Most lawyers who specialize or limit their practice to personal injury law will either represent injured people or defend against personal injury lawsuits but usually don’t do both. If you’ve been injured in an accident you probably want to hire what is called a “plaintiff’s lawyer”.
It is almost a foregone conclusion that at some point you will be involved in some sort of an accident. It is not that anyone wishes to be one; that is why they are called “accidents”. Should you be involved in an accident due to the negligence of some other party, you will need to enter into a process of looking for a good, aggressive and experienced accident lawyer to ensure that you get maximum compensation. Very different results can occur based on your choice of attorney; therefore when choosing an accident attorney you will want to spend some time researching who will be the best representative for your car accident or other type of accident claim.
A good injury attorney will help you in dealing with the insurance companies involved who are notorious for their efforts in stifling the efforts of victims looking for compensation from them. There are a lot of legal issues and procedures to be followed before one’s claim is settled most of which are unknown to an untrained victim; and this is why you are advised to hire the services of an attorney. Trying to do these things by yourself will not only take a long time but may result in mistakes which will diminish your ability to recover. An attorney who understands the law and legal procedures involved will be able to guide you through this difficult process and if necessary represent you in court to argue your case. Many claims involve technical issues and little details that if overlooked may lead to the case being dismissed or thrown out of court. While there are many stories (probably mostly put out by the insurance industry), that talk about greedy lawyers, the vast majority of plaintiffs lawyers are professional and honest. The quality of the lawyer that you seek may be in direct proportion to how much money you may end up receiving. You will want to be certain you choose an attorney with experience and the one that appreciates exactly what you are facing. The attorney will be your confidante and fight for your rights.
Clearly in the selection process you should check out your potential attorney’s references and history. You of course will see television ads and likely receive mailers. However, the best source of starting your search for an accident lawyer is through your family, friends and associates. If you know someone who has been in accident you may talk to them about their attorney. Certainly if you know a lawyer who is not experienced with personal injury you can check your potential lawyer’s qualifications. The same is true if you have a friend who is a judge or insurance adjuster. Checking on the Internet may be a good idea once you have identified an attorney within your geographical area. There will be many listings to look through. You can check the lawyer’s website; and if he or she appeals to you, you should make an appointment to meet the person face to face. For example our firm is listed at www.lawyers.com/Indiana/Indianapolis/William-Bill-Hurst-980965-a.html; this is a good source to review because it is on the Martindale Hubbell site which is a nationally known rating organization for lawyers of every specialty. Another internet source would be www.bestlawyers.com/lawyers/William_W_Hurst/default.aspx which is an organization that lists lawyers’ state-by-state who are the top in their fields. The method of selecting them is by asking lawyers who they would hire in the event that they were involved in a personal injury accident. You may see our attorney listing and Bill Hurst’s by going to this website.
It is also good to know if the accident lawyer belongs to the State’s Trial Lawyer Association and is active therein. Involvement in this organization shows a commitment to promoting fair and effective justice. Another consideration of course is cost. You want to know if your potential lawyer charges contingency fee, (which most accident lawyers do). This means that you do not have to pay the lawyer up front; rather the attorney receives a percentage of the award or settlement (usually 1/3rd) as compensation for his or her work. That means that the lawyer has to be successful to be paid for his or her services. You also need to determine how additional costs of litigation would be calculated and repaid particularly in the event of a bad outcome.
Once you’ve gathered all of this information about your potential accident attorneys you will be able to select the attorney who has the most experience in handling the type of claim that you have, the best trial experience and often the best character.
You should not necessarily cross an attorney off your list because he or she did not have time to meet with you immediately. Good personal injury lawyers are busy, so they may not be able to spend as much time as they would like with prospective clients. However, you should always expect to be treated courteously and professionally by the staff and the lawyer. www.lawyers.com.
Finally, you might want to consider if you have any special needs. For example, could you benefit from an attorney who speaks a language other than English? In our office we have attorneys who speak Spanish.
At Mitchell Hurst Dick & McNelis, LLC we recommend that you check in the community, family, friends, attorneys, judges and insurance adjustors regarding our reputation for representing persons injured in accidents.