When someone is injured or killed because of the negligence or reckless actions of another person or party, they will most likely need to hire a lawyer to help ensure that they receive just compensation. But hiring a personal injury lawyer is not a decision that should be made hastily. Not all attorneys are the same, and with so much at stake, it is very important to take some time to consider which attorney you want to work with.
Before we discuss what to look for in a personal injury attorney, here is some advice on what to avoid. Beware of direct solicitations from lawyers or representatives for lawyers. They will sometimes pose as “investigators” and show up uninvited to your home or hospital room after an accident.
In Alabama, these types of solicitations are against the law unless you already know the lawyer, have been represented by them in the past, or you have a family member or close personal friend who knows the lawyer. Other than these exceptions, this type of conduct is illegal, unethical, and the lawyer they are soliciting for is most likely unqualified to handle your case.
You should also be very skeptical of lawyers who have billboards all over town and run numerous ads on the radio, TV, and in the newspaper. These are usually firms that work on high volume and put very little time into each case. Cases are usually handled by an inexperienced associate in the firm, and their goal is to settle quickly and move on to the next case. A firm like this almost never takes a case to trial, and if things get complicated, they will often bail out or hand the case over to another firm.
Top 5 Considerations when Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Now that we have covered what to watch out for and avoid, here are some of the things you should look for in a personal injury attorney:
It is great if the lawyer that has extensive personal injury experience, but it needs to go deeper than that. Personal injury is a very complex area of the law, and it can encompass all types of injuries; from auto accidents to medical malpractice to workplace injuries to Social Security disability claims. For this reason, it is best to work with a lawyer who focuses exclusively on this area of practice. A lawyer with this level of experience will have dealt with numerous scenarios and most likely will have handled some of the more complicated cases. This will help provide the confidence and assurance that they can handle your claim as well.
Commitment and Resources
We talked previously about “settlement mills” – firms that work on a high volume and never take a case to trial. The lawyer you choose should not only have experience practicing personal injury law, they should also have the in-depth experience, ability, and willingness to take your injury claim to trial. The other side needs to know that you are ready and able to pursue litigation if necessary. Otherwise, they will have very little motivation to give you a fair settlement offer. Along these same lines, your lawyer should also have the resources to call on top specialists to serve as expert witnesses (when they are needed) to help substantiate your claim.
Communication, Personalized Attention and Care
Your lawyer should be a trusted confidant who provides strong legal guidance and moral support to help get you through a difficult time. Choose a lawyer or firm that will work closely with you throughout the process, communicate with you frequently, and treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve.
When it is all said and done, what matters more than anything else is whether or not you will be able to recover the full and fair compensation you need and deserve (for your injuries). As such, your lawyer should have a successful track record with other cases like yours, and they should be highly regarded by the top reputable and impartial legal rating services. Bottom line: look for a lawyer who has proven to get results for other clients who have already been in your situation.
Your Gut Feeling
There are a lot of factors to weigh when deciding who you want to represent you in your personal injury claim. If you are still considering a handful of good candidates and you are having a hard time making a decision, you will ultimately have to go with your gut feeling. How did you feel about the lawyer after talking to them? Did their answers to your questions make sense? Who do you think you would feel most comfortable working with? These and similar questions will help you decide which lawyer you want to work with.
Speak with our Skilled Personal Injury Lawyers in Birmingham, AL
If you or someone close to you has suffered a personal injury in Alabama through no fault of your own, we at Burge & Burge welcome the opportunity to earn your trust. Call us today at 205-251-9000 or message us through our web contact form to schedule a free consultation. You may also stop by our Birmingham office in person at your convenience, or we will come to you.