When you’re involved in an accident or an injury, it can leave you in a highly stressed and emotional state of mind, but this is no time for rash or impulsive decisions. Instead, the wisest course of action is to consult with an expert experienced in handling situations just like yours. Ahead of speaking with personal injury attorneys, however, there are a few things you should know.
1. Not All Cases Lead To A Lengthy Court Battle
If you have been injured in an accident, the last thing you want to do is spend months in court, trying to get an insurance company to pay up. Fortunately, many cases take another path to resolution and an experienced personal injury attorney can help facilitate a quicker settlement. While the filing of the lawsuit is sometimes a necessary formality, the parties may come together to settle the case in an informal meeting.
If a settlement is reached, documents are submitted to the court in which both parties agree that the dispute has been settled. Those documents also pledge to the court that both parties are forfeiting any right to pursue future litigation over the matter. From there, compensation is arranged and, before long, the case is settled.
2. Every Case Is Different
If a settlement can’t be reached, the case will go to court and, generally speaking, a civil trial could last through weeks or even months. An experienced attorney can give you an estimate, concerning how long you can expect to be tied up in court, but even that should be taken with a grain of salt. Anything unexpected could happen to either lengthen the process or derail it altogether.
Also, be wary of an attorney that can guarantee you a win. Reputable and experienced personal injury attorneys can certainly give his opinion about your chances in winning a case, but nothing is guaranteed. If that were the case, insurance companies would settle every time.
3. Expenses Are Your Burden
There are two things to understand here. First, while most people understand that a personal injury lawyer doesn’t take a fee, unless you win your case, they don’t really think about what that means. On the one hand, it enables anyone to retain an experienced and top rated attorney, but it also means a percentage of your compensation will be paid to the lawyer. Be aware of that percentage, before you hire any lawyer.
Second, expenses are never included, so you will be expected to pay for any additional costs as well. It’s best to have a clear understanding what those expenses will be, before proceeding.
4. Initial Consultations Are Almost Always Free
There may be a smattering of law firms that charge a minimal fee for a first-time consultation, but most lawyers offer a free first visit to evaluate your case. This is a generally accepted practice, because neither you nor the attorney can say for certain how, or if, your case will proceed. If you don’t have a strong case, a reputable lawyer will tell you so and may offer alternatives.
Of course, if you don’t like what one attorney has to say, or don’t feel a connection with him or her, you’re always able to consult with another attorney.
When you decide it is time to consult an attorney, take your time and investigate each law firm for yourself. Hiring the first ambulance chaser to guarantee a big settlement can only lead to more frustration and disappointment. By familiarizing yourself with a given lawyer’s experience, track record, and reputation, you can make a better, more educated decision as to which attorney will be your strongest advocate.