Personal injury cases are frequent occurrences in the United States. These are cases that involve civil wrongs or damages — physical or emotional — caused by another person or organization’s negligence. Examples of personal injury cases include ones involving slips and falls in places with hazardous materials, animal attacks, car and motorcycle accidents, defective products, burn injuries, wrongful death, and medical malpractice.
If you recently sustained physical and/or psychological harm due to an accident (car accident, slip-and-fall, dog bite, etc.), you may be experiencing emotions such as frustration, anxiety and trauma. You may have several questions regarding what steps to take following your accident, including how to file a claim, what information and documents you should compile and submit, and what type of legal representation to hire. In these types of cases, you should enlist the help of a personal injury attorney.
8 Things To Look For When Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
Although each personal injury case is unique due to the specific cause of the accident and the circumstances under which it occurred, all reputable attorneys who specialize in this legal area — known as tort law — share certain qualities. If you believe you have a viable personal injury claim against someone, it’s important to know what to look for in a personal injury attorney. Here are five things to look for when hiring a personal injury attorney.
Knowledge Of The Law, Specifically Of Their Specialty
Personal injury lawyers are highly knowledgeable about tort law and typically specialize in a specific type of accident or injury. For instance, an attorney who litigates medical malpractice cases could have a specialty in brain surgeries or breach births. One who regularly handles car accidents may have in-depth knowledge of ATV rollover incidents.
A competent personal injury lawyer should also stay up to date on legal precedent and statutory changes and be able to give you a clear explanation of how the law applies to your case given the facts and evidence.
Attorney With A Focused Practice
The first characteristic you should consider when seeking a personal injury attorney is whether an attorney specializes in tort law or whether they handle a wide variety of cases. A focused practice is generally a good sign that your attorney will be able to fully concentrate on your case.
Understanding Of Medical Concepts
Although not all personal injury attorneys specialize in medically-related cases like malpractice, they should have at least some basic familiarity with jargon related to different types of injuries. They may not be qualified to give you proper medical advice, but they can inform you about things like an injury’s prognosis, diagnostic criteria, and estimated cost, for example. Some attorneys could even refer you to reputable healthcare providers.
Medical knowledge becomes especially vital if you need to go to trial and your lawyer needs to cross-examine any witnesses.
Experience Handling Personal Injury Cases
You will benefit most from hiring an attorney who has experience taking cases to trial. Many attorneys who do not have trial experience instinctively try to reach a quick settlement and don’t consider other options. Insurance companies can often distinguish between both types of attorneys. Therefore, be sure to choose your representation carefully. If your attorney has extensive experience handling your specific type of personal injury case, this is also generally a sign that you are in capable hands.
A personal injury attorney doesn’t necessarily need a lifetime’s worth of expertise to be the perfect fit for your case. However, he/she should be able to prove they have successfully litigated other cases that are similar to your own before taking you on as a client.
Proven Track Record
Most victims of personal injury accidents consider just compensation their main priority. One of the best ways of ensuring this is by hiring an attorney who has a proven track record of helping clients receive full compensation. An experienced attorney should also be able to deliver a settlement or a full and fair trial verdict. The higher the number of successful cases as well as the wider the variety in the types of cases that an attorney has handled, the better.
Strong Trial And Negotiation Skills
A good personal injury attorney should also have strong courtroom and negotiation skills in the event that your case does go to trial. How a lawyer prepares before said a trial is also an indication of their competence. He/she should be transparent in his/her communication with you and know how to create a compelling story about you that will elicit empathy from a judge and/or jury and persuade them to rule in your favor.
Ultimately, a good personal injury attorney should have an easy way of getting in touch with him/her, have mostly positive online reviews, and always have your best interests in mind. He/she will first and foremost seek justice and not simply a paycheck.
Represents Personal Injury Victims
Most personal injury cases must be investigated thoroughly and require extensive preparation. Therefore, you should select an attorney who will allocate the resources necessary to hire medical professionals and accident reconstruction experts. If your attorney hires a team of assistants to help with your case, this is a good sign.
Takes Cases On Contingency Fees
A contingency fee agreement entails that your attorney will only get paid if you receive just compensation for your injuries. The riskier your case is, the higher the contingency fee percentage your attorney will typically request. This percentage typically falls somewhere between 25% and 40%. In a contingency hourly agreement, your attorney will maintain a log of the number of hours worked and you will thus pay your attorney based on an hourly rate.
Also, keep in mind that should you win your case, you will likely need to pay certain litigation costs, such as court and filing fees and costs associated with obtaining evidence, such as. receiving copies of medical records and other important documents.
Ultimately, you should choose a personal injury attorney who will devote ample time and resources to your case. It may also be a good idea to seek referrals from other attorneys and satisfied clients who can attest to your attorney’s competence.
Dedication To Your Case
A proper personal injury attorney will treat your pain and suffering with an appropriate level of seriousness and will be genuinely committed to helping you gain proper compensation, both physical and financial. One major indication of dedication is how they react when obstacles in your case occur, like when a witness becomes unreliable or the defendant’s legal team is unwilling to consider reasonable settlement offers. Additionally, a proper lawyer should not pressure you into taking courses of action you are uncomfortable with.
Often, the best lawyers are the ones who are sincere with their clients and won’t sugarcoat anything. A competent personal injury lawyer will clearly explain all the pros and cons of your case and how to address the latter. Good attorneys may also be unafraid, to be honest about how certain actions or behaviors can affect your case and should be able to tell you if you have a realistic chance of winning your case if it goes to trial. Honesty is an important factor in terms of knowing what to look for in a personal injury attorney.
Speak To The Personal Injury Attorneys At Parnall & Adams Law
Reach out to the experienced attorneys at Parnall & Adams Law in Albuquerque for more information on how to deal with your personal injury case. As career civil litigators and prior federal prosecutors, we understand that each case is unique and therefore, every person’s needs and priorities are different.
At Parnall & Adams, we are highly knowledgeable about New Mexico’s laws and have extensive experience dealing with several types of personal injury cases, including car and truck accidents, birth injuries, medical malpractice, dog bites, and construction site injuries. We can help you recover many types of damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of household services, and punitive damages.
We can also guide you through the complexities of the legal system and represent you in court if necessary. Call Parnall & Adams Law today at (505) 886-4446 or contact us online to learn more about our services or to request a consultation.