Getting the Right Help By Your Side: How to Choose a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer
Posted on Friday, April 5th, 2019 at 3:11 pm
Did you know only 3% of personal injury cases in the U.S are disposed of by trial? More than 96% of the cases get resolved before filing a lawsuit or in the middle of trial. However, whether you go to trial or opt for settlement, the personal injury lawyer you choose can make or break your case.
As you focus on recovering from the physical, emotional, or mental injury, it is also important to find the best legal representation in Seattle. The lawyer you choose