Category Archives: Attorney Information

Finding Your Personal Injury Attorney

Central focusing binoculars with adjustable in...

Image via Wikipedia

If you are injured and believe someone else is to blame, your first step should be to find the best possible personal injury attorney to represent your needs. Start by finding an attorney who is licensed to practice Personal Injury Law in your state. A quick Internet search will direct you to your state’s Bar Association, which licenses and monitors all attorneys. In most states a lawyer can receive accreditation as a “Personal Injury Lawyer,” so start by downloading a list of those attorneys in your area. Some attorneys may note specialties such as “Brain Injury Law,” for example. This may not refer to a State Bar licensing but ratheran area of experience or interest.

Many people choose an attorney based on who has the funniest commercials or biggest billboards. Abundant advertising is not a guarantee of competent legal services and attention to your needs, just proof of a large advertising budget.

Once you have a list from your State Bar’s website of attorneys in your area that are licensed to practice Personal Injury Law, you may be overwhelmed. Typically, large cities have plenty of personal injury attorneys. Start narrowing down the list by contacting firms who can meet with you in person for a free initial consultation within the next few weeks. If an attorney wants to charge a fee to hear your story, consider contacting someone else. If you’re injured, you probably cannot afford to wait two months for an initial consultation.

Seek recommendations for a personal injury lawyer from personal friends or family members. Consider the source of the feedback, though. If your uncle didn’t like his attorney, how meaningful is that if your uncle never likes anyone?

Next, review the attorneys’ websites. Pay particular attention to attorneys’ biographical information. Did they attend a well-respected law school? How long have they been practicing Personal Injury Law? Try internet searches to find comments from past clients about the attorneys, although keep these in perspective: one irate client may not tell the whole story as he rants on and on in a social media posting, while ten satisfied clients of the same attorney may never think to post their praise online. If nothing else, comments from people you don’t know about an attorney can help you with specific questions to ask during your initial consultation.

Once you narrow your list down to five or less attorneys, schedule your consultation appointments. Be prepared for these interviews. Write down in advance questions you want to ask; take notes during the interview on the attorney’s responses. If you take any documents with you, like doctor’s reports or photos of the accident scene, be sure to leave your originals at home and take only copies. Questions to ask your personal injury attorney can include:

  • What types of cases has the attorney previously handled (wrongful death, nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, food safety violations, etc.)?
  • How many cases has this attorney represented?
  • What were the case outcomes?
  • What was the compensation amounts for similar personal injury cases?
  • Who would work with you, the attorney in your interview or someone else in the firm?
  • How many paralegals will work on your case?
  • What is the attorney’s fee?
  • Did the attorney seem to value you and your time?

Try to meet anyone in the firm that would be part of the legal team representing you and tour the office. It is also important to  ask for references from past clients.

Once your interviews are complete, make a list of “pros and cons” for each lawyer. Be sure to note whether you liked the attorney and whether they seemed trustworthy. You will potentially spend a good team of time with your personal injury attorney, and you need to feel comfortable with this person. After making the right preparations and asking the right questions, you can select your personal injury attorney with confidence.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Questions to Ask Your Michigan Personal Injury Lawyer

Map of USA with Michigan highlighted

Image via Wikipedia

If you suffer a serious injury in Michigan, you may wonder where to start. Well, first off, you need to get better. Then you need to consult with an experienced Michigan personal injury lawyer. Where do you start when hiring an experienced lawyer? You consult with a good number of them, from 5-10, and then start asking some questions. Now let’s go over what questions you should ask any personal injury lawyer when hurt in a Michigan accident.

What is your background?

This is a basic question to get you started going over the experience of the lawyer. You want to know his or her education, how many cases have been handled, how long the lawyer has practiced law, how many personal injury cases are taken each year, just to get an idea of the lawyers history. This gives you a good idea of how professional they are, how successful, and how they can help you.

