If you’re hurt in an accident, the consequences can be devastating. In addition to the mental and physical trauma of your injury, you will likely end up saddled with medical bills, which is no minor problem in a country where medical bills can be staggeringly high and difficult to deal with. You may find yourself unable to work in the same way that you could before the accident, which could disrupt your income or even derail your career. And there are many other related ways in which a serious injury could hurt you, your loved ones, your finances, and your future.
If the accident that caused all of this trauma was caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s deeply unfair that you should be left holding the bag. When terrible things happen as a result of someone’s negligence, then that person should be the one who is held responsible. That’s precisely what personal injury law is designed to do. Life isn’t fair, but our laws try to at least give victims a chance to hold negligent parties accountable.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is not something you’d do on your own, of course. If you want justice, you’ll need the right personal injury lawyers. Here’s why your choice matters and how to make it.
Why you need to choose carefully
Not all lawyers are the same. A lot of personal injury attorneys are out there, but the wrong one could mess up your chances of getting the justice you deserve. There’s virtually no way for you to get a second shot at this, so make sure that you get an attorney who will help you succeed the first time.
Why are lawyers different? For starters, of course, some are simply better at their jobs; they know the laws better, argue more passionately, and are better at negotiating favorable settlements. Other factors are less obvious. Say you get an out-of-town lawyer, for instance. He or she may be good, but local lawyers build meaningful relationships not just with clients, but with judges, other attorneys, and expert witnesses. That could really come in handy if you end up in court. Finally, you want to make sure that you’re being treated right by your attorney. Attorneys aren’t all about the money, but some bad ones will treat you like a case file instead of a person. You want a lawyer with a personal touch who always keeps you in the loop, explains a reputable personal injury lawyer in Orange County, California.
How to pick an attorney
You’ve seen plenty of ads for personal injury attorneys on TV and on billboards. But which lawyer should you call?
A good place to start is with your own friends and family. Word of mouth is a valuable thing: It can’t be bought, and it’s hard to fake. When your family members or friends say that they or someone they trust had a great experience and got a great result with lawyer A, that’s a good sign. When they say that lawyer B is a jerk and a crook, that may be hyperbole, but it’s also a good indication that you may want to say away from lawyer B.
Of course, you should consult with the experts, too. That means calling your local bar association and, depending on the nature of your case, your insurance company. Do they have recommendations? They might.
You should also use online search engines to check out attorneys. And research them in newspapers.
Make sure your lawyer is within your price range, too. Many personal injury attorneys will only bill you if you win, but this may exclude some fees and expenses, and it’s important to know what things cost. Call to find out, or ask at your initial consultation.
Finally, you should remember that your initial consultation does not lock you in with an attorney. Talk about your case and your options, and try to get a sense of how much you’d like working with this attorney. Hopefully, you’ll have a great experience; but if you think that you’ve made the wrong choice, just tell the attorney so and make another initial consultation with someone else.