So, you’re riding in your car on a perfectly sunny day, minding your own business, when WHAM!, you’re suddenly broadsided by Darcy the college student. It seems Darcy was practicing her mobile texting skills, while primping in the rear view mirror and sipping her morning cappuccino.
She never saw the stop sign.
But now you or your loved ones have been injured by a “distracted driver”. Your car is totaled, your collarbone is broken along with your ankle, and your right forearm is fractured in two places. There is going to be medical expenses, lost wages, car insurance deductibles and more. Through no fault of your own, you are now in a position to need the services of a Personal Injury Attorney.
These are the guys that are on every fourth television commercial that is aired during prime time television. They claim to have done trial after trial, won million dollar judgments for their clients and so on, so how do you decide which one to choose?
Well first, let’s see if your accident qualifies under the legal litmus test. In order to qualify as a personal injury case, it needs to have occurred “due to the negligence or unreasonably unsafe actions of another person.” With Darcy the college student distracted due to the flurry of texts she was attending to instead of giving the operation of her vehicle her full attention, most personal injury attorneys would agree that your case does qualify. A word of caution would be that not all attorneys will agree to take your case, even if you were not at fault. Attorneys will evaluate the amount of time that will be needed to prepare a case and negotiate a settlement offer with the defendant’s insurance provider. If the potential damages and ensuing settlement do not reach a certain monetary threshold, the attorney may decline to represent you. Not to worry though, there are plenty of attorneys that would agree to take your case. Just look up lawyers in the local phone book or conduct an internet search for personal injury lawyers in your local area and you’ll see what I mean.
With so many attorneys to choose from, how do you know which one to choose to represent you? Well a good question to ask yourself would be, “If I found out today that I had cancer, would I want a general practitioner to treat me or would I want the best oncologist I could find? I think we all know the answer to that one. An oncologist is a cancer specialist. That’s all they do. They don’t treat ingrown toenails or athlete’s feet…they treat cancer and that’s what you want.
The same holds true with personal injury law. You don’t want a general practitioner who handles a little bit of bankruptcy, a little bit of divorce and some real estate closings, you want a Personal Injury Lawyer. Someone who understands the nuances associated with medical records, accident reports, witness statements, etc. You want an Attorney who has seen cases like yours hundreds of times and understands how to build a solid case, because trust me, the insurance company only hires attorneys that they know will minimize the potential payout on an injury claim.
Looking for only Personal Injury Lawyers will narrow the search significantly. Then you can call your state’s Bar Association and ask for recommendations. You will also want to inquire of friends and co-workers to see if anyone they know has used a personal injury attorney in the past. You can also write down the names of some of the attorneys you see on television and then browse their websites and gather as much information as possible. Then call their office, explain your situation and ask if there is any fees for an initial consultation. Most law offices do not charge for initial consultations and I would suggest not working with one that does.
Meet with one, two or even three of your top picks as quickly as possible after your accident. It is vital to your case that an attorney be involved right at the outset, so that they can begin obtaining the needed paperwork, reports, statements, etc. and can offer you the expert guidance you will need in order to have a successful conclusion to your personal injury case and obtain the maximum compensation you are entitled to under the law.