If have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered. But trying to get compensation by yourself isn’t easy. You need the help of an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer.
But you shouldn’t turn to just anyone. You need the right injury attorney. Before you make a decision on who you want to represent you, here are five things you should look for in a personal injury lawyer.
1. Experience. This is one of the top qualities you want in a personal injury lawyer. Talk to people around you and see if they have any good recommendations. If not, do some research online through using Google or a lawyer directory website like Avvo to find local area lawyers who can handle your case.
Narrow your list down to a select few, then check them out further. How long have they been a personal injury lawyer? What types of cases do they specialize in? Have they handled cases similar to yours? And if so, what were the results? You’re not going to hire a DUI lawyer if you slipped in a grocery store. And if a lawyer handles slip and fall accidents, you want to make sure he has won a fair share of the cases he’s taken on.
2. Honesty. We’ve all heard that old joke about how you can tell a lawyer is lying because his lips are moving. But a good Florida accident attorney will be able to give you an honest assessment of your claim and whether or not a settlement is likely to be reached.
A legal professional can’t – and shouldn’t – make you any guarantees. But if they have experience with your type of claim, they should be able to estimate what a settlement might look like, including giving you a general idea of how much your case might be worth.
3. Skill. You need a lawyer who not only possesses an in-depth understanding of the laws associated with your case, but has also demonstrated the necessary skill to get you fair and just compensation.
This can be determined by a number of things:
- Their track record. You want someone who has had success handling your type of case.
- The kinds of questions they ask. A good accident lawyer will ask you clear questions in order to get all of the facts and details surrounding your case down.
- Their ability to explain. The representative you choose should be able to explain the general process for handling your claim and provide all of the options available to you. You may not even have to file a lawsuit to receive a settlement. A competent lawyer would know that.
4. Transparency. The best personal injury attorneys have nothing to hide. This is especially important when it comes to legal fees and expenses. Before you hire someone, make sure you fully understand what you will be paying for and how you will be paying for it.
Many lawyers work on a contingency fee, which means they won’t get paid unless you win your case. Their fee comes out of your settlement. You should know what percentage your lawyer is expecting and what that should amount to based on their initial assessment of your case and potential settlement value. You should also be aware of any extra expenses you may be charged for along the way. If your lawyer is transparent from the beginning, you won’t have to deal with any surprises.
5. Professionalism. Your case is important to you, and it should be important to your lawyer as well. Read client reviews and see if they were satisfied with the service and representation they received. If there isn’t any information available, ask the lawyer if you can speak to some of their former clients to see if they will be a good match.
You also want someone who is respected in the legal community. Check out your lawyer’s credentials to make sure he is in good standing with the bar association and in the community.
Hiring a lawyer can be a daunting task, but getting the right person can make all the difference to your personal injury claim. Take the time to get it right.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.