When you been seriously injured in Ohio, recovering fair compensation may be critical to your recovery. You’ll be relying on your personal injury attorney to guide you through what may be one of the most difficult times of your life, fighting for the compensation you deserve while recovering from your injuries and rebuilding your life. Clearly, it’s important that you choose the right personal injury attorney for you and your case.
Unfortunately, many people in need of a personal injury attorney have never worked with a lawyer before and don’t know what to look for in an attorney. The search can be overwhelming, particularly during an already-stressful time. Too often, that means people in need of real help default to hiring the firm with the most billboards or an attorney a friend or family member happens to know.
It’s possible that the lawyer whose face you see on the way home from work every day or the one a friend plays golf with will be a good fit for you. But choosing an attorney that you will be comfortable working with and can trust to have the knowledge and experience to properly guide you through the process, confident that he or she has your best interests at heart, requires much more careful consideration.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney
Every injury victim will have specific preferences and concerns. The questions below are just a starting point to help you gather important information about the attorney you are considering entrusting with your personal injury case.
What experience does the attorney have with personal injury cases?
If you’ve suffered a serious injury, it is generally in your best interest to work within attorney who has specific experience with personal injury claims. The attorney who handled your real estate closing or your sister’s DUI case may have done a great job, but that doesn’t mean that he or she has the specific knowledge and experience to skillfully handle a personal injury case. When the funds you need to ensure quality medical care and rebuild your life are on the line, you don’t want your attorney learning on the job.
How much experience does the attorney have with cases like yours?
Just as a criminal defense attorney or generalist with limited experience in the personal injury arena may not be the best choice for any personal injury case, a personal injury attorney whose experience has been concentrated in a different sector of personal injury law may also not be the right selection for you.
For example, an attorney with extensive experience in car accident cases may seem like the perfect choice for a commercial trucking accident case. However, commercial trucking accident cases differ from the typical motor vehicle accident days in several ways. For instance, commercial trucking cases often implicate federal regulations, such as hours-in-service limits, that not all personal injury attorneys are familiar with. Similarly, these cases may involve complex liability determinations, since commercial truckers are often independent contractors and it may be unclear whether the driver, the contracting company, the client company, or the truck’s manufacturer (or some combination thereof) is legally responsible for the accident.
Choosing an attorney experienced with your particular case type helps to ensure that important issues aren’t overlooked, and that the attorney is prepared for the tactics insurance companies and their attorneys typically resort to in similar cases.
How many personal injury cases has the attorney taken to trial?
For most attorneys, this number will be a fairly small percentage of cases he or she has handled because it is often in the client’s best interest to settle a case. However, it is critical that your attorney is ready, willing, and able to take your case to trial if that approach is in your best interest. Some law firms take on a large volume of personal injury cases with the intention of settling as many cases as possible as quickly as possible.
Not only does that approach limit the injured person’s options, but insurance companies and their attorneys often know which lawyers will and won’t take cases to trial, and may have less incentive to offer a fair settlement if they know the injured party’s lawyer won’t fight them in court.
Make sure your personal injury attorney is ready to do whatever is best for you and your claim, whether that means negotiating a favorable settlement or trying your case to a jury.
How comfortable are you talking with the attorney?
You’ll want to ask the questions above of the attorney or research that information through the law firm’s website, online reviews, and other sources. But this question – how comfortable you feel when talking with the attorney – is one that only you can answer…and the answer is critical.
As your personal injury case proceeds, you’ll have to be open with your attorney in providing complete and accurate information. You’ll have to rely on their advice and counsel. You’ll have to be comfortable asking questions and letting the attorney know if you don’t understand the information that’s been provided to you.
Use your initial consultation with an attorney not just to learn more about their background and get a general assessment of your case, but to test the potential for a good working relationship. Pay attention to whether the attorney seems to be listening to your concerns and understands your circumstances. Choose an advocate who has your best interests at heart.
Make the Most of Your Free Consultation
Understandably, many injury victims are nervous and unsure of what to expect during the initial consultation with a personal injury attorney. Too often, that means they leave the office without all the information they came for and without even having considered whether the attorney is a good fit.
To make the most of your free consultation, organize your thoughts in advance and bring a list of any specific questions you have, including the ones above.
The experienced personal injury attorneys of Plevin & Gallucci are always ready to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation. Contact us today.