There’s been an accident. You’re injured. Once your safe, you need a personal injury lawyer to help you handle the aftermath. How do you go about looking for one? How do you know when you’ve found the right personal injury attorney in Florida? These tips for hiring a personal injury lawyer empower you with the knowledge to do it right.
How to Search Online
Don’t just look for basic information online. You can find more than names and numbers. Those are a good place to start, but alone they don’t tell you much. Check an attorney’s bar status with the state bar. Learn if they have had disciplinary actions taken against them in the past. These are quick to check into and let you know if there are red flags you should know.
Lawyers and law firms are also reviewed online. Look at their client reviews to see if past clients have been happy with their performance.
Word of Mouth
If others have had similar experiences, ask them which personal injury attorney in Florida they chose and why. Did they have a good experience with them? Was their case resolved successfully?
For workplace injuries, ask others on the job, in trade associations, or unions who they might recommend. Those who faced similar injuries have a great deal of knowledge about who will come through for you on workers comp claims.
There may be a good lawyer who just doesn’t have experience with your type of case. This makes them the wrong choice for you. Above all else, you want someone who’s handled your type of case before. You need to know they’ve dealt with it successfully and gotten others in your situation the financial compensation you’re due.
Of all the tips for hiring a personal injury lawyer, this is the most important. Don’t hire someone sight unseen. Don’t hire them if all you know about them is their website, or from talking with them on the phone for five minutes. These are major warning signs.
Talk with someone face to face. Have them look over the details of your case. Ask them the questions you need to know. Have them make an assessment about how they’d handle your case. Ask them what steps they’d take. These questions should inform you about their knowledge of the law, and their confidence in what you need to do going forward. More than anything else, though, this will let you know how well they’ll listen to you and work with you.
Will They Handle the Case?
Ask if the person you talk to will be the one handling the case. They may not be. If this is the situation, then ask to speak to the attorney who will be handling your case. This should be a requirement on your part before you hire a firm.
While they work extremely hard and are key to supporting your case in different ways, a paralegal, intake specialist, or administrative assistant won’t be the one who’s ultimately making decisions about your strategy or settlement negotiations. It’s your future and you need to talk to the person who will be fighting for it – even if just for a few minutes.
Talk Fees Before Signing
Talk with a prospective attorney about fees before signing anything. Fee agreements should always be supplied in writing. You should always get a copy. Everything about the fees you pay should be transparent. If you’re confused about a fee, they shouldn’t rush you out the door. They should take the time to work through it with you until you understand it.
Personal injury lawyers typically work on what’s called contingency. This means that the bulk of their fee will be decided by the settlement or judgment they can get for you. The usual rate is a third of the settlement or judgment amount. The only additional fee should be office expenses – and the range that runs should be clear to you when you agree to work together.
Ask About Negatives
Ask an attorney if they’ve been suspended or otherwise disciplined. They should be upfront with you. This information is public, so you can check if they’re telling the truth. Any attorney who lies to you about a suspension or major disciplinary action taken against them is not someone you can trust. It’s too big a red flag for you to overcome.
Do not make decisions based on TV commercials or the radio. These just give you a sales pitch; they don’t actually provide you with any information.
If they seem unsure about strategy, then they’re unsure about strategy. It’s one thing to tell a client that there are two possible paths that are both legitimate, and to provide information about the strengths of each. A lawyer who’s unsure is someone who doesn’t know what those strengths are, and who can’t communicate that information to you. Ultimately, strategy decisions are yours to make, but your personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach will advise you and give you recommendations. Any attorney who isn’t sure of their own advice cannot do this when it counts.
If they promise you an immediate resolution to your case, this is a warning sign. Some cases are settled quickly. Others are unexpectedly drawn out. Many defendants will attempt to draw out a case to create leverage for themselves in a settlement. They may give you a range of times the case is most likely to take, but if they guarantee you it will be resolved immediately, then they’re not being realistic with you.
Once again, ensure every fee agreement is in writing. There are attorneys out there who make their money off of getting desperate people to sign bad contracts. They’re not representative of personal injury lawyers who do their job well and fight for people. Copying you on any fee agreement is an extremely basic requirement that any reputable law firm should be equipped to meet.
To find the right personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach, contact the LaBovick Law Group. Our experienced legal team will fight fiercely on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.