If you were hurt because of another driver’s carelessness, you have legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more. Your personal injury lawyer is the person who will help you get what you deserve after an accident.
You should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. But choosing a lawyer can be difficult, especially if it’s the first time you’ve had to hire one. The tips shared here will help you choose the right personal injury lawyer for your accident case.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
Before sharing tips about choosing a personal injury lawyer, here’s why you need a personal injury lawyer for your accident case.
An Alabama personal injury lawyer can help you with your accident case in many ways. In addition to using their legal knowledge to build a strong case, a lawyer can:
- Investigate your accident,
- Assign a fair value to your case,
- Negotiate a fair settlement,
- Deal with insurance companies on your behalf,
- Help you with hospital liens and other related issues,
- Find experienced experts to help with your case,
- Take your case to trial, if necessary,
- And much more.
Most importantly, a lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. A recent study from Lawyers.com found that the average settlement received by people who hired lawyers to represent them after car accidents was $77,600, while the average for those representing themselves was just $17,600. Clearly, hiring a Birmingham accident lawyer is a good investment.
Where Do I Find A Birmingham Car Accident Attorney?
There are many ways to find an attorney. Most people – especially those who haven’t looked for an attorney before – usually begin by asking their friends and family for recommendations. Some – but not all – doctor’s offices keep lists of law firms that they’ve worked with in the past. There are also legal websites that provide recommendations.
5 Tips for Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are thousands of lawyers in Alabama. Narrowing this group down to a manageable list will take some work. These five tips can help.
Note: You should meet with multiple attorneys before making a final decision. (Don’t worry. Even when you don’t hire a lawyer, everything you tell them must remain confidential.)
Tip #1 – Look at the lawyer’s experience
You should look at a lawyer’s experience in two ways. First, how long has the lawyer been practicing? Look for someone who’s been practicing for a few years. Of course, people who are fresh out of law school can be very smart and hard-working, but it takes time to develop the skills, relationships, and intuition that lawyers need.
In addition to how long they’ve been practicing, look at their experience with handling car accident cases. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, your best bet is a lawyer who specializes in car accidents. Because they deal with accident cases daily, these lawyers will know about any relevant changes in the law. They will also have long-standing relationships with doctors, investigators, experts, and others who will help with your case. Lawyers who never or rarely handle car accident cases will need more time to catch up on any changes in the law and build or rebuild relationships with other professionals.
Tip #2 – Look at the lawyer’s client reviews
Reading client reviews is one of the most important things you can do when hiring a personal injury attorney. What do clients say about the lawyer? It’s a good sign when reviews are generally positive and mention the lawyer’s willingness to communicate and work hard for clients.
On the other hand, it’s a huge red flag when a firm has lots of bad client reviews or, worse, no reviews at all. Beware of reviews that mention an attorney’s poor communication, lack of empathy, dismissive attitude, or bad billing practices. These complaints are very serious, and multiple complaints of this nature should raise concerns for any future client.
Tip #3 – Look at the attorney’s reputation
What do other lawyers think about the lawyer that you’re hiring? Do a quick Google search. Have they won any awards? Are they active in the local bar association? These things might not seem important, but the legal community is relatively small. Most lawyers regularly work with (or face off against) the same attorneys. While hard work and legal smarts are the most important, given the choice between a lawyer with a good reputation and one with a poor reputation (or no reputation), it’s probably better to pick the one who’s respected by their peers.
Tip #4 – Consider their responses to your questions
After making a list of attorneys to meet with, think about the questions you want to ask each attorney during the first meeting. Be sure to ask about important topics like their experience with accident cases, their billing practices, how often they communicate with clients, and who will handle your case.
Pay close attention not only to the attorney’s answers but how they answer. Do they treat your questions as important, or do they dismiss them? Do they use clear or confusing language when talking about billing practices? Do they make appropriate eye contact? Do they seem offended when you raise certain topics? These subtle cues can tell you a lot about what working with this lawyer might be like.
Tip #5 – Consider your feelings during the first meeting
You’ll have to tell your accident lawyer a lot of personal things. They’ll need to know very specific information about how the accident affected not only your body but also your emotional state, your mental health, and even your relationships. Sharing this type of information requires trust.
You should not hire a lawyer if you don’t feel comfortable with them. Go with your gut. It’s a positive sign if you have a good feeling after the first meeting. On the other hand, if you feel that something is “off” – even if you can’t put your finger on it – you should probably move on to the next attorney.
Do You Need an Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer?
These tips for choosing an accident lawyer will help you find the right attorney for your case. While you’re looking, we hope you’ll consider Collins Law, LLC. Our firm’s founder, April H. Collins, has been recognized as one of Birmingham’s best personal injury attorneys. Our client reviews give our staff high marks for our compassion and care. Our firm specializes in motor vehicle cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, and more. If you’ve been injured and you’d like to see what our firm can do to help you, call us at 205-588-1411 or use our website’s online scheduling tool to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.