What is your court room experience?
Court room experience is always crucial in personal injury cases. True, most personal injury cases end far before court, but you have to be ready to go to court. And an experienced lawyer will be ready. You want to know more than how many cases have been handled: you might also ask how many cases have been won and what kind of deals were made. Also, negotiating experience is important, and will be crucial in getting your case over with before court even occurs. A good negotiator can come up with a settlement so you have no delays in court and can move on.

What is your approach to court room law?
All lawyers have a certain philosophy when it comes to negotiating in and out of court. You want to find this style and see if it’s applicable to your case. You might find out a lawyer is fairly aggressive, or easy to negotiate with, or is a hard sell and wants to go to court to maximize damages. These all have advantages and disadvantages. The only thing that is important is that you win.

Do you have time to spend on this case?
You obviously do not want a lawyer with no experience, but neither do you want a lawyer who has dozens of ongoing cases and barely any time to get started. If a lawyer is overbooked, keep looking. You can often tell in your first meeting. Their schedule is full and they seem overworked. If they have no time to spend on your case, or want to refer it to an assistant, remember there are other lawyers capable of handling your case.

What are your fees?
Money is the bottom line. However, you will find many experienced Michigan personal injury lawyers willing to work on the “no win, no fee” philosophy, where nothing is paid if you lose. If you go to court and fail to gain a settlement, you pay nothing to the lawyer. On the other hand, if you negotiate and win, or win in court, you will have to pay a percentage of the fee to the lawyer. You can also pay on hourly or a flat fee, but the “no win, no fee” philosophy is much better.

Enhanced by Zemanta

6 Rules When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury lawsuits can seem like a bitter pill when you have to fill out boxes of paperwork, sit in court, and try to negotiate. They can be much easier if you hire the right personal injury lawyer. This guide can help you do just that.

Look for Multiple Lawyers
Instead of just choosing the first one you find – or the cheapest one you find – why not look for multiple lawyers? You have far more options than the referral you got. You may look online. You might find one at the local state bar. You may have some connections. Try to connect with at least 4-5 lawyers before hiring one.

Pay Nothing Down
When you hire a lawyer, hire one for the “no win, no fee” philosophy, which means you only pay if you win. If you settle your lawsuit out of court – 8 out of 10 do – you may pay 25% of the settlement to your lawyer. If you go to court and win, you may pay more like 35%. If you lose, you pay nothing.

Hire a Specialist

Hire someone who specializes in personal injury law – not the friend, or the family member, or the one who promises winning. There are DUI lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, immigration lawyers, and a variety of others, but you need a good personal injury lawyer. You need someone who has relevant in court experience.

Hire a Winner
You want someone with court room experience. It can be hard to differentiate from lawyers until you look at their records. The more court room experience they have, the better. You want someone capable of winning, of course, and in order to get that you need to be critical in who you hire.

Communicator

You should be able to communicate well with your lawyer. This is critical part of the process. Why? Some personal injury lawsuits drag on for years. First, the injury occurs, and you typically wait 6 months to a year to get better before filing any claim. Then you file a claim and want, and if you’re denied you have to hire a lawyer, file a lawsuit, and perhaps go to court. This entire process can seem to drag on. If you can hire an experienced lawyer you can communicate well with, you stand to save yourself a lot of headaches. And if you hire one you simply cannot communicate well with, you may consider firing him or her.

Should you fire your lawyer?
Finally, you may consider firing your lawyer on some occasions. Usually you can weed out the bad ones in the hiring process, but not always. There is no rule saying you have to keep on a lawyer you do not like. You can always get a new lawyer. You do have to pay any fees up to that point, so find out as early as possible.

Getting the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Paramount to any personal injury settlement is getting the right representation, a lawyer capable of helping you get proper compensation for your injury. You likely have more questions than answers at the beginning. That makes it important to getting a personal injury lawyer capable of answering all of them. This guide shows you how to hire the right lawyer.

