choosing the best personal injury lawyer for you
To find out whether a lawyer is right for you, sit down with the lawyer to discuss your claim and possible ways of handling it. If possible bring copies of the police report, medical records, information on income loss and any correspondence with insurance companies. There is generally no charge for this initial consultation but be sure this is the case with the attorney you are meeting with. You should not have to pay a lawyer unless he can do you some good and you should not have to pay to find out if he can.
The following information should be useful in your decision making:
How long has the firm been in business?
Our firm was started in 1977.
What percentage of the lawyer’s practice comes from
personal injury cases?
About 95% of all our cases are personal injury.
What percentage of the time do they represent the plaintiffs (the injured party) and what portion of their time do they represent the defendant (most often insurance companies)?
If they represent the insurance companies a lot they may think too closely to how the insurance company thinks and may not fight as hard for your claim. Our firm does not represent insurance companies and never will.
Will there be more than one attorney working on your case and what will their role be?
We will have a second attorney review your case to insure that nothing is missed. They will play a support role and you will always be in touch with your lead attorney.
If after you have talked to the attorney about your case and the questions above, and if you feel confident with their ideas and comfortable with your communications, then there is a good chance you have found a lawyer you can work with.
Put us to the test, give us a call and see if we meet your needs.
What is my personal injury case worth?
This is probably the most often asked question in a personal injury case. The truth of the matter is that while an attorney may be able to give you general ballpark figure early on, it is nothing more than an educated guess. The reason an attorney can’t be specific early in the case is that the attorney needs to know a lot more about a case than the basics. Below is a list of many, but not all, of the factors that go into developing how much a case is worth.
Some of the factors include:
- Did the plaintiff have a preexisting injury?
- Did the plaintiff suffer an independent injury after the first injury?
- Were there any permanent injuries?
How severe are the injuries?
Was there any scarring or permanent disfigurement?
Can it be proven that the other party (defendant) was negligent (at fault)?
Was the plaintiff partially at fault?
Does the defendant have adequate insurance coverage or assets of their own to collect in the event of a favorable jury verdict?
How much are the plaintiff’s medical bills, lost wages, and out of pocket expenses?
How much will future lost wages be?
Could the credibility of the plaintiff be an issue?
There are many other factors that will also go into determining what a fair settlement will be.
If the plaintiff’s attorney and the insurance company for the defendant cannot reach a settlement that the plaintiff agrees to, then the case will ultimately go to trial and a jury will decide.
While the above example deals with a car accident, it is similar for other types of negligence, such as motorcycle accidents, defective products, dog bites, etc.
One factor is clear: Insurance companies are not stupid. They make a lot of money. They are able many times to convince the inexperienced plaintiff how little a case is worth, compared to its real value. The unsuspecting party may only get pennies on the dollar, if they don’t know the real value of their case. Most times, an experienced personal injury attorney will obtain an amount that, even after deducting their fee, will result in a larger settlement than if they had tried to represent themselves
what to do after a car accident
Stop and Notify Police. The law requires that you stop at the scene.
If people are injured call for an ambulance (911 will get both police and ambulance).
Do not attempt to treat an injured person unless you have first aid training.
Do not try to move an injured person unless it is a life threatening situation.
Exchange your name, address, insurance company name and ID number with the other driver.
Get the name and badge number of the investigating officer.
Other than the exchange of required information have no discussion with the other driver.
Tell the police officer your version of the accident.
Get the names, phone number and addresses of any witnesses.
Get your injuries cared for immediately. Tell the examining doctor every complaint and injury, no matter how minor. A serious internal injury may not show immediately.
Notify your insurance company.