawyer during this time.
The next step is the mediation phase. This is where the lawyers from both sides work to agree on a settlement. In smaller personal injury cases a settlement is usually reached without having to go to trial (but it is still important to have a lawyer that is prepared to go to trial just in case).
However, with larger personal injury suits that go to trial, the process will be extended until the trial date. There are advantages to settling and advantages to going to trial and your lawyer will advise you on which option is best for your case.
Dealing with a personal injury lawsuit is not something that anyone hopes to have to encounter in their own life. However, hiring an experienced and helpful lawyer can make a challenging situation run a little smoother.
The lawyer will not only walk you through the claims process and how settlements vs. a trial will work, but they will also be able to answer questions you have about your case and guide you in your legal choices and options. Take the time to research to find the lawyer best fit for your specific case and know that you will be in good hands while trying to reach a fair settlement for your case.