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What should I look for in an injury lawyer?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Before choosing a Florida personal injury attorney for your civil lawsuit in Melbourne or Titusville, there are a few questions that should be initially asked:

  • How long would you estimate it'll take for this case to complete?
  • Are you familiar with personal injury law in Florida?
  • Have you ever worked on personal injury cases similar to mine before?
  • Why do you believe I can win this personal injury case?
  • Why would hiring you be more beneficial than just filing a claim on my own?

Some attorneys might seem frustrated answering questions such as these, especially if their resume is full of personal injury cases. However, the reason questions like these are asked is twofold: to find out the qualifications of the lawyer and to see how well the two (or more) of you communicate. There is nothing more frustrating for a client than to have a lawyer that will not clearly explain things for them. So if even answering basic questions like these lead to the (potential) client feeling more uncertain than confident in the case, this may be the sign needed to look elsewhere. No one wants to hire the personal injury lawyer who always loses the case, but finding one that the client is not timid to talk to matters as well.

Why do I need an attorney for a civil suit?

The World Wide Web has turned some into self-diagnosing their own illnesses and convincing themselves that they can try their own case. Becoming more familiar with a legal case or Florida law is never a bad thing, but when choosing a personal injury lawyer, if the client finds him or herself informing the legal professional of information that should be widely known, this also may be a sign that this is the wrong personal injury lawyer for this case. However, there is a big difference between knowing random legal facts that don't relate to the case versus widely known information (ex. not knowing the statute of limitations is four years for most personal injury cases or why a medical malpractice case should be filed by Year 2). Just as a client has a right to pick what is believed to be the best personal injury lawyer for that case, lawyers also have the right to choose cases they're confident in. If the lawyer seems unusually hesitant about the case, take note of that behavior and respectfully move on to the next person.

Lastly, ask about an estimated time it should take to handle the personal injury case. Research, filing, evidence (audio and/or visual proof), medical bills and transcriptions, etc., may all be factors in working on a case. While the time frame to get certain things (ex. transcriptions, video footage) are easy enough to estimate, other documentation may be out of the lawyer's hands. For example, a hospital taking an extended time to send medical records may influence how quickly a legal case can be resolved. However, don't let a case become costly and unnecessarily long because the law firm simply doesn't have the time or resources to keep track of the case. If the lawyer has too many clients at one time, this could cause unnecessary frustration. All clients should have the right to receive timely responses for reasonable requests, even for the busiest of attorneys.

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