Millions of people are injured each year in accidents or situations that were not their fault. They sustain physical injuries, financial losses, and emotional trauma. Sadly, many of these injuries were avoidable had it not been for someone else’s careless or negligent acts.
If you sustained a personal injury in South Florida, you might be entitled to compensation for your damages. Compensation for a personal injury claim can include money for your medical care, physical pain, loss of income, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, disabilities, and other damages.
The first step is to choose the best attorney for your case. Working with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney can give you a better chance of a positive outcome in your case. This guide to hiring a personal injury lawyer provides information and suggestions that you might find helpful as you search for a personal injury lawyer.
Choosing a Lawyer Who Handles Your Type of Case
When choosing a personal injury lawyer you want to limit your search to lawyers who handle the same type of case as your injury case. Some lawyers practice many different types of law, such as personal injury, family law, and estate law.
However, some law firms and attorneys limit their practice to representing accident victims and their families. They are generally strong and experienced legal advocates for the rights of accident victims. Because they limit their practice to personal injury cases, they also have developed substantial knowledge, skills, and resources related to personal injury law.
Personal injury law encompasses a wide variety of injury claims. Cases may involve injuries related to car accidents, nursing home abuse, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, or countless other situations that can cause injuries.
It is important that you look for an attorney who handles your specific type of personal injury claim. For example, if your case involves a defective product or medical malpractice, you need to choose a lawyer with substantial experience handling those types of cases.
You can usually find a list of the types of cases an attorney handles on the law firm’s website. It is also acceptable and wise to ask the attorney directly during your first meeting how much experience the attorney has handling cases similar to your case.
Verify the Attorney is Licensed to Practice Law
Before scheduling a consultation with an attorney, you should check to ensure that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in Florida and is in good standing with the Florida Bar Association.
The Bar has a “Find a Lawyer” feature on its website. You can use that feature to search for the attorney. The results provide you with the attorney’s bar number, mailing address, and contact information.
You can also see when the attorney was admitted to practice in Florida, where he graduated from law school, and a 10-year discipline history.
Meet With the Attorney for a Consultation
Contact the office to schedule a consultation with the lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, so it does not cost you anything to meet with them to discuss your case.
The free consultation is an opportunity for you and the lawyer to get to know each other. It is also a time for the lawyer to learn about your injury claim and for you to learn about your legal rights.
Important factors to keep in mind to rate the attorney after your consultation include:
- Were you able to communicate effectively with the lawyer?
- Did the lawyer listen to you and address each of your questions or concerns?
- Could you be open and honest about all matters?
- Do you feel as if you can trust the attorney?
- Did the attorney seem impatient and rushed, or did he appear calm and unhurried as he answered your questions?
- Do you believe you were treated with respect and compassion?
It is vital that you have a good working relationship with your personal injury lawyer. The success of your case depends on your ability to communicate with your lawyer. If you felt uncomfortable in any way, you may want to continue your search for a personal injury lawyer.
Prepare a List of Questions for Your Consultation
In addition to getting to know the lawyer, your consultation is also a chance to obtain legal advice. The more information and details you can provide the lawyer, the better advice you can receive.
Therefore, prepare for your consultation by writing down any questions you might want to ask the lawyer. The questions may relate to your case, the attorney’s experience handling cases similar to your case, the attorney’s track record, and any other important subjects.
An important question to ask a lawyer is will the lawyer be supervising your case directly. It is good that a law firm has sufficient staff to work on cases. However, when you hire a lawyer, you want to know that the lawyer is handling your case instead of your case being passed off to an associate or paralegal.
Make sure that you bring copies of accident reports, medical records, insurance claims, and other documents and information that can help the lawyer understand what happened to you.
Discuss the Attorneys’ Fees With the Lawyer
Many personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. What that means for you is that you can hire an attorney without paying any attorneys’ fees upfront. You only pay the attorneys’ fees after the attorney recovers compensation for your personal injury claim.
The fee is based on a percentage of the recovery in your case. Make sure you clarify whether the percentage changes if the case goes to court.
Also, you need to discuss who pays for the costs. Lawyers handle costs in different ways. Many lawyers pay the costs as the case progresses and obtain reimbursement from the settlement proceeds.
Ensure that you discuss who is responsible for the costs if the attorney does not recover any money for your claim. Do not sign a retainer agreement until you are clear on all terms regarding fees and costs.
Take Time to Think About Your Decision
Avoid making decisions about hiring an attorney while sitting in the office. Take a day or two to consider what you learned during the consultation. If you trust the lawyer and feel confident in your decision, contact the law firm to set up an appointment to retain the lawyer.
During this time, you might want to research the attorney online. Read the information on the lawyer’s website and reviews from peers or previous clients. If you discover any issues or have questions, call the lawyer to clear up those matters before you meet to sign the retainer agreement.
Call Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
We want to hear about what happened to you because we want to help. Our Florida personal injury lawyers are passionate about helping injured victims seek the compensation they deserve for their damages and injuries. Each person on our staff is a dedicated legal professional who has one goal – protecting your best interests.
Contact our law firm now to request additional information and set up your free case review with an injury lawyer.