Where do you find a lawyer?
You might visit your local state bar looking for a lawyer. If you’re in Georgia, you go to the Georgia State Bar, which has a website. If you have a family lawyer, you may ask for some referrals to experienced personal injury lawyers. You can always look online at sites and reference points. Many lawyers have sites and blogs like this one to help those interested in getting help. You can find out a lot about a lawyer’s experience by a site. You should always make more than one or two visits and/or phone calls. You should consult with several experienced lawyers. Make it a goal to not settle on the first or the cheapest. You can find a good one you can afford.

How much experience should your lawyer have?
Well, experience does vary, but you definitely want a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases. You might even try to find a lawyer who has relevant experience. If you are suffering from a work related injury, you may be able to find a lawyer with experience there. If you suffered a car accident injury, you may get a lawyer with more experience in accident law. If you are dealing with a tough insurance company, you can find a lawyer capable of winning a major lawsuit. You have many options.

How much do you pay?

This depends on the lawyer and your case. Generally, you want a lawyer capable of winning, but also a lawyer who thinks you have a chance of winning. You should be able to get a lawyer willing to take his or her fee only if you win a settlement. This is called the “no win, no fee” philosophy, where if you lose  you get nothing but your lawyer also gets nothing. If you do win, or reach a settlement, your lawyer should take from 25-35% of the money. If you settle, it should be about 25%. But if your lawyer has to take this to court, that takes more time, and the final fee will be closer to 35%.

What to do you gain?
This too depends on your lawyer and your case. It depends on the nature of your injury. It depends on how much the insurer is willing to pay. You should get all medical costs covered. If you missed work, or lost your job, you should be compensated for that. If you suffer major pain and suffering, such as trauma from a car accident, this increases your compensation greatly.

If You Have Questions

If you have questions, that is what your personal injury lawyer is for. You can also look online and ask others with experience. The important thing is to take that big first step: hiring the right legal representation. If a lawyer is willing to take on your case for the “no win, no fee” philosophy, you likely have a winner.

Hiring a New York Personal Injury Lawyer

Map of USA with New York highlighted

Image via Wikipedia

If you have a difficult New York personal injury claim, you may wonder where to begin. Well, first off you should focus on getting better. On the other hand, if you’re facing extreme debts and an insurer being difficult, you or a loved one may inquire about getting legal help. In the state of New York, you have many options, but often just as many questions. This guide will help you find the right New York personal injury lawyer.

Where do you look?
The New York State Bar Association is a good place to start, as is online, and sometimes via referrals from your family lawyer. The Bar is found at http://www.nysba.org/, with much useful information on getting legal help in pretty much any field. If you want a lawyer who specializes in injury law, looking online beyond the bar is also a good choice. Many experienced personal injury lawyers have web sites, if not a blog and articles, explaining how they can help. If you have little access to the internet, you might ask for a referral. If you have a family lawyer, he or she might refer you to an experienced lawyer.

How much do you pay?

Typically you want to pay what’s called a contingency fee, the “no win, no fee” philosophy where if you lose the case, you pay nothing. But if you win, you will have to pay a fee of the settlement to  your lawyer. 8 out of 10 personal injury claims do not go to court, being settled beforehand. If you settle, you typically pay your lawyer less. If you go to court, his or her fee usually goes up some percentages. If you settle out of court, you can expect to pay about 25% of the compensation to your lawyer, sometimes more and sometimes less. If you have to go to court, you’re paying closer to 35%. You should be able to find a lawyer willing to work on a contingency fee, but some may prefer an hourly fee. If you have to pay out of pocket, be sure you can win this claim. If no lawyer is willing to take your case, it may not be a winner.

How much experience?

You want a lawyer who first of all specializes in personal injury law. So if you have a family lawyer or friend who handles occasional work, you may prefer to hire someone with more experience. Of course, all lawyers have legal degrees, but someone who has dealt with insurers before, who knows how to negotiate, and who can handle a court room if need be, is quite valuable.

