When you decide to file a personal injury claim, it helps to hire an attorney to represent your interests and advocate on your behalf. Your choice of attorney matters. The attorney you choose can fundamentally change the way your case unfolds and, ultimately, affect how much money you are awarded for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Here are four things to look for when hiring a personal injury lawyer. Keep these things in mind as you interview potential attorneys and decide who to trust with your important injury case.
Their Ability to Secure Favorable Results for Their Clients
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to help you fight for compensation for injuries suffered in a fall or a high-speed car accident, you want to feel confident that they have the skills required to secure a favorable outcome on your behalf.
The best way to figure out whether potential lawyers have what it takes to achieve the outcomes you need is to ask them about their recent personal injury cases.
You can begin your research by reviewing the cases they settled over the past few years. How long does it take them to come to an agreement with the defendant’s insurance company? Do they generally get their clients as much money as they deserve?
If, after doing your research, you are confident in their ability to negotiate a settlement deal, you can next look into their trial experience. How often does the lawyer take their clients’ injury and accident cases to court? And how frequently do they achieve favorable verdicts?
By reviewing this information, you should quickly begin to figure out if you want to hire them to handle your case.
The Areas of the Law with Which They Are Most Familiar
When seeking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer, it is vital to know how familiar they are with your type of case. Have they worked on several lawsuits that are similar to yours? Or would this be their first time?
This information is essential because the knowledge and skills required to handle each type of personal injury case are unique:
- Medical Malpractice Cases: Attorneys who handle malpractice cases must know about a broad range of medical practices and procedures.
- Workplace Accidents: Lawyers who represent people who suffer on-the-job injuries have to be familiar with Florida’s workers’ compensation laws.
- Car and Truck Accidents: Personal injury attorneys who represent Miami residents after auto accidents need to have a thorough understanding of the rules of the road.
- Aviation Accidents: When Floridians suffer injuries on airplanes, they need the help of a lawyer who is familiar with state and federal aviation guidelines.
- Slip and Fall Accidents: Attorneys who fight for people who get injured in slip and fall accidents must know Florida’s premises liability laws.
The best way to find out which areas of the law your prospective personal injury lawyers are most familiar with is to schedule a free consultation and ask them. If they have not worked on cases like yours in the past, you can and should consider alternative legal representation.
Their Billing Practices
Before you hire a lawyer to help you fight for compensation after a bicycle accident or animal attack, it is always a good idea to ask them about their billing practices. Doing so could save you a lot of money and heartache in the months to come.
The vast majority of personal injury law firms in the state of Florida run on a contingency fee basis. This billing practice means that you will not need to pay them any money before they begin working on your case. They get their legal fees as a percentage of your eventual compensatory award.
Most lawyers in Miami will take a one-third cut of your payout as payment for their services. However, it is not at all uncommon for law firms to claim anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of their client’s awards. The easiest way to find out how much your future attorney charges is to ask them.
Their Preferred Means of Communication
During the course of your personal injury suit, you will need to speak with your attorney on a regular basis. They will have to give you updates about your case – and you will have to provide them with information about your recovery and rehabilitation.
Because of this need to stay in touch, you would be wise to find out which methods of communication your attorney prefers to use. Some may like to text or email their clients. Others may have a preference for phone calls or in-person meetings.
It is generally a good idea to work with a personal injury attorney that will speak to you via a means of communication that is convenient for you. So, if you prefer to chat on the phone, you should try to find a lawyer that can accommodate your needs.
Should you hire an attorney who will not communicate in a way that works for you, it is almost inevitable that you will become frustrated with them in a relatively short time.
When Should You Begin Searching for a Personal Injury Attorney?
At Lavent Law, PA, we usually advise Florida residents who get hurt in car crashes and animal attacks to find a lawyer and file suit against the liable person or entity as quickly as possible. We do so because we understand that the sooner victims take action, the easier it is to gather evidence and locate defendants.
If you do not have the mental bandwidth or physical capacity to file suit in the days or weeks after your accident, you should not worry. Section 95.11 of the Florida Statutes says that the statute of limitations for just about all personal injury claims in the Sunshine State is four years.
This rule means that you can usually sue the party that caused your injury at any time before the fourth anniversary of your accident. The state may even extend your statute of limitations if:
- You did not discover your injury until some time after your accident
- The defendant chose to leave Florida and go to another state
- You were a minor when you sustained your injury
To find out exactly how long you have left to file a personal injury claim in the state of Florida, all you need to do is contact an experienced attorney. They will study your case and let you know when you must start the legal process.
Start Your Search for a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer at Lavent Law, PA
Now that you have a thorough understanding of the four things to look for when hiring a personal injury lawyer, you may be wondering where to find a legal professional that fits the bill. Fortunately, you won’t have to search very hard to find one. The attorneys at Lavent Law, PA, have the skills and knowledge you seek – and we are never more than a phone call away.