People often hear about personal injury lawsuits and think they would like to win a big settlement. What they do not realize is what the system is all about. Nearly 80% of the population think personal injury law advertisements are there to encourage people to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit, even when there is no merit to their case. The case breakdown for federal civil personal injury lawsuits is as follows; nearly 20% of cases come from motor vehicle accidents, 13% of cases are from product liability issues and 10% are the result of medical malpractice. The first thing you should do if you have been injured is find a personal injury lawyer. You will need to compile a legal team to help with your case.
- What exactly do you need? You want a legal team that can help you with your specific case but what happened? Were you in a car accident? Were you hurt by medical professionals? Did you buy a defective product? You need to find a personal injury lawyer who specializes in the kind of case you will be filing. Like doctors, lawyers specialize. The great medical malpractice lawyer may not be so great when it comes to product liability cases. Know the kind of lawyer you need before you start interviewing legal teams.
- Talk to more than one lawyer. You do not want to go with the first lawyer you meet. Law firms all offer a first consultation for free. Take advantage of this and go to a few law practices and bring with you all of your questions and bring up all of your concerns when you meet with them. These consultations are a normal part of their business so do not feel you have to rush or feel bad when you tell some firms you are going with someone else. Make sure you ask:
- How long have you been practicing this kind of law?
- What professional associations do they belong to?
- What kind of settlements have they gotten? Nearly 98% of all personal injury cases are decided without going to trial so you need good negotiators on your legal team?
- Who would be working on your case? You need to know who exactly will be on your legal team. You need to know who will be available to answer your questions when you have them? Will it be a legal assistant? An attorney?
- What percentage of their practice is made up of cases like yours?
- Are there any current or past clients you can talk to?
- Do they have testimonials?
- Find a law firm that you feel good about. You need to feel that your legal team has your best interests at heart. You need to have a decent connection with the personal injury attorney who will be handling your case. You are going to have to share a lot of very personal information with this person and the entire legal team. If you do not feel you can do that with one law firm, you need to go to another one. If you cannot share your information, you will put your legal team at a disadvantage and you do yourself no favors. You want to help them get you the best settlement possible and to do that, they need to know about all of your pain and suffering.
- Make sure you understand and agree to the billing schedule. Every law firm handles this in their own way. Many law firms will not charge you anything unless you win your case. That is not always the only cost, however, there can be costs involved in working on your case. Make sure you are completely clear on what you will be charged by the law firm. You do not want any unpleasant surprises to pop up when your case is over. That can be avoided by being clear from the get-go about what will you will be charged.
Despite the fact that many people see personal injury lawyers and medical malpractice attorneys as being unscrupulous, they are there to protect individuals from companies and others who do not take the safety of the public seriously.