What if your lawyer fails?
If you ever reconsider your choice of lawyer, you can fire him or her and only pay any costs up to that point. Sometimes you simply hire someone who you cannot communicate with well, or who takes on too many cases. There is no law saying you must keep this lawyer, only pay the fees up to that point. If, on the other hand, you lose in court, there is always the appeals process, where a good lawyer is invaluable.

How To Get Started
To get started, start searching online for reputable lawyers. Some of them will post free articles on personal injury law, simply to showcase their experience. If you are unable to search yourself, you may ask a loved one to help. The important thing, first, is to get better. But then you also want to be protected financially.

Enhanced by Zemanta

6 Ways to Avoid Inexperienced Personal Injury Lawyers

1-Go for a Specialist
One common problem is with lawyers who do “a little of everything,” meaning they will take on any paying case. While there is nothing wrong with that on the surface, especially for minor cases, the more serious your lawsuit, the more you want a specialist. Get a lawyer who only does personal injury lawsuits. While you may be referred by a friend or loved one to this lawyer, be weary of referrals to lawyers who don’t specialize.

2-Look At References
On the other hand, references can be good. They can show positive experiences with the lawyer. They can show the value of a lawyer. They can show how many cases he or she has won. They can even show how valuable some of these cases were to the plaintiffs (the ones suing). Therefore, if you get a personal injury specialist who has done a load of cases, he or she should have some strong references.

3-Look Over The Site
An experienced personal injury lawyer will not always have a website, but if they do, it can give a volume of important information. You can see just how this lawyer has helped his or her clients. You can see cases won and sometimes even the compensation amounts. You can see who the staff is, the secondary people who may help in winning your case. They can also show personality and communication abilities. You want a lawyer who can explain how this process works to you.

4-Give a Fair Fee
You can tell a inexperienced personal injury lawyer – or one who does not specialize – by the fees. Oddly, “we can work that out” or a very low fee often means you have an inexperienced lawyer. The fair rates are 25%-35%. if you cannot get a lawyer to take on your personal injury case, an inexperienced lawyer may try and get you to pay upfront. You should almost always pay with the “no win, no fee” philosophy: you only pay if you win. A lawyer who tries charging you may know your case isn’t a winner.

5-Ask Questions
Ask your personal injury lawyer as many questions as you possibly can. Just as in school, when you don’t prepare for a test you might end up failing. If your lawyer has little to no knowledge on how much compensation you deserve, if you should go to court or simply take a settlement, how liability is made, or how to get experts and witnesses, these are warning signs.

6-Consult With Multiple Personal Injury Lawyers
Finally, you want to consult with more than one lawyer. Don’t settle on the family friend or the “friend-of-a-friend” who needs the work. Consult with a minimum of 5 lawyers. Only consult with lawyers who offer a free case review. If you had to pay for every review, you would be paying hundreds of dollars.

Before You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer, Ask These Questions

How were you injured?
To get you started, in order to see liability, you must first be able to prove injury. If you suffered little injury, filing a lawsuit may be a waste of time. If you suffered serious injury, it’s time to consider legal action. Be clear on how you were injured by getting as much details on the accident as possible.

Who’s at fault, or holds more liability?
Once you know your injury is severe enough, you have to ask who’s at fault. This question can be more complex than you might think. If you walked in front of a car going on a green, you might have trouble proving definite liability. It might be both driver and you hold liability. Liability is crucial. Witnesses, any evidence, and the police report can all influence the decision on who’s at fault.

Are you going to miss work?

If you were hurt to an extent where you will have to miss work, it’s time to consider proper compensation. If your injury is severe, and you will miss work, it’s time to consult with a lawyer. If you, for example, can never work the same job again, the claim could be quite high.

Do you have high medical bills?
If you have spiraling medical bills, even if fault is on both sides you should get some compensation. Usually you will have legal protection if you receive high medical bills you simply have no way of paying.

