When you or a loved one has suffered an injury, hiring a lawyer is one of the most important steps you will take toward seeking compensation from those who are responsible for your injuries as a result of an auto accident. This can be a complicated and even stressful process; especially if you have never hired an attorney before. In this article Bishop & Hayes P.C. would like to share with you how personal injury law works, what you need to look for in hiring an attorney, and what you need to consider before making this critical decision.
When working with a personal injury lawyer, communication is extremely imperative for several reasons. You will need to feel secure in knowing your lawyer is a good communicator because that is precisely what you are hiring them to do; communicate, advocate, and fight for your legal rights against the insurance companies, opposing counsel, a judge and jury. Your attorney will argue the facts or your case to obtain an outcome in your favor. Thus, you need to hire an attorney that is willing to spend the time speaking with you to learn about your case inside and out.
Understand and obtain, in writing, all fees you will incur by hiring a particular attorney, including fees your attorney will take if your case wins.
Experience and Background
Visit the State Bar of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas or Oklahoma and look up the names of the attorneys you are considering hiring. You will find information such as when he/she became eligible to practice law, their State Bar number, schools attended and graduation dates, contact information, which courts they are admitted to practice in, and any disciplinary actions reported by the attorney. Keep in mind that the number of years of experience the attorney has may be less important than the number of years the attorney has specialized in personal injury law. Ask the attorney what types of cases he/she has taken and won and/or obtained a settlement.
All personal injury attorneys do not handle every type of injury case. For example, birth injury cases, slip and fall cases, car accident lawsuits, trucking accidents, and boating/lake accidents, just to name a few, are all different types of cases that the attorney may have experience handling. Some attorneys may handle only one type of injury case on a regular basis, and if so, make certain that it is indeed the same type of case you have. Larger firms will practice and dedicate resources to legal cases completely outside of injury law all together. Using our firm as an example, all we do is auto injury law. So we provide services to anyone that has been injured in an auto accident in the states of Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas.
The comfort and confidence you have with your attorney’s working style is important when it comes to your input and decision making about your case. You are hiring an attorney, therefore, you should have control over your legal matters while trusting that your attorney will control the legal aspects of the case. The sole purpose of hiring a personal injury lawyer is because they have the legal knowledge and experience that you do not possess.
Ask about your potential attorney’s professional network of experts. Many, but not all, personal injury cases involve testimony of expert witnesses. Your attorney might call as witnesses one or more doctors who specialize in the area of injuries you sustained as a result of the accident. Your attorney may also enlist experts in various other fields such as trucking standards, accident reconstruction specialists and long-term treatment and costs of your injuries. One advantage of Bishop & Hayes is that we do not sue doctors, allowing us to develop long-lasting relationships in the medical community.
Compare and Consider
You will want to consider a variety of factors when hiring an attorney and it should not be a quickly made decision. You may wish to undertake two or three consultations with different personal injury attorneys to determine who would be best suited for your case. However, if you believe an attorney is a good match for you and your case and that all other decision-making criteria are met to your satisfaction, the first attorney you consult with may very well be the right choice. Remember, in personal injury law, consultations are free.
It is important that you understand what type of case you have so that you can hire an attorney who either specializes in that type of law, or has substantial experience and has obtained successful results on behalf of his/her former clients.
In today’s professional fields, technology can equal power. It enhances the efforts of the attorney and support staff to get things done efficiently, effectively, and thoroughly. Be sure to ask a potential attorney what technologies they employ during the course of handling a personal injury case.
Attorneys and law firms employ several types of administrative and legal support staff that allow their law practices to function efficiently and professionally. Ask your prospective attorney about associate attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and receptionists you may interface with over the course of your case. It is likely you will interact with these experienced professionals as often as you do with your attorney directly. However, you may only receive legal advice from the attorney and/or any associate attorneys working on your case, as non-attorneys cannot give you legal advice or any opinions they may have about the progress or outcome of your case.