15 Things to Know When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Florida
You’ve been physically injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence and want compensation. What is your next step? Your best bet is to hire a personal injury attorney. However, there are plenty of questions surrounding hiring the services of an attorney. You want to make sure you’re making the right decision and are not wasting your time and money. Here are some things to consider when looking for a personal injury attorney to help you make the right decision for yourself and your case.
15 Things to Know When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Florida
Recovering from an injury is hard enough in itself, but finding a personal injury attorney shouldn’t be. These 15 things to know about hiring a personal injury attorney will help make sure you find the best representation possible when taking your claims to court.
1. What is a Personal Injury Attorney?
A personal injury attorney specializes in handling cases from inceptions through appeals and performs most of the litigation. They investigate the claims, gather evidence, and research case laws. They also interview witnesses to provide evidence for your claim and draft pleadings, motions, and other requests. Though their work contributes significantly to trial preparation, they also advocate for their clients before and throughout the trial.
Your personal injury attorney acts as an advocate for their clients and is supposed to aid them through any obstacles in the legal process and counseling.
2. What Cases Will A Personal Injury Attorney Handle?
An accident attorney handles claims for compensation resulting from accidents to bring the due benefits to victims. A personal injury attorney may be a “jack of all trades” or specialize in a narrow field. Most bring their diligence to work with victims of accidents such as:
Depending on your case, finding a personal injury attorney who specializes in similar claims such as yours would be a good place to start finding the best personal injury lawyer representation for you.
3. What Do I Need to Know Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you are deciding to hire a personal injury lawyer, you must make sure you are selecting a lawyer who is an expert in your claim’s practice area. For instance, if you are seeking compensation for a slip and fall accident, you want to find a personal injury lawyer who has the skill and experience in slip and fall cases to help you prove negligence.
Besides having familiarity with accident claims like yours, an experienced personal injury attorney should also do the following for you:
- Evaluate your case and take the time to listen and answer your questions
- Offer legal advice regarding your case up-front
- Aid you in receiving proper medical treatment
- Offer a contingency fee in which you pay nothing until they recover money for you
- Visit you at your house or hospital for consultation
- Does not facilitate pressure on you to hire them
You also need to make sure that you can trust your personal injury attorney to be punctual and return your phone calls, answer your questions, and demonstrate that they care about defending you and your rights.
4. Do I Need to Hire an Attorney or Can I Represent Myself in Court?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer means you are also hiring an advocate for your case. The lawyer should fight for you so that you receive the compensation you deserve. If you consider handling your personal case yourself, please know that you should exercise caution. Insurance companies, unlike personal injury lawyers, are not on your side and will not put your best interests first. Insurance companies want to settle for as little money as possible.
Though you can technically pursue your case without the aid of a personal injury attorney, doing so may endanger your personal rights and you will likely receive less money than you deserve.
Additionally, many personal injury claims fail due to poor preparation on the victim’s behalf. If you wait too long to file or visit a medical professional for documentation related to your injury, you may sacrifice part or even all of your compensation.
5. Are Legal Consultations Free?
Not all lawyer consultations are free, so seek out free consultations whenever they are available! Often, accident victims are hesitant toward hiring a personal injury attorney, as they are wary of the commitments and financial risks that come with getting representation. Like anything else, there are no 100% guarantees as to an injury case’s success, or the compatibility between your unique situation and an attorney’s experience, and education.
It’s because of this, however, that many injury attorneys offer free legal consultations for every individual case. During these meetings, attorneys will evaluate your case, and determine whether it has strong legal potential. You can find out first-hand not only how well your case stands, but also the quality of service you can expect from your attorney.
6. How Do I Choose a Good Personal Injury Lawyer?
Deciding on the right representation for your personal injury claim can be a challenge in itself. However, finding the best personal injury lawyer for your claim does not have to be difficult. There are some lawyer traits to look out for that indicate an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney apart from a poor choice.
Positive traits to keep an eye out for include:
- Attentiveness and genuine concern for your needs
- Positive communication skills
- Experience with cases similar to yours
Negative traits to consider:
- Poor patience
- Professional complaint records
- Limited flexibility with your needs as clients
Initial consultations and interviews are a great way to gauge how much of the best fit an accident attorney is for your case. It’s important to press for questions about who would work on your claim and how long they think the case would take to settle.
7. What are the Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Hundreds of claims fail every year by Americans who either wait too long to file or visit a medical professional to receive documentation verifying their injuries. Claims are time-sensitive; waiting too long to file or receive proof can result in less compensation if any at all.
