Personal injury law is an area of the law that deals with injuries sustained by people due to negligence. This includes accidents caused by car crashes, slip and falls, and other types of personal injuries.
Personal injury claims can be complicated because they involve many different parties. There are insurance companies involved, doctors, lawyers, and more.
As a result, choosing a personal injury attorney can be difficult. You may not know where to start looking and you may make mistakes along the way. This article will discuss some mistakes in choosing a personal injury lawyer you should avoid.
1. Not Hiring A Lawyer In The First Place
Many people think that if their injuries are minor, then they don’t need a lawyer. However, this is not always true. You could still make costly mistakes involving your medical bills and other expenses if you don’t hire a lawyer.
If your injuries are severe or you have lost income as a result of the accident, it is best to consult a lawyer.
2. Not Doing Your Homework First
This is probably the biggest mistake people make when hiring a personal injury lawyer. There are plenty of bad lawyers out there, but there are also plenty of good ones too. So how do you know which is which?
The answer is simple: ask around. Ask friends, family members, colleagues, and anyone else you know. They may have had experience with a particular lawyer, and can tell you whether they were satisfied with the results. Look at reviews online and discover the basic steps of a personal injury case for added insight.
Just do not forget to investigate his or her background thoroughly. You need to make sure that they have no prior criminal convictions. In addition, you should look into their disciplinary records. This will give you a good idea of how honest and trustworthy they are.
3. Hiring The First Person Who Offers You Money
It sounds like common sense but many people hire the first person who offers them money. It is not wise to choose someone based solely on monetary incentives, especially when they are just promised. Some unscrupulous lawyers will take advantage of injured victims and charge them exorbitant rates. Others will simply disappear after taking your money.
To help prevent mistakes in choosing a personal injury lawyer, you should always look for a reputable personal injury lawyer who has a proven track record. Do not hesitate to ask for references from previous clients. Also, try to find a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. This way, you know he or she has extensive knowledge about the field and will not be simply using you.
4. Focusing On The Wrong Things
When you are looking for a personal injury lawyer, you want to focus on finding someone who knows what they are doing. But you shouldn’t just settle for any lawyer. You should ensure that they are qualified and experienced enough to handle your case.
For example, you should look for a lawyer who has handled similar cases before. This will allow him or her to understand what you are going through and advise you accordingly.
5. Not Knowing What To Expect When Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is important to understand what to expect from a personal injury lawyer before hiring him or her. Some lawyers charge hourly rates while others bill their clients per case. Some lawyers only accept certain types of cases while others specialize in specific areas such as car accidents.
Before you make any decisions, you should research all these aspects so that you don’t end up with a bad experience.
6. Paying Them Up Front
If you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer, do not hand over your entire life savings right away. Instead, there are many attorneys that will charge you a percentage of your final settlement. If you do not receive payment for your injuries, you may only be required to pay minimal expenses the attorney incurred while working on your case, such as fees for obtaining medical records.
7. Not Expanding Your Options
Personal injury claims come in all shapes and sizes. For example, some involve car accidents while others concern slip-and-fall incidents. If you are unsure what type of accident you are dealing with, it is important to consult with a professional immediately.
You should also always have a plan B when choosing a personal injury lawyer. This means that you should have another option in mind if your first choice turns out to be unsuitable.
Additionally, you should also consider carefully all options before even deciding whether or not to sue. For example, you may want to try mediation instead of going through litigation. Mediation involves two sides talking to each other. Both sides agree to settle out of court.
8. Not knowing what to ask
You should know exactly what questions to ask a potential attorney. Here are some things you should ask:
How much does the lawyer charge?
What types of cases does the lawyer handle?
Have you handled a case like this in the past?
Can I talk to the attorney if I have questions during the process?
You should not be afraid to ask these questions. In fact, you should find out everything you need to know about a particular lawyer before making any decision.
9. Failing to Discuss a Timeline
When you choose a personal injury lawyer, you should immediately discuss a timeline for your case. An attorney that tells you they can quickly put cash in your hand, is probably being untruthful. You want a lawyer that will be honest with you, and set appropriate expectations for your case. While they may not be able to give you an exact timeline, they will be able to estimate a range, so you are aware of the time needed to appropriately handle your case upfront.
10. Going To An Unlicensed Attorney
Unfortunately, there are unlicensed attorneys out there who claim to be able to help you. However, these individuals lack the necessary qualifications to represent you in court.
It is illegal for anyone other than a licensed attorney to practice law in most states. Therefore, you should avoid hiring an unlicensed individual. The consequences could be severe.
It's important to know that choosing a personal injury lawyer is a big decision.
The right lawyer can make all the difference between getting a fair settlement and having to go through the entire process again. Make sure you do your research and pick someone who has experience handling similar cases before you hire them.
Do not rush the process. Call Oxner + Permar, pllc at 1.800.319.9000 to speak confidentially with a personal injury attorney today.