The idea of hiring a personal injury lawyer may seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before.
After all, there are plenty of unscrupulous lawyers out there who don’t care about anything but your money, and you certainly don’t want to hire one of those!
But with the right information, hiring a personal injury lawyer can be simple, quick, and painless. Here are some things to know before you hire one.
Way to find the right personal injury lawyer
When you need to find a lawyer for a personal injury claim, you can’t just run out and hire one. These types of cases are very complicated, with lots of different parties involved.
Before you hire a personal injury lawyer in the USA, take some time to understand your options so that you can make an informed decision.
There are many questions you should ask yourself before moving forward with hiring any sort of attorney.
Here are some things that will help guide your search and ensure that your rights are protected as best as possible.
When do you need a personal injury lawyer?
If you have been injured in an accident and you believe that another party was at fault, you may want to contact a personal injury lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer can help answer questions about your rights and options. This type of lawyer deals with cases involving individuals who were harmed by someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness.
Most often, these cases involve car accidents, medical malpractice, or slip-and-fall injuries. There are many things to consider before hiring a personal injury lawyer.
How should you communicate with your injury lawyer?
There are a few ways you can communicate with your injury lawyer—and for each, there are pros and cons.
Some lawyers prefer phone calls; others prefer e-mail. You get a good read on your client’s reaction and tone of voice and it doesn’t take much time at all.
Plus, it’s harder to miss or ignore an urgent call than an e-mail. If you have questions after leaving a message, though, then pick up your phone again; many people find it easier to ask clarifying questions over the phone than in writing via e-mail.
Why choose an attorney with experience?
When you’re going through a personal injury claim, your health and financial security are at stake. That’s why it makes sense to choose an attorney with plenty of experience; someone who understands how hard it is for people with serious injuries to get back on their feet.
An experienced lawyer will also know how important it is to bring all evidence of negligence or recklessness forward.
And he or she will be sure that you and your medical team are working together toward a common goal. That kind of expertise makes a huge difference in success rates—and outcomes, period.
Do lawyers work for free?
If you’re in a car accident and hurt, you should hire a lawyer. However, many people believe that lawyers work for free and pay out of pocket for a personal injury attorney’s services.
This is not at all true. Your attorney will get paid in one of two ways: By collecting a percentage of your eventual winnings or by charging an hourly fee.
In some cases, you may have to pay an upfront retainer fee—that way, your lawyer can put in time and effort while they wait for your case to settle.
The exact amount will vary depending on which state you live in and what kind of case it is (medical malpractice vs., say), but keep these things in mind when hiring someone from their law firm.
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Depending on where you live, hiring a personal injury lawyer might set you back as much as $200 per hour.
But that doesn’t mean that working with one is prohibitively expensive—depending on your situation, there are ways to make it work. Many lawyers offer discounted rates for those who can’t afford full-price fees.
If your case involves a large settlement, or if you are in danger of losing income due to an inability to work while your case is being processed, they might even offer their services at no cost.
Should you hire a medical professional instead of a lawyer?
No matter what type of personal injury you’re involved in, it’s important to have a professional advocate on your side.
But it might not be immediately clear which professional you should hire. While some people go straight for a lawyer after suffering an injury, hiring a medical doctor may also be a good option.
If you decide that hiring a medical doctor is right for you, there are some things that you need to know before finalizing your decision.
Here are three things about working with doctors in personal injury cases that will help make your choice easier
Are lawyers guaranteed to win?
While there is no such thing as a guaranteed win, a good lawyer has your best interests in mind and will take whatever steps are necessary.
There’s an old saying that says it’s not personal, it’s just business. In many ways, hiring a personal injury lawyer is exactly that.
If your injuries were sustained in a car accident, on-the-job accident, or anything else where someone may be at fault (or liable), then by all means consult with an attorney before proceeding any further.
Attorneys are negotiation experts, so they can help ensure you get every last dollar and right you deserve.
Is there such thing as a contingency fee agreement when hiring a personal injury lawyer?
Before hiring a personal injury lawyer, it’s crucial to make sure you understand exactly what contingency fee agreements are, and whether your lawyer is offering them.
In general, a contingency fee agreement means that instead of paying upfront for legal services—as you might in a retainer or billable-hour situation—you pay only if your lawyer wins compensation for you.
Usually, that compensation is some percentage of an award (for example 30% or 40%). If your case ends with no recovery—whether because it was dismissed or because your claim was denied—you don’t owe anything.
Understand how contingency fees work before hiring a personal injury lawyer.
When can you make your own decisions without consulting your injury lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers are there for you every step of your legal journey. But when can you make your own decisions without consulting them?
It depends on what type of case you have. For example, if you have a car accident case and need surgery, it’s a good idea to consult with your lawyer before having surgery.
On the other hand, if you’re suing someone and they make an offer to settle out of court, there’s no need to consult with your lawyer because it’s ultimately up to you whether or not to accept a settlement agreement.
If something seems off or doesn’t feel right about a situation or offer, that should be enough evidence that consulting with your injury lawyer is in order.
They’ll help walk through everything while making sure nothing fishy is going on.