What to look for in a personal injury attorney
With approximately 95 percent of car accidents in the U.S. resulting from driver error, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorists often experience injury through no fault of their own. And despite vehicles becoming more crash resistant, 4 percent more drivers were hurt in traffic incidents in 2015 than the previous year, totaling 1.6 million overall.
As anyone injured in a car accident knows, hospital bills can add up quickly, and even with auto insurance coverage in place, you often wind up paying out of pocket. With the right injury attorney, you may be entitled to compensation. But with practicing personal injury lawyers in the U.S. totaling more than 129,500, according to IBISWorld, how do you know which one is best?
The following tips can help you separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak:
Experience, experience, experience
Everyone has to start somewhere, but the longer an accident attorney has been in practice, the better they tend to be. If you’re at a potential accident attorney’s website, or are meeting them in person, be sure to ask plenty of questions pertaining to their bona fides, such as how often they’ve been practicing, where they went to law school and what their primary focus is in terms of casework. It will likely be medical malpractice, auto accidents or product liability – perhaps all three – if tort law is their main bailiwick.
Check for qualifications
Just as you wouldn’t want any ordinary individual performing surgery or assessing your physical well-being, the same goes for litigation. Your attorney should be licensed to practice law by the state he or she resides in. Information is usually available online at your state’s official website. Additionally, legal counsel will ideally come highly recommended from word of mouth and maintain a track record indicating the outcome of previous cases involving car accidents and whether they went to court or were settled.
You’ll want to ensure your personal injury attorney is certified by a respected legal organization or affiliation.
Even though lawsuits are less common as they used to be, according to The Wall Street Journal, you may have friends who’ve hired an attorney to represent them after a car accident injury. Inquire with trusted relatives, neighbors, co-workers and colleagues about your situation and whether they pursued legal action if they too were involved in a crash that wasn’t their fault. The internet has various lawyer directories as well that can help you find the right fit as well, like Avvo, FindLaw and Nolo, among others.
Be skeptical of lofty promises
The best attorneys don’t guarantee a certain outcome to your case, but rather the assurance that a successful resolution will be pursued to the fullest extent possible. Indeed, veteran lawyers note that you shouldn’t just walk away when lawyers promise a win without knowing the details first, you should run away! No two cases are alike, and a good attorney will assess the situation and provide his or her professional opinion on what the best options are before moving forward.
Inquire about payment method
As with all hired professionals, you’re paying not them only for their experience, but also their time. There’s no universal rule for how personal injury attorneys are paid, but generally speaking, the initial consultation is usually free. They may also base what they’re paid on the result of the case, typically a certain percentage of the winnings. Some don’t require any payment should the case be lost, but be sure to read the fine print in these instances.
There’s only one constant when it comes to car accident claims: they’re expensive, especially when the courts get involved. Global Financial provides cash advances so both you and your represented counsel can build a case that is both solid and compelling. But even if you don’t win, no repayment is necessary, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.