Did you know that in 2016, unintentional injuries led to 29.2 million emergency room visits in the US?
Vehicle crashes alone cause millions of injuries each year. In fact, in 2017, these accidents resulted in 4.6 million medically-consulted injuries.
Although “accidental”, many of these injuries result from other people’s negligence.
If you’ve been in an accident that you weren’t at-fault for, you have every right to receive compensation. A personal injury attorney can ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.
Ready to learn how to find a personal injury lawyer who you can trust and rely on? Then let’s dive right into it!
Start with a Lawyer You Already Know
At some point, you may have worked with a lawyer for another type of legal matter. This may be a business lawyer, an estate planning lawyer, or a family attorney. While you shouldn’t hire them for your personal injury case, you should ask them for referrals.
Lawyers often refer cases to one another, especially those they don’t specialize in. If you have a lawyer you already trust, don’t hesitate to ask them for advice. They may know a personal injury attorney who has handled many cases similar to yours.
Seek Recommendations from Family, Friends, or Colleagues You Trust
In 2018, there were 57,702 civil filings of personal injury cases in the US. This shows a 23% increase in civil filings from the year before.
With so many personal injury cases filed each year, it’s likely that you know someone who has filed one. If they live in the same state as you, then you should consider asking them for advice. Especially if their personal injury lawyer gave them desirable results.
Keep in mind that personal injury laws widely vary from state to state. Many states also have different filing deadlines or the “statute of limitations”.
In Tennessee, for instance, the deadline for filing personal injury claims is one year. In North Dakota, however, the statute of limitations is up to six years. In many other states, the deadline ranges from two to four years.
Either way, failure to meet this deadline can result in your claim becoming invalid.
This is why you should limit your list to lawyers who practice in your state. This way, you can choose a lawyer who has a complete understanding of your state’s personal injury laws.
Get in Touch With Your Local Bar Association
Many local bar associations offer referral services for people who need lawyers. They’ll ask you for a few details, such as the type of lawyer you’re looking for. They will then search their database of lawyers permitted to practice in your state.
If possible, ask for at least three names of personal injury lawyers in your state. This is even more important if you can’t get any recommendations from people you trust.
If you already have a few prospects, confirm their licensure with the bar association. They will even let you know if those lawyers are in good standing with the bar.
Stick to a Lawyer Who Has Mostly Represented Claimants
There are two main “types” of attorneys who practice personal injury law. Those who represent defendants (the “accused”) and those who represent claimants (the victims). Some personal injury attorneys choose to represent both.
It’s not a good idea to hire a lawyer whose primary clients are defendants (or insurers). Even if they’re experienced, they may be too “used” to representing defendants. This may then result in a conflict of interest, and you may end up not getting your desired results.
That said, it’s best that you hire a personal injury lawyer whose clients are mostly claimants. These lawyers have a better understanding of what victims go through and feel. That’s why lawyers who mostly serve claimants are more “protective” of their clients.
Look for a Lawyer Who Has Handled Cases Similar to Yours
Road accidents are the leading cause of personal injuries. However, personal injuries can also occur due to medical mistakes. In fact, over a third of physicians have faced a personal injury lawsuit.
Premises liability cases are also common personal injury lawsuits. Slips, trips, and falls are among the main reasons for these claims. Falls alone lead to 8 million ER visits each year.
Animal bites are also grounds for personal injury lawsuits. Dog bites, for instance, happen to an estimated 4.7 million people each year. 800,000 of these bites are serious enough to require medical attention.
Manufacturers also face personal injury lawsuits due to defective products. In 2018 alone, the insurers of these companies incurred $1.3 billion in liability losses. That’s on top of the $861 million they spent towards settlement costs.
As you can see, personal injury is very broad and complex, which is why lawyers don’t take all cases. Many of them specialize in car accidents, while others focus on medical errors.
That said, you should look for a personal injury lawyer who specializes in the kind of case you have. At the very least, hire one who has handled several injury cases that are similar to yours. The more experience they have in similar cases, the better they will be able to handle your case.
Of course, you should also make sure that their previous cases led to desirable outcomes. Ask if they were able to settle out of court and how much the settlement was. Don’t forget to ask about the cases that they brought to court.
Use This Guide on How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Now
There you have it, your ultimate guide on how to find a personal injury lawyer best suited for your case. While you should retain a lawyer ASAP, you should still take the time to look into each of your prospects. Again, these attorneys don’t take all types of cases, and those who do might not “specialize” in the type of case you have.
That’s why it’s important to explore your legal options as soon as you suffer from a personal injury. This way, you’ll have more time to make a more educated decision on who to choose to protect your rights as a victim.
Ready for more legal how-to guides like this? Then don’t forget to check the rest of our posts filed under the “Legal Guides” section!