I've been seriously injured, how do I find a lawyer I can trust?
Look for a lawyer who specializes in the area that you need help. For example, if you have been injured in an auto accident, don't hire a lawyer who doesn't regularly handle auto accidents. Hire a lawyer who specializes in the area of law that is specific to your case type. The lawyer will have a better understanding of your situation and can offer more effective representation.
Ask your friends and family about lawyers they know or have used. The best way to truly find out if a lawyer is good is to talk to someone you trust that has been represented by them.
Ask questions and expect answers. Most lawyers offer free consultations, so you are able to meet with as many as you like. If the lawyer is shifty and evasive, steer clear! Also, beware of lawyers who belittle you or make you feel like you are a waste of time. By the same token, good lawyers are busy people. They may be blunt and sometimes say things you don't want to hear. Above all, choose a lawyer you feel most confident about and comfortable with to handle your case.
Look for experience. Find out how often the law firm you are thinking of hiring, actually goes to court. Lawyers who prepare cases for trial usually get better settlements without having to go to court. There's an old adage, "A case that is prepared for trial will almost always settle; a case that is prepared to settle, will almost always have to be tried." If your case does go to trial, you better have a lawyer who knows what they're doing.
What documents should I bring with me when I meet with a lawyer?
The more information the lawyer has, the better his advice to you will be. You should supply any documents that might have a bearing on your case. Accident reports, for example, contain eyewitness accounts and details about auto accidents. Copies of medical reports from doctors and hospitals will describe your injuries. Information about the other driver's insurer is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident or of your injury. The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, don't worry. Your lawyer will be able to obtain them as well.
What kind of information will a lawyer need from me?
For any kind of claim, a lawyer generally needs information regarding the medical treatment you have been receiving to treat your injury. Usually, the lawyer will need the name and address of your current treating medical provider, as well as any other medical provider you have seen by referral, such as a physical therapist. In addition, you should be prepared to provide the name and address of any medical provider you have seen during the five year period preceding the injury, because your pre-injury medical condition can often affect the value of your claim. If you were injured in a car accident, it is important that you provide information regarding your own automobile insurance coverage as well, so your lawyer can determine whether medical payments coverage or uninsured underinsured motorist coverage applies to afford additional coverage for you.
What can I expect at the first consultation?
Your lawyer should be able to tell you if you have a legal claim that has merit. If so, he or she will likely ask you to sign a retainer agreement. A lawyer cannot represent you without a written retainer agreement. Once that agreement is in effect, your counsel should start gathering the information he or she will need to try your case. No competent lawyer should tell you what your case is worth at the first visit. In order to arrive at a figure for damages, your lawyer will need to determine the extent of your injuries, including pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, the cost of medical treatment, and lost wages. He or she then provides your damages figure to the other person's insurer. If the insurer considers it a valid claim, the case is likely to be resolved early on and won't have to be tried in court. But, any good lawyer will assume that the case will be tried, and will begin every case preparing it for being tried. Being ready to go to court, and having the reputation of doing well there, is the only way to get top dollar in settlement negotiations.
How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
What does it mean to settle a case?
I am not happy with the lawyer who is handling my case, and want to replace him. Can I simply fire him and retain another lawyer? Do I still have to pay the lawyer who I want to replace?
Do I have to give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster?
What do lawyers charge in personal injury cases?
What is my claim worth?
I was injured in an accident that was partially my fault. Can I still recover money damages for my injuries?
I am receiving state or federal disability insurance payments, Workers' Compensation benefits, Welfare or public assistance benefits, and was injured in an accident. Can I bring a lawsuit for my injuries?
Yes, but the agency or insurance company providing the benefits may have a lien against your monetary recovery for the amount of the payments you may recieve.
Please note that the above answers to these FAQ's should not be construed as legal advice as all situations differ and you should always consult the advice of an lawyer before making any decisions regarding injury claims or other legal matters referred to herein. These answers are intended to provide general information only.
Do you feel you may have a potential injury case in Sacramento or Elk Grove CA ? Contact us today for a free personal injury case consultation or call (916) 329-9010 for a free injury accident case consultation.