Posted in Our Blog on April 16, 2023
It can happen to any of us at any time; someone sustains catastrophic injuries through no fault of their own, with far-reaching consequences lasting months or years. Plaintiffs only have one chance to seek compensation from the negligent party. There are no “do-overs,” particularly because a personal injury lawsuit has a one-year statute of limitations in Louisiana.
So it pays to find the right personal injury lawyer who can build a strong case, advocate on behalf of the victim, and get them the best compensation possible. Several things should be considered when seeking the best personal injury lawyer, as it is overwhelming to go through each and every one of attorneys. For help navigating the process, here are some helpful tips.
The most trustworthy sources for researching a personal injury lawyer’s qualifications are those that rate or review them based on what their peers or competitors say about them. For example, the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry has been publishing short biographies of legal community members in the United States for over 130 years.
Lawyers listed on the Best Lawyers in America website are thought to be experts in 57 different fields, including personal injury and medical malpractice law. Super Lawyers boasts a list of exceptional attorneys who have achieved a high level of peer approval and professional success in more than 70 practice areas.
Word of mouth remains the most effective resource for a personal injury (PI) lawyer—a concept known as “social proof.” Perhaps you recall your neighbor working with their attorney on a personal injury case a few years back. They have nothing but positive things to say about their legal representation. Wouldn’t you hire this type of attorney?
A personal testimonial and recommendation from a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member will be more influential than an advertisement. This adds to your preliminary lists of prospective lawyers to interview before making an onboarding decision.
Different people react differently to a lawyer’s style and personality. Do not choose a legal representative based solely on one person’s endorsement before speaking with a couple of lawyers about the case to determine who feels most comfortable to work with. Luckily, many lawyers offer a free consultation for an initial meeting.
Another source of finding an experienced personal injury lawyer is from other lawyers. Litigators habitually refer cases to one another, and most have a network of personal injury experts. Referrals work because they’re built on integrity. People don’t send friends, clients, and relatives to untrustworthy or unscrupulous lawyers. However, as with references from friends or acquaintances, do not rely on another lawyer’s recommendation as the final word before interviewing a list of potential candidates.
Various types of personal injury law exist. They include traffic accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, nursing home abuse, assault, mass tort, boat crushes, and dog bites. Examine the degree to which their practice is specialized. While nothing prevents a divorce lawyer from taking on a personal injury case, the attorney should have extensive experience in this field and be passionate about their specialty.
If a case involves a road collision, for example, the personal injury lawyer should be specialized in cases involving auto, bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, delivery drivers, commercial vehicles, or Uber and Lyft accidents. In Louisiana, there are thousands of personal injury attorneys; unfortunately, not all operate at the same level of excellence.
Some law firms work on a high volume, high turnover basis, and take on hundreds of cases, settle them as quickly as possible, then move on to the next batch. A seasoned personal lawyer should have a track record of obtaining favorable client settlements and judgments. They should be happy to present customer testimonials to back up their claims.
Seek out an attorney who gives each client individual attention and is patient enough to assertively negotiate a fair settlement amount with the opposing party. The best personal injury lawyers will not charge anything until a case is won. Most Louisiana personal injury lawyers work on contingency and only take a cut of the payoff after winning a case. This is a good payment model because it motivates the attorney to succeed.
Over 1.3 million lawyers are in the U.S ready to handle any legal fix. Your chances of winning or losing a PI case majorly depend on the legal representation. It’s therefore, imperative to do your due diligence on any lawyer you onboard—every law firm or attorney has a brand built on their track record, reputation, and personal approach to cases. A great way to determine whether a lawyer is a good fit is to meet in person and discuss potential strategies for handling a personal injury claim.
Bring copies of any police incident reports generated following the accident, including all medical records and bills related to the injury claim. Carry proof of any income loss or other financial harm caused by the accident and injuries, including correspondence with the insurance company. Use the initial meeting to learn about the lawyer, such as what percentage of the practice involves personal injury cases and whether they regularly represent plaintiffs or defendants.
Consult the services of a personal injury attorney; they have a better understanding of the laws applicable in such cases. They should also have access to expert witnesses, accident reconstruction analysts, medical professionals, etc., to build a strong case. It is also critical to carefully read the fine print when hiring a new attorney to clearly understand any payment models employed, so there are no surprises later.
Understandably, plaintiffs want to know where and how long it will take to settle an accident claim. Unless the case is complex with no clear “winner” or “loser,” at least 95% of personal injury lawsuits end in a pre-trial settlement. This is why having a seasoned attorney present during settlement negotiations is extremely beneficial. Individuals starting the lawyer search and wanting to reach out to a few prospective attorneys can use these tips to connect with the right personal injury lawyer. Contact the firm today at (504) 500-5000 or at our website to schedule an appointment.