What were the long term physical and mental effects?
If you cannot work for a long time, you may also lose the ability to do other simple things. You may not be able to go for walks or jogs for some time. You may be confined to a wheelchair. Sexual relations with your spouse may suffer. It’s important to ask this question as long term physical effects can lead to long term mental effects.

Do you have evidence?
What evidence proves fault? Are there witnesses? These questions are critical. If you have trouble proving fault, a lawyer may be better able to help you.

What have you said to the defendant and any lawyers?
Before you even hire a lawyer, you may get some questions from the defendant, sometimes an insurer, and often their lawyer. You should say absolutely nothing until you consult with your own lawyer. Sign no documents, agree to nothing, and say nothing verbally. An experienced personal injury lawyer, an officer, and a judge should be the only people you speak to. And if the defendant is offering you a settlement, do not take it without consulting in detail with your lawyer.

3 Ways to Value Your Personal Injury Lawyer

There are times where lack of legal representation can cost you dearly. There are also times when hiring the wrong kind of representation can hurt you. And then there are times when no legal representation is needed. How can you get proper legal help for a serious case? This blog guide can help.

In a serious personal injury lawsuit, having a serious lawyer is essential. If you hire one without experience, it can cost you money, and sometimes quite a lot. On the other hand, if the accident is minor and there was little to no injury, even if the event is someone’s fault, you need rarely need a lawyer.

The next question is to ask how to differentiate value between the many lawyers you are considering. How many is that? Hopefully more than one. You should consult with as many lawyers as you possibly can, but only lawyers who offer to review your case without charge.

From the case review, you can see the value of an experienced, helpful, and professional personal injury lawyer. He or she can help you win.

Value Point 1, Big Settlement
This is obvious: a bad lawyer loses, a good lawyer wins. But it’s not quite as cut and dry as that. A bad lawyer may win, but the damages may be smaller than necessary. A good lawyer has more value because her or she can protect your interests in court. If you slip, fall, break a leg, and suffer extreme pain and suffering, and this is because of a mistake where liability is clear, a large settlement is fair. An experienced lawyer can explain your rights, best advise you on decisions, and defend you in court.

Value Point 2, Stay Out of Court

Most personal injury lawsuits stay out of court, and this is good for you. A good lawyer can advise you on whether to take an out of court settlement or not. Using the slip and fall as an example, you may face an insurer with big pocket books, and they offer you a big check. Should you take it or ask for more? That is a critical decision you should not make alone, without legal counsel. And the legal counsel should be prepared to make a counter offer as well.

Value Point 3, Protect Your Future
In the end, personal injury lawsuits are about more than money and punishment. Sometimes your life is forever changed. Sometimes you have a family you can no longer work to support. The greatest value an experienced personal injury lawyer has is not in helping you get that big check, but in ensuring your life can continue without financial strife and high medical bills.

6 Reasons to Go For Experience in Your Personal Injury Attorney

Want a personal injury lawyer who charges “super low” rates and puts little to no effort into your case? Or do you want an experienced lawyer who can help you win?

Well, it’s not always as obvious as that, but many put money on lawyers – sometimes a lot of money – who lack the experience to actually handle a complex personal injury lawsuit. First, most experienced personal injury lawyers will only take your case if you have a winner. And second, they do this because they typically only ask for a percentage, from 25% to 35%, of the damages. But you need one with experience. Why?

Do you have a claim?

How do you know if you have a claim? If a good lawyer is willing to take it, you might have a strong claim. If you’re getting offers to take your case for a fee and/or you’re getting turned down a lot, you may not have a winner. A lawyer is your best adviser on whether you have a right to compensation for an injury or not.

Settlement Offers
On the other hand, you might know you have a case before even looking for a lawyer. Why? The insurer offers a settlement; in other words paying you money not to sue them in court. However, these offers, though they may seem quite high at the time, are typically not in your ballpark. No, you likely deserve much more. But you won’t know without an experienced lawyer.

