Who Can Help You if You Have an Accident?

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There are many things in life that people would rather not think are going to happen. Becoming sick, or seeing the death of a loved one, are just two of them. However, there are other things that can happen without any warning or influence from you.

If you or someone you love becomes involved in an accident, it can be distressing for everyone involved, especially the family. Although this can be a scary and intense situation, it is important that everyone becomes aware of what happened and more importantly, why.

There are times when you will need to think about engaging someone who can help you if you or your loved one has been injured. However, trying to find the right person can be difficult; there are many lawyers out there, and you need one that can understand and deal with your situation. Here are some tips on how you can effectively seek out a lawyer that can help you with a claim.

Time Limits
Despite the fact that it is a distressing time, there are, unfortunately, time limits on lawsuits, so you need to be aware of this. The time you have to file your lawsuit depends on the state you are in, but it can range from 1 to 6 years.
It might seem like a long time, but it can go by quickly, so you need to think about it well in advance. It isn’t just the amount of time you need to file the claim; you also need to do your research about who you are going to choose as your lawyer. It is a process that shouldn’t be hurried or done on a whim; you need someone to represent you that can do the right job.

Types of Attorney
You might think that all lawyers practice in the same fields, however, this is not the case. Just like a medical professional, some lawyers decide to specialize in certain types of cases, so you need to choose the best one for your situation.

Personal injury attorneys are trained in the specialties of injury and the legal system that revolves around it. They will have knowledge and experience that other lawyers outside the field may lack. For example, personal injury lawyers will often have trial experience whereas a real estate attorney may not. They will also have an understanding of medical diagnosis and the impact those have on a person’s life.

Another area they will have expertise in is negligence law and the laws that relate to it. It is because of these factors that you need to have someone with the knowledge and experience to tackle these types of cases.

Make a List of the Factors Involved
Before you go searching for a lawyer, you need to think about what factors they need to meet to become a good candidate. There is no use just picking a few names at random as you need to see them face to face as well.
That leads to the first part;

Location: You need to look for lawyers that are in the state you were injured. It is because you need to make sure they know all the local laws and rules in that state. If you have someone from out of the state, you may end up missing something or not doing things in the right timeframe.
Practice: Have you checked to see if they specialize in personal injury law? If you haven’t then you need to double check your selection. It is far better to choose a lawyer that has specialized knowledge. It can become quite specialized, for example, if you were injured by a defective product, there are lawyers that could have experience in this type of case.
Reputation: Find out about the lawyer’s reputation in your community or through other people. Has anyone you know, used this person before? How was their experience of working with them? It isn’t just about how they treat you; it is also about their success rate and how they work with other people that are important.
Years in Practice: Although all lawyers need to start somewhere, you want someone that has had at least some experience in the types of case you have. It will give you confidence in them, and they will have confidence in working with this type of case.
Disciplinary Record: Check that the lawyer has a good standing with other clients and the judicial system. See if anyone has filed a complaint against them, or if they have ever been suspended or disbarred. You may find lawyers with complaints against them, as some people may complain for no valid reason. However, you need to make sure that there are no upheld complaints.
Trial Experience: An important factor if the case goes to court is a trial experience. Being involved in a trial is a difficult thing that takes practice and knowledge to do correctly. The more experience a lawyer has with trials, the better it will be for your case.

The list you make can be as long or as short as you like, and it can have any factor you want. However, it needs to have at least these basic questions answered, or you might not be able to choose the right lawyer.

Personal Referrals
One way that you can shorten your list of candidates is to ask your friends or family if they have anyone they would recommend. Someone may have used a lawyer in a previous personal injury case and had a good experience.

There is little to beat word of mouth, so you should take this as a high factor in your choice. Similarly, you should ask if there is anyone that they wouldn’t recommend. Ask them why they had a bad experience and thought about whether this was a personal issue or a more general problem. If this lawyer is on your list of candidates, then you should think again.

Research, Your Candidates
Use the power of the internet to research your candidates and see what they are doing. There may be news items or other articles that they have been featured in that could give you a good insight into their practice.

Do not forget to check out their websites as well; you can often get a lot of information from their site including testimonials and any awards or associations that they belong to in the local area. Firms such as Babcock Partners have all their information and awards on their site so that you can see it all at a glance.

A lawyer’s website will also give you information about the type of cases they take on and their success rate. This can be a good way to rule out any firms that don’t cover your type of personal injury.

Call Your Candidates
The next step is to give all your candidates a call to have a quick chat and make a booking. You can usually gain a lot of insight into a company by the way they deal with clients on the phone.

Are they pleasant when they answer the phone? It is a small thing, but it can be indicative of the way the rest of the company operates. Also, are they keen to speak to you and get you to speak to a lawyer? If they don’t want to answer questions or try to put you off, then maybe they are not the firm for you.

How long does it take them to book you in for an appointment? For new clients, in particular, you would expect that they would want to speak to you as soon as possible to try and win your case. If they make you book well in advance, then it might be that they are not interested, or they are too busy to deal with your case effectively.

Arrange a Meeting
Finally, you have weeded down your list to maybe three or four candidates. Now, you have to go and meet them to see what they can do for you. Prepare a list of questions that you should ask about the firm and the case so that you are completely satisfied with what they can do.

Take some notes and some of the evidence with you so that you can discuss the case with them. Be prepared to answer any questions they have, but there is a lot of information they can get once they have agreed to take the case.

Just because they agree to take your case, it doesn’t mean that you have to pick them. Tell them that you will let them know so you can visit all the firms on your list before you make a decision.

After all the interviews and decisions, you should now have a good idea who you want to represent you in your injury case. It can take a long time to get through the process, but in the end, you will be happy and confident in your choice of lawyer.

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