5 Things You Should Consider Before Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Following a serious injury, it can be difficult to know what to do. Even if you think that someone else is to blame–and perhaps have brought a claim for damages against their insurer–you may have questions about how much your case is worth, what your rights are regarding accepting or rejecting a settlement, whether or not litigation is something you need to think about, and more. If you’re considering hiring an attorney, here are five things to think about first.
- Whether or Not You Need an Attorney
First, decide whether or not you really need an attorney. There are three main things that you should think about to make this decision:
Severity of injuries. If you have suffered really severe and serious injuries, such as injuries that will cause long-term or permanent disability, disfigurement, or scarring, you probably want to work with an attorney.
Degree of damages. If you have suffered a variety of damages types, such as medical bills, property damages costs, lost wages, psychological harm, etc., then working with an attorney can be very advantageous. If you haven’t really suffered much in terms of financial loss, you may be able to navigate the process solo.
Fault. Whether there are disputes about fault or other complexities to a claim, working with an attorney can be useful, as an attorney will know how to best prove your case.
- The Attorney’s Location
If you have decided that you do indeed need an attorney, then the next things to think about pertains to how to choose the right attorney for your case. One thing that may be important is the attorney’s location. Because an attorney will need to travel to your accident site, meet with the doctor treating you, consult experts, and, of course, meet with you on a regular basis, choosing an attorney that is located in your same town or county is important. What’s more, an attorney who works in the county where your case is being filed will likely be familiar with the various insurance adjusters, other attorneys, and judges who work in that county, which may offer key insights about how to best strategize for your case.
- Education and Experience
Of course, you want to choose an attorney whose education and experience align with the type of personal injury claim that you’re pursuing and, in most cases, the more experience the better. For example, if you have been bitten by a dog, you probably should not select an attorney who focuses almost exclusively on car accident cases.
- Cost and Fee Structure
One hurdle to seeking legal counsel can be cost–at least, that’s what many injury victims believe. While it is important to watch out for lawyers who want to charge you hourly fees or who request a retainer fee for a personal injury case, you should know that most personal injury lawyers will work on a contingent-fee basis. This means that the attorney’s fee is contingent on your success–if you don’t get a settlement, your attorney won’t either. A good personal injury attorney will also never ask for any upfront fees and will always offer a free case consultation. If you speak with an attorney who isn’t offering free consultations or who doesn’t work on a contingent-fee basis, run!
- Reputation and Results
Once you have narrowed down the logistics of choosing an attorney based on their practice area and experience, cost and fee structure, and location, the last things that you want to consider are the attorney’s results and their reputation. Most attorneys will be happy to provide you with some information about how much they have recovered for their clients and what cases similar to yours they have worked on. You can learn about an attorney’s reputation by using an attorney review site to research the attorney, checking the attorney’s site for any client testimonials, and using the Alabama State Bar’s website to look up an attorney and see whether or not they have had any complaints filed against them.
Call Smith & McGhee, P.C. Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured in Alabama and your injuries are serious or your claim is complex, our experienced Alabama personal injury attorneys at the law office of Smith & McGhee, P.C. want to help you. We have a reputation of excellence and are a trusted name in our community. We work on a wide range of personal injury cases, and have the results to prove our efficacy and dedication. To learn more about our personal injury lawyers and how we can help you, please call us at (334) 702-1744 today or send us a message telling us more about your case and your injuries. We know how devastating a serious personal injury is and we are committed to doing everything we can to maximize your settlement amount.