A personal injury lawyer is an attorney who provides legal representation to individuals who claim to have suffered, either physically or emotionally, as a consequence of another human being, organization, government agency, or some entity deemed to be liable for the injury. Personal injury lawyers primarily practice in the field of criminal law, focusing their attention on cases arising out of accidents, malpractice, and other incidents that may render another person helpless. It may be hard to distinguish yourself among the various personal injury lawyers, but it’s not all that difficult if you take the time to study the different areas of your potential attorney’s practice. Your overview of personal injury lawyers should begin with an overview of the state in which he practices.
Each state establishes its own rules for filing personal injury claims. Most injury lawyers will advise clients to contact their state’s attorney general’s office to file a claim. This referral is often given out free of charge, so many clients tend to follow this recommendation. Once you’ve received this referral, you’ll want to determine whether the lawyer has experience in handling cases that fall within your specified area of expertise. If you need to, speak directly to the attorney about your case; some lawyers will limit the discussion of their practice to a one-on-one interview or at least the initial assessment of your case.
If you decide to work with a particular injury lawyer, you’ll likely want to inquire about his or her level of involvement in the injury claim process. In the vast majority of injury cases, attorneys are paid on a contingency basis; this means that they receive a percentage of any settlement money following a successful claim. You can ask about the percentage of your settlement when discussing payment arrangements.
Once you’ve decided whether or not to work with a particular attorney, you may want to further assess their track record. Personal injury attorneys will typically have a portfolio of past cases that they can discuss. You can also request information about these cases from the bar association in your state, which should provide details about any disciplinary action against the lawyer.
One important aspect of finding an attorney to represent you is how much they’ll charge. While there are no national standards for lawyers, you should find a lawyer who charges reasonable fees. Be aware of attorneys who charge “horse loads” for services that may not be necessary. Lawyers who work exclusively with large malpractice insurance companies are particularly known for overcharging clients. Always investigate the charges in relation to the services that are rendered.
Another important aspect to consider is whether or not the attorney will work on a contingency fee basis. (The terms of this agreement will vary from state to state.) Contingent fees occur when the lawyer agrees not to pursue certain legal avenues in exchange for a percentage of any monetary award. If you have suffered an injury, you may wish to explore this type of arrangement with the assistance of an injury lawyer. This way, you won’t have to spend money upfront but will only have to pay if you win your case. Attorneys who work on a contingent fee basis will have significantly more experience in this field.
After you’ve decided what the best option for your situation may be, it’s time to start contacting potential attorneys and seeing what they have to offer. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. The last thing you want is to work with an attorney who doesn’t know your situation well enough to effectively represent you. It’s also important to make sure the attorney has handled cases similar to yours in the past. If the attorney has represented a personal injury case in the past, you’ll know he/she knows how to deal with the challenges you face.
You may also want to discuss fees before making a hire. In many states, attorneys are paid on a contingency fee basis. This means that if the case isn’t won you don’t have to pay them anything. This can be a great alternative to the hourly fee or even hourly fee per hour rates some attorneys charge. When you’re talking to a personal injury attorney, be sure to get all the facts and don’t hesitate to ask for a complete listing of fees.