A personal injury lawyer handles your information and case so that they make sure it is punctual and contains all the necessary information. Lawyers also have the knowledge and experience from working with claims cases to improve your case in court and handle insurance companies correctly to bring you compensation.
Additionally, a personal injury lawyer is supposed to be your advocate, defending your rights during a likely difficult time in your life. Dealing with the complexities of the court system and insurance companies when you’re recovering from injuries can be an ordeal that can be avoided by relying on your personal injury lawyer. They are there to help you so that you don’t have to stand up for your case alone.
8. When Should I Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer?
Claims are time-sensitive, so the longer you wait to file, the less likely you will receive the compensation you want. Even though you may be dazed by your accident, hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as you can after the incident occurs should be a priority. The sooner you pursue a claim, the better your chances are of receiving compensation. Just like receiving immediate medical help following an accident, seeking out legal help should be immediate as well.
9. Should I Choose a Local Accident Attorney?
Choosing to hire a local personal injury attorney is important to your case. Though locality may not seem that essential compared to other details when choosing an attorney, a local attorney who knows the ins and outs of injury claims in your area can be a greater asset than an out-of-area attorney. An attorney well-versed in the area will have the experience that an out-of-state attorney will not. Plus, a local lawyer may be willing to make a home or hospital visit if your or your loved ones’ injury keeps you from coming into their office.
10. Can I Interview Attorneys?
Yes! During free consultations, or in regular conversation with your personal injury attorney, it can be incredibly helpful to have a pre-prepared list of questions and interview tools on hand. By knowing what to ask your potential representative during meetings, you can better judge how well they will likely handle your case, informing your decisions to hire or not. Consider asking potential injury attorneys:
- How do their unique legal experiences tie in with your needs
- How payment and compensation are arranged
- The length of their typical cases
- If they have ever been suspended from practice, or disciplined (this can be checked later on through state bar associations)
- Their honest thoughts on your case’s strength
- Who will be working on your case
- How your case will be handled, and the legal process
11. Should I Read Up On Attorney Backgrounds?
Naturally, when hiring a personal injury attorney to represent your case in court, you’ll want to look in-depth into their backgrounds, experience, and professional education. State bar associations will usually keep a record of attorney complaints, as well as proceedings, in a full database.
Look into your potential attorney’s educational background, in addition to how well their past representation experience aligns with your specific needs. If an attorney you are speaking with has extensive prior experience with motorcycle accidents, and your case concerns a work-related falling injury, perhaps you should seek out a more fitting representative. The more relatable background experience an attorney will have with cases similar to yours, the better your unique case will be handled; it’s as simple as that.
12. What is a Good Payment Agreement?
As you might expect, a little attention to detail can go a long way when it comes to hiring the right personal injury attorney. Carefully read every word of any legal contracts or agreements made between yourself and your attorney, binding or not, and meticulously scan the “fine print.”
While most attorneys will not try to cheat you into an unfair agreement, there can be small details that inevitably hurt your case, even when handled with positive intent. If you are unsure about a part of your legal contracts or confused by unfamiliar terminology, ask your attorney for clarification, and move on from there.
Additionally, be sure to find a personal injury attorney who receives payment based on contingency; in these agreements, they take a portion of your compensation, and not a penny until then. They only get paid if you do which makes them more invested in the outcome of your case.
13. Should I Use Reliable Contacts?
Oftentimes, accident victims miss out on professional injury attorney contacts hiding right under their noses: their friends, family, and professional associates. Not only are these contacts readily available to you, but they will inherently have your best interests at heart, only giving recommendations for injury attorneys they feel will properly represent you.
So, be sure to always look within your personal and professional network for advice. If a coworker has had experience with a personal injury attorney, ask them to rate their representation, and put a value on the service they received.
14. Can You Fire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You reserve the right to fire your personal injury lawyer at any time you feel fit. There can be several factors as to why you would want to consider firing your lawyer. They may show a lack of attention to your case and are not being the advocate you need them to be. That’s why it’s important to find a lawyer that will give you the representation that you desire and the reassurance you need at this time in your life.
15. Is Lowman Law Firm Right for Me?
If you or a loved one are looking for professional legal representation regarding your injury claim, the hometown legal team at Lowman Law Firm can help. Our personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the complex challenges of the legal system to ensure your rights are protected. We serve all of Florida, with offices in Citrus County, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, and Pasco County. Not able to come to us? We’ll come to you! We offer free home and hospital consultations. And, there’s never a fee until you win your case.