Experience in Handling Out of Court Processes

Beyond settlements, your lawyer has other things to do outside of court. This includes getting witnesses, if any; getting experts willing to testify; getting any police reports or other documents; and also getting doctor evaluations on your injury. A personal injury case is not a race; it’s a sprint. It may take over a year to finalize. But most settle before court.

In Court Experience
If you and your lawyer decide to go to court, experience in the court process is invaluable. This is where your lawyer will earn his or her fee.

Winning
Why do you need an experienced personal injury lawyer? The bottom line is to win, to get you proper compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering issues, emotional distress, and much more. If your lawyer has won cases before and takes on your case, you are in good hands.

You Get Money

How much money can you get? This does depend on your lawyer. Some will try to avoid going to court, save themselves time, and take a quick settlement. This is a sign of inexperience, if not laziness. An experienced personal injury lawyer maximizes your damages, giving you the most money. After all, a good one is willing to go to court to help you win, but he or she will get compensated fairly too.

6 Things About Personal Injury Attorney Fees You May Not Know

Lawyers sometimes get a bad name for charging high fees. True, charging $300/hour for consulting or legal advice can be too high for many of us, but when you are paying for value, you can get value. If you pay cheaply, it’s unlikely you’ll get much better than a cheap service. That’s in fact the basic idea of this blog guide: that lawyer fees, especially personal injury lawyer fees, are reasonable when you consider your options.

A Good Personal Injury Lawyer Gives You Options
Let’s start by explaining what a lawyer gives you. If you have ever watched a legal show, yes it can seem simple and fun. However, it’s not much like that in most court cases. There are applications to be filed, claims to be made, negotiations to begin, judges to negotiate with, and battles.

A good lawyer gives you the best options by explaining all this to you, giving you the options along with his or her opinion. This is invaluable. If you have no legal experience, and expect to win a tough case yourself by simply telling the truth, you just won’t know where to begin.

In effect, a good personal injury lawyer explains to you if this is a winner. How? Often by saying whether or not he or she will take your case.

A Professional Personal Injury Lawyer Only Wins When You Do

Usually you only want to hire a personal injury lawyer if you have a winner. It can be too expensive to pay your lawyer during a process which may take months to years. If you have a winner, a lawyer will likely waive the fee and offer to take a portion of the settlement or claim.

If you get an offer before you even hire a lawyer, you may consider taking it. Having a lawyer makes your case much stronger, and quite often leads to a better settlement. If the offer is too low, you take it, then suffer further injury, you have no legal recourse. And if you get a settlement offer, your lawyer reviews and accepts it, because he or she has not been inside a court room and fought your case there, you pay less.

Lawyers Pay Too
Simply put, you don’t just walk into court and ask for a job. It takes years if not decades for a good personal injury lawyer to come out of law school and get enough experience to be valuable to you.

A Lawyer Has Costs
Rarely is this a one person show. A lawyer may have an entire staff helping with your case. They may consult with other lawyers. He or she may have to spend valuable time researching your case. For example, there might be other cases where an injury occurred, making clear proof the entity is at fault; this occurs in manufacturing all the time, as well as hospitals.

If You Win, How Much?
If you win, your lawyer fee will be more than worth it. You can save yourself a lot of hassle simply by having a professional handle the case. You can also do some good. If you win a lawsuit against a hospital who botched an operation, you might ensure no one else is hurt like that. If you win a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company who hurt hundreds, that’s justice.

If You Lose, What Next?
Sometimes even the good guys lose, but it’s important to know you have legal rights to a review of any decisions made in court. This is what appeals court is about. Usually you want to take a complete look at your case with your lawyer; you just might not have enough proof. But in appeals court, your personal injury lawyer can show his or her legal expertise and help you turn this into a winner.