What to Look For When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Copyright (c) 2010 Benjamin Glass

Hiring a personal injury attorney should be considered just as serious of a decision as buying a new car or choosing an apartment to live in. These are decisions that are going to impact your life for a considerable amount of time. Unlike a car or an apartment, your choice of personal injury attorney can make the difference between a fairly settled personal injury claim and an insufficient settlement.

What Your Personal Injury Attorney Can Do for You

When filing a personal injury claim, there’s a substantial amount of paperwork to file, deadlines to meet, forms to submit and evidence to collect and present. This is just for a simple personal injury claim filed with your insurance company. When you get in deeper to the stage of personal injury lawsuits, things get more complicated. This is because documentation is needed and testimony may be required both from you and witnesses.

A good personal injury attorney that is experienced in these types of cases can be your greatest asset in your fight for a fair settlement for your damages. An attorney can help you through every step of the personal injury claim process, from the initial filing all the way through reviewing and accepting a settlement offer. Your personal injury attorney will know what to file for documentation, how to gather additional evidence and what to ask for in terms of damages.

Once your insurance company has offered a settlement, it’s not always a fair sum. The insurance companies always want to get out of a personal injury claim for the least amount of money. The settlement they will initially offer (if they offer one at all) will be grossly understated in most cases.

Your personal injury attorney will recognize an unfair settlement amount and help you negotiate for a more substantial sum that provides for your current medical expenses and personal losses, as well as compensates for future expenses.

How to Pick an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Years in practice does not equal experience when it comes to handling a personal injury claim. A personal injury attorney can be in practice for half a century and never have set foot in a courtroom. It’s true that there are many personal injury attorneys out there that are actually afraid of taking a personal injury claim to trial. They avoid the courtroom like the plague!

A personal injury attorney that is not willing to take your case to trial is not worth your time. They will often accept a low settlement amount from the insurance company just to avoid trial. Or if you do manage to pressure them into turning your personal injury claim into a lawsuit, they will hand your case off to another attorney who will go to trial.

You don’t want to have to deal with unconfident attorneys or with switching lawyers in the middle of your personal injury claim. One of the first things you should ask a potential personal injury attorney is how they handle claims that need to go to trial and their record of success in court.

Hiring Your Personal Injury Attorney is a Commitment

When you choose a personal injury attorney to handle your personal injury claim you need to remember that you are creating a long-term relationship. Many personal injury claims can go for months, even years, before they are settled. You should make sure you are comfortable working with your personal injury attorney before you decide to hire them.

Remember that no 2 attorneys are alike and that you cannot just rely on picking the largest ad out of The Yellow Pages or selecting the top name on an Internet lawyer database. Bring your case to a few attorneys for review before making a decision, as this can make or break your settlement chances.

Ben Glass is a personal injury attorney in Fairfax, Virginia. He is a frequent speaker on personal injury topics. Accident victims can download 31 Tips for Handling Your Own Virginia Accident Case at 31TipsFromBen.com
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