If you need a personal injury lawyer in Hallandale, it’s easy to be overwhelmed—not only by the challenges of coping with your injuries, but also by the practical realities of communicating with the insurance company, gathering medical documents, and finding a lawyer who can competently represent your interests.
Not all personal injury lawyers in Hallandale are created equally. It might seem like a pain, but taking some time to explore your options before you sign a contract can save you plenty of time, money, and hassle. Here’s what you need to know before hiring a Hallandale personal injury attorney.
An attorney has to graduate law school to see clients, but he or she does not have to do anything special to market themselves as a personal injury lawyer. Anyone can call themselves a personal injury specialist, so don’t just take your lawyer’s word for it. Ask for examples of his or her most recent cases, and check out your lawyer’s website. If your lawyer specializes in 10-20 different areas of law, odds are good that there is not sufficient time for the lawyer to become an expert in even one of those areas!
While it’s certainly possible for a newly minted lawyer to get excellent results—indeed, that’s the only way anyone ever becomes an experienced lawyer!–lawyers who have practiced for years or for decades tend to get better outcomes. Not only do they have a keener understanding of the law; they also know the practical realities of personal injury litigation, such as which judges are more favorable to plaintiffs and which law firms are more likely to accept fair settlements. Perhaps even more important, the reputation of an experienced lawyer may help you get a larger initial settlement offer, since the other side may take your case more seriously.
Anyone can pay for positive online reviews, or offer their clients an incentive to leave these reviews. If you choose your lawyer based on reviews alone, you could be headed for disaster. Read reviews with skepticism, and know that no attorney can get a five-star review from every single client.
The law is a subjective undertaking. Just as two doctors might disagree about the best drug to treat your condition, two lawyers may disagree about how much your case is worth. This is especially true if one lawyer is more experienced than the other, or if one attorney simply undervalues your case because he or she does not want to work with you. Always seek a second opinion when a lawyer gives you an estimated case value, and know that even the best lawyers cannot predict a final verdict with 100% accuracy.
In an ideal world, you could easily and quickly litigate your personal injury claim. We don’t live in that world. Personal injury cases can be costly to litigate, particularly when you must travel to court or rely on the expertise of doctors and other expert witnesses. Experienced personal injury firms typically have a bevy of resources at their disposal that can cut costs. They may also be able to front the costs of paying expert witnesses, so that you’re not stuck paying these expenses on your own.
A zealous trial advocate is worth his or her weight in gold, to be sure, but most personal injury cases never make it to trial. You need someone who can advocate on your behalf in settlement negotiations, too—and that means hiring someone who is likable and capable of cultivating a good rapport with the other side. Someone who only fights with the other lawyers in the case may not have the interpersonal skills necessary to settle your case.
Good lawyers are excellent communicators who keep you updated on your case, and who explain legal issues in terms you can understand. Of course, good lawyers also have other clients. That means you can’t expect your attorney to spend all of his or her time on your case, and you may wait a couple of days to get a response. Focus on the substance of your lawyer’s responses—not on getting an immediate reply, or on always getting the answer you want to hear. You might not be overjoyed to hear that your case is worth less than you hope it is, but a good lawyer will tell you this without reservation.
Odds are good that people other than your lawyer—paralegals, secretaries, perhaps even other lawyers—will be working on your case. Ask who these people are, and if you can meet them. A trustworthy staff is vital to the success of your case, so make sure you trust the people with whom your lawyer works before you sign a contract.
Every state has its own Bar association charged with monitoring lawyer behavior and disciplining attorneys who break the law or harm their clients. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer in Hallandale, spend some time looking at the Florida Bar’s website. Don’t choose a lawyer who is currently disbarred, or who has a history of being disciplined by the Bar for unethical behavior.
Only choose a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. And where possible, select one who specializes in your specific type of case. Litigating a spinal injury claim is far different from litigation a pharmaceutical liability case. Ask your lawyer for a list of representative cases he or she has managed similar to yours, and look at the results. The best predictor of future outcomes is past performance. You deserve to know the quality of performance your lawyer offered in recent cases.