If you have been involved in an accident, then you need to find a personal injury attorney. You will face insurance adjusters whose job it will be to settle your claim for as little as possible. As a result, you need to find a personal injury attorney that will maximize your recovery while avoiding the unscrupulous ambulance chasers.
Specifically, you need to know what to ask the attorney so that you can properly evaluate whether he has the experience and expertise to litigate your claim. Finally, you need to understand how personal injury attorneys are paid so that you can intelligently negotiate a fee agreement that is reasonable and fair. If you take a moment to read this short guide, you will arm yourself with information that will be crucial in selecting a personal injury lawyer that you can trust to maximize your recovery.
The insurance adjuster has a duty to the insurance company to settle your claim for as little as possible. As a result, many adjusters engage in a number of unfair tactics designed to wear you down and skew the evidence in their favor. Specifically, adjusters will often contact accident victims quickly after an accident to get a “recorded statement.” While it seems like the adjuster is simply being helpful, he knows that many accident victims do not realize the extent of their injuries until months after the accident.
Furthermore, adjusters attempt to drag out the handling of the claim because they know that, over time, evidence gets lost, you might miss important deadlines and, most of all, you will give up and settle. Now, do you understand how to find a personal injury attorney.
Personal injury attorneys practice a specialized form of civil trial law. Many states recognize personal injury law as a specialization or certification. So, finding a personal injury attorney using the telephone book or television commercial is not a good idea. Instead, find an attorney by asking for a referral from a trusted friend or relative.
Then, research the candidate using the internet to review firm websites, attorney search services and state bar websites. Once you have a potential personal injury lawyer, conduct an interview to determine the level of expertise and experience, the size and capability of the law firm and any certifications held by members of the firm. Once you have selected an attorney, you need to have a frank discussion about how the attorney is going to recover compensation for his services.
The contingency fee puts the best personal injury attorneys within reach of every American. Under a contingency fee arrangement, the attorney pays the costs of litigation up front and the client pays nothing. When the case settles, the attorney recovers his costs plus a percentage (33% to 40%) of the net proceeds. If the case is lost, the client owes nothing.
If the case has questionable merit, the attorney might offer to take the case on a modified contingency fee. In this instance, the client will front a portion of the costs as a retainer. If the case settles, the client gets his costs first and then the balance is split between the attorney and the client. The client should demand that the attorney take a smaller percentage as attorney’s fees because he or she is not taking all of the risk in the event of a loss. Lastly, if the attorney does not believe the case has merit, he should tell you so. Filing a frivolous personal injury claim can cause you and the attorney to be sanctioned.
Do you understand why it is so important to find a personal injury attorney to represent your interests. Do not agree to talk to an insurance adjuster until you have talked to a qualified personal injury attorney. Find an attorney by getting a referral and doing research on the internet.
Discuss the attorney’s method of compensation early and get the agreement in writing. So, put this information to use and you should be able to find a personal injury attorney that will maximize the recovery for you and your family.
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