Four Things to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Under Texas law, you have the right to seek compensation when someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct causes you injury. Unfortunately for injury victims, recovering compensation through an insurance company or the court is not always easy.
While you are left struggling to recover from painful injuries with mounting bills, the insurance company may pressure you to accept a low offer or blame you for your accident.
A personal injury lawyer in Houston can help you fight for the compensation you deserve and offer legal guidance throughout the claim process.
Just remember that not all personal injury lawyers are the same. Consider the following when choosing a lawyer you feel comfortable will best represent you in your case and negotiate on your behalf.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
While you are never legally required to have legal representation in Texas, it’s generally recommended if in all but the most simple injury cases. This is because the insurance company you are up against has a team of lawyers and claims adjusters who work full-time to minimize and deny claims.
The insurance company will use many tactics to fight your claim and shift as much blame as possible onto you.
The following types of personal injury cases can always benefit from the experience and legal insight of a personal injury lawyer:
- Child injury claims
- Premises liability cases
- Product liability cases
- Cases that involve disability or catastrophic injury
- Cases against a government entity
- Cases with multiple liable parties, including car accidents that involve bicyclists or pedestrians
- Medical malpractice cases
Personal injury cases can be complex for many reasons such as liability that is unclear, injuries to children with damages that aren’t yet known, or complicated legal statutes and guidelines. When you are up against a well-funded insurance company, you deserve sound legal representation to protect your rights and fight for you.
Preparing for Your Initial Consultation
When you are ready to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer, the best place to start is with a free consultation. This consultation can be helpful for deciding if you actually have a case and to discuss possible legal strategies.
The initial consultation also helps you learn more about the lawyer and their approach to decide if you feel comfortable and confident with them representing you.
Be ready to show up to the consultation with as much information as you can provide. You can take notes ahead of time to describe your accident in as much detail as possible. Make sure you note what the recovery process has been like for you, how your injuries have affected you, and the medical care you have received. This journal can help not only during the consultation but also going forward with your case.
You can also bring additional information for the lawyer to review:
- Correspondence from the insurance company, the defendant, or the defendant’s legal team
- Medical records
- Police or accident reports
- Receipts and Explanation of Benefits forms from your insurance company for medical expenses
- Photos of the scene of the accident
- Witness statements or contact information
During your first meeting, the lawyer will want to hear your story about your accident and what has happened since you were injured. The personal injury lawyer will explain whether they think you have a strong case, what you can expect going forward, what your case may be worth, and how they would proceed if hired.
Four Things to Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Think of your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer as an interview to find out if they are a good match. Do you feel comfortable that this lawyer has the time, resources, and experience to handle your case? Are you confident in their ability to negotiate with the insurance company and present your case in court, if necessary?
The following are four key things you should look for to choose a personal injury lawyer you can trust to represent you.
Reputation & Success Rate
A law firm’s past results are not a guarantee of future results. Still, you may be best served by choosing a personal injury lawyer with a solid track record and a high success rate.
Most cases settle outside of court, but complicated cases have been known to take years in a courtroom. This is why you may want a lawyer who has a reputation inside the courtroom as well. Not all personal injury lawyers have extensive courtroom experience, and this lack of experience may cause them to push you toward a settlement that may not be in your best interest.
Ask about the share of their cases that have settled out of court and how many of their cases go to trial. You can also ask how many cases settle close to the initial value of the claim they calculated.
Personal injury law is a huge field with dozens of specialties. During the consultation, ask about the lawyer’s level of experience representing cases similar to yours. Do they specialize in a particular area of personal injury law such as medical malpractice? Do they regularly win cases like yours?
You should be confident the lawyer has the specialized knowledge and experience necessary to handle your claim, anticipate possible defenses, and gather the evidence that will be crucial to winning your case.
What happens if your case goes on for months or litigation becomes complicated? If your case has a high value or is complex, your lawyer should have adequate resources available to gather the evidence you need to fight in court.
Many personal injury cases benefit from expert testimony which may help establish liability, prove the severity of your injuries, and strengthen your case. This can help you secure maximum compensation by forcing the insurance company to agree to your damages or convincing a jury. Be sure you find out if the law firm you are considering has sufficient resources available to properly build your case.
Compassion, Commitment & Listening Skills
It’s a common misconception that a personal injury lawyer should be aggressive, above all else. While this may look good in TV courtrooms, a skilled lawyer should know how to listen and actually care about your situation. You should feel comfortable that the lawyer has heard your story, understands what has happened, and is committed to fighting for you.
Most personal injury cases settle outside of a courtroom. Much of your lawyer’s time on your case will be spent negotiating with the insurance company and persuading them to the strength of the case they have built. Don’t be swayed by a lawyer who makes big claims and promises to secure a large settlement but doesn’t display strong communication skills; they may just be giving you a sales pitch without the skill to back it up.
If you have been hurt by someone else’s actions, you may have a personal injury case. Contact Attorney Brian White & Associates, P.C. today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Houston personal injury lawyers. We will help you understand your legal options and discuss our strategy for recovering maximum compensation for you.