Anyone who’s entitled to claim compensation for physical, psychological, or emotional injury is in a very stressful, very vulnerable situation. With mounting medical bills and possible loss of wages following an accident, the thought of navigating a complex legal case might seem completely overwhelming.
Hiring an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury lawyer relieves the stress of building a legal case, meaning you can focus on recovery. But with so many lawyers, attorneys, solicitors, and legal practitioners in Kansas and Missouri, it can be difficult to know who to turn to.
So, to prepare for making such a big decision, let’s look at how to hire a personal injury lawyer.
What is personal injury law?
Before you start looking for a lawyer or attorney, it’s important to understand precisely what personal injury law involves.
As a form of civil rather than criminal law, personal injury claims seek financial compensation for suffering caused by the negligence of a person or organization. The goal of the lawsuit is to obtain financial compensation for medical expenses, lost income, distress, physical injury, and legal fees.
Examples of incidents that come under personal injury law include automobile accidents, falls in public spaces, or workplace injuries. Essentially any accident that wasn’t your fault is reason enough to talk to a personal injury lawyer.
What does a personal injury lawyer do?
Your personal injury lawyer will provide legal advice and representation in your lawsuit. They make sure you receive the counseling, rehabilitation, and payouts you deserve.
In your first meeting with a personal injury lawyer, you’ll start by discussing the details of your accident, and how likely you are to win your case. Most offer a free no-obligation consultation, so you don’t need to worry about the cost.
If your claim is viable, your lawyer or attorney will gather evidence for your claims. This involves looking through police reports, witness statements, and medical documentation. They’ll use this to prepare your case for the civil court.
Throughout your claims process, your lawyer will support you with counseling and guidance, and protect you from insurance companies and the legal system.
Why hire a personal injury lawyer?
While you might feel your role as a victim is unmistakable, insurance companies and the legal system might not see it that way. Succeeding in your personal injury claim isn’t easy if you’re not familiar with the applicable laws, and your insurer will certainly have an attorney to argue against your case.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you enjoy peace of mind knowing that your best interests are in the hands of a trusted legal expert. They provide an objective viewpoint on whether or not you can win in court, and understand the kinds of risk factors that might take you by surprise.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer saves you significant time and money, and gives you the best possible chance to succeed.
How to hire a personal injury lawyer
The actual process of hiring a personal injury lawyer is simple. You visit their office, discuss your situation, and leave them to handle your case for you. It’s highly unlikely you’ll even need to step into a courtroom.
Instead, you need to make sure you’ve chosen the right lawyer before you sign on the dotted line. To do that, there are a few things you should take into account.
1) Find an expert in your type of case
Not all personal injury lawyers are intimately familiar with every type of case. Some specialize in road traffic accidents. Others in workplace negligence. So, it’s recommended to find a legal representative who’s an expert in the type of incident that led to your claim.
There are several simple ways to do this:
- Visit their website, and look through their main areas of practice.
- Read their reviews, and search for examples similar to your case.
- Call their office, and ask them directly about their experience.
Finding a niche expert makes your claim process significantly easier, and helps you reach a faster payout.
2) Don’t dismiss smaller legal firms
Making any kind of claim is a serious financial matter, so it can be tempting to look for the biggest, most expensive firm money can buy. But that’s not necessarily the path to a smooth and lucrative case.
Often, large firms charge the highest prices not because of their unbeatable legal skill, but because they have the best marketing budget. Their public image will have already earned them a lot of cases, so your file would probably receive significantly less personal care and attention.
Without an intimate knowledge of you and your case, it’s also unlikely that they’ll take time to keep you updated. That means you might be left completely in the dark.
Instead, look for firms that offer a reasonable balance between experience, price, and caseload. This will ensure you get the best possible service, and resolve your claim with a decent amount of money.
3) Choose a legitimate, licensed lawyer
In almost every state, including Kansas and Missouri, a person needs to graduate law school to become a lawyer. But what sets the best lawyers apart is what they choose to do afterwards.
Before you arrange a consultation, take a look at a lawyer’s accreditations, recognitions, and affiliations. If they’re putting time into developing their skills and joining professional associations after earning their license, it shows they’re committed to their job. Remember to check the minimum requirements for inclusion in the organizations they’re a part of to gauge the value of their membership with regard to your case.
4) Ask yourself if you feel confident and comfortable around your lawyer
A good personal injury lawyer has your best interests at heart. Your initial consultation is an excellent time to judge whether or not the person you’re speaking to is likely to provide the support you need.
Try to find a lawyer who you feel is a good listener, and is responsive to your needs. This shows they’re taking a genuine interest in your claim, and are already thinking about what they can do to get you your compensation. They should be assertive, but in a way that makes you feel empowered rather than intimidated.
Another indication of a receptive lawyer is their policy on communication. Ask them how they plan to update you on your case, and note whether they offer a cell phone number for easy contact.
An unlikeable or difficult lawyer probably won’t be much help in the courtroom. So, if you feel confident and comfortable around yours, it’s a good sign they’ll be truly committed to your case.
5) Make sure you fully understand the services they offer
Even if you won’t personally be representing your lawsuit, it’s important to understand how your personal injury lawyer operates. If they try to cloak their services in jargon and confusing terms, take a moment to consider what they don’t want you to tell you.
Before you attend your consultation, prepare some questions about how the lawyer will approach your case. This is also a great opportunity to ask about their methods and negotiation history, and to clear up any obligations you’ll be subject to when you agree to your contract.
One of the most pressing matters to discuss here is their payment terms. Many firms operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, meaning you don’t pay for their time unless you win your case. Assuming that you’ll be successful, find out what percentage they’ll deduct from your settlement to ensure you’re getting a good deal.
Start your claim with Phalen Law today
Now that you know how to hire a personal injury lawyer, why not get in touch with us here at Phalen Law? We’re a small group of passionate, highly-qualified trial lawyers with particular expertise in a wide range of automobile accident claims.
Book your free no-obligation consultation today, and let’s discuss how we can support you in winning compensation in your personal injury lawsuit.