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What Should I Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

by | Jul 26, 2022 | Personal Injury |

Recovering from an accident is serious business, and you will need a personal injury lawyer who understands how to get you the biggest possible payout. Laws pertaining to injuries are complex, so you will want to choose a lawyer who is both knowledgeable and committed to your case. Before you even start looking, it’s important to understand the basics of choosing a personal injury lawyer in Houston or San Antonio.

What Should I Look for When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston or San Antonio?

Qualifications First

On a basic level, you need to choose a personal injury lawyer who is qualified to take on your case. In the U.S., every state has a bar association that certifies attorneys. The certification a lawyer receives after passing the bar exam is only valid in the state where he or she took the exam. Therefore, you should keep your search for a lawyer specific to the state where your injury occurred.

To validate your lawyer’s credentials, you can check your state bar association website for a directory of registered attorneys. As long as your personal injury lawyer of choice has not failed to pass the bar exam or been debarred, he or she should appear in the directory.

Specialty and Expertise

There is a reason we need lawyers when it comes to exercising our legal rights. The law is an incredibly complex field that is constantly changing and often open to interpretation. For that reason, you will want a lawyer who specializes in personal injury. If you choose a lawyer who practices in too many areas of the law, he or she might not have enough detailed knowledge of personal injury to serve you best.

When you are evaluating a personal injury lawyer, ask if he or she has argued similar cases to yours. If a friend refers you to a lawyer who primarily practices family law, employment law, or another type of law, you should take the recommendation with a grain of salt. Just because the lawyer was fabulous doesn’t necessarily mean he or she will be best for your case.

A Track Record of Taking On Insurance Companies

A large majority of personal injury claims are resolved outside of court between the injured party and the liable party’s insurance provider. Going up against big insurance companies is no small feat. Always remember that the insurance company’s goal is to minimize its payout to you in order to maximize its profits. You will want to work with a personal injury lawyer who has won numerous cases against insurance companies.

An insurance company might offer you a settlement even before you start working with a personal injury lawyer. You are not obligated to accept the first offer, and you should contact a lawyer before you reveal any information pertaining to your case. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can work to increase your payout by negotiating with the company directly or representing you in the event that your case goes to trial. You should choose a lawyer who is already familiar with the manipulative tactics insurance companies use.

The Ability to Identify All Your Eligible Damages

One of the best reasons to work with a personal injury lawyer is to learn which of the damages you suffered are eligible for compensation. Many people fail to maximize their payout simply because they are unaware of the fact that they were entitled to more money. For example, not everyone knows that you can often get compensated for injuries sustained in a car accident even if you had a pre-existing condition at the time of the crash.

Your personal injury lawyer should go through the details of your case carefully to identify all of your eligible damages, including the ones you may not have thought of yourself. In most personal injury cases, plaintiffs can be compensated for:

  • A visit to the ER
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Other medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Emotional damage
  • Pain and suffering

A Commitment to Helping You Recover

A good personal injury lawyer should recognize that your recovery isn’t just about money. If you are pursuing a personal injury case, you might be dealing with health problems and an inability to get to work. To make things easier, some personal injury lawyers will offer to help you find a doctor and coordinate transportation to and from work. Most importantly, your lawyer should keep you informed about your case in plain terms that take the stress out of navigating the legal system.

When you are dealing with physical and financial strain, it can be stressful to pay for a personal injury lawyer before you have even won the case. Most people find that it is preferable to work with a lawyer who operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning that the legal fees are taken as a percentage of the payout. When you hire a lawyer on a contingency fee basis, you will not pay anything unless your case is successful.

The Ability to Build a Strong Case

Compiling strong evidence for your case is very important when the person who harmed you is trying to downplay your injury. You will need to be able to show that the liable party’s negligent actions caused you harm, and you will need to back up any claims that your injury was detrimental to your health or finances.

In a personal injury case, evidence can take the form of footage, witness statements, documents, and physical objects. Your  personal injurty lawyer might look for surveillance cameras that captured the moment of the accident, or pictures documenting its aftermath. Medical bills and hospital records can show how badly you were injured and what your treatments cost. To prove the extent of your lost wages, your lawyer might compile tax documents and pay stubs, along with evidence showing you missed work.

Good Communication

Putting together strong arguments and working through the ins and outs of the claim submission process will require good communication between you and your lawyer. It is important to choose someone who keeps you well informed of deadlines, paperwork, and protocols. Your personal injury lawyer should make sure you understand all of your legal options so that you can make informed decisions.

What to Expect at the Free Consultation

The first time you meet with a personal injury lawyer is when you can really get a sense of his or her qualifications. You should be prepared to discuss the details of your case, including when the accident happened, how it occurred, where it was, and who was there at the time. Any documentation you can bring, including medical records, will be helpful. After learning more about your case, your lawyer will tell you whether or not you have grounds for a personal injury claim.

During the consultation, you can ask questions about the lawyer’s previous experience. If you choose to make the attorney-client relationship official, you will sign a form called the retainer or representation agreement.

Where to Find A Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston or San Antonio

The skill of your lawyer is one of the biggest factors that determine how much compensation you will get from a personal injury case. Whether you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash, a premises liability incident, or a work accident, our legal team is there to make sure you are able to exercise all of your legal rights. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer to help you maximize your payout, contact Joe A. Gamez Law Firm, PLC, today!