Personal injury lawsuits can become incredibly complex depending on the circumstances that caused your injuries. Other aspects, like property damage, can also add a unique element to each case. To get the best outcome in your personal injury claim, you need to hire an effective lawyer to litigate your case.
Before hiring someone, consider these steps that show how to choose a personal injury lawyer.
Step 1. Look for Experienced Lawyers in Your Area
Not all lawyers specialize in the same field. To find the right lawyer, you need to find law firms that offer legal services related to the field your case falls under. In this case, it is personal injury law.
Yet, even after refining your search down to personal injury lawyers, you still need to reduce the pool of candidates even further to find the best one. One key factor to consider is a lawyer or law firm’s experience level. In general, lawyers who have litigated more cases will be more capable of acquiring desirable results for their clients.
But time in the field is not the only thing to think about when considering experience. The nature of that experience is important too. For example, a personal injury lawyer who spent the last twenty years fighting for insurance companies may not have the same level of customer care as a lawyer who has been fighting on the behalf of individuals like you. While some background being on the other side of personal injury cases can be valuable, you need to find a firm that has substantial experience litigating cases like yours.
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Step 2. Think About Lawyers Who Are Willing to Accept Your Case
Lawyers do not just take on every case they are offered. In many cases, they only accept cases they feel they can win. Although, some immoral lawyers may take on losing cases just so they can bill you for their services. Fortunately, this is uncommon, because many personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency basis. This means they only take payment if they win you some form of settlement.
Yet, even contingency-based law firms may deny taking on your claim if the expected settlement is too small. This is because law offices have huge operating expenses that can be difficult to recover through a small claim. Small claims are not any less important, this is just the reality of the legal field.
If your claim is large, you will have little problem finding a law firm willing to take on your case. That does not mean you should just choose anyone — instead, turn to a law firm that is willing to accept your case because they know they can win and they will not take a majority of the money if they do. The purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to recover compensation. If most of that goes to your lawyer, you may find yourself unable to fully afford the expenses related to your injuries.
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Step 3. Sit Down with Any Candidates You Think May Be a Good Fit
If you do not sit down and talk to any of these lawyers, you will struggle to grasp what level of service they can offer you. That means you need to schedule consultations with all of them to determine exactly who is a good fit for your case. While your legal knowledge may be minimal, you can still observe the experience and case history of a lawyer by talking to them. Ask questions that will help you find out more about their background, then make a decision based on the answers they provide.
For example, you can ask all of the lawyers you sit down with to provide you with some information about their education, how long they have been practicing, how much of their practice involves personal injury claims, and if they have worked on cases similar to yours in the past. Whoever can provide the best answers to these questions will likely be the best candidate available.
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Should You Choose a Big Firm or a Small Firm?
Some people are not sure about whether they should work with a large law firm or a smaller one. The truth is, the size of a firm does not have a significant impact on how well it can handle cases. It is a common misconception that larger law firms are more intimidating to large organizations, like insurance companies, but this is usually untrue.
In fact, larger law firms may be less effective at times because smaller, individual cases sometimes go overlooked. Of course, the tradeoff here is that smaller law firms may have less access to expert witnesses and other resources that can make it easier to win a settlement.
Insurance companies could also see that a large law firm may not have the time to put additional care into smaller personal injury claims. This could lead them to make a low settlement offer knowing that the large firm cares less about recovering maximum compensation in each individual claim. This backfires on the insurance company at times, but that does not mean they will not make the attempt.
Realistically, you should focus more on the lawyer who is representing you rather than the size of the law firm. A good lawyer is a good lawyer, regardless of how large their firm is. If you can trust them to consider your interests before making decisions on the claim, you should choose their firm to represent you. Just make sure that important parts of the claim are not being handled by a paralegal because you want expert eyes on critical aspects of your case whenever possible.
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Now that you know how to choose a personal injury lawyer, you can put these steps into action. Consider adding Gatti, Keltner, Bievenu & Montesi PLC to the lineup of law firms you plan to sit down with. We have more than four decades of practicing law, so you can trust us to put your needs first when we file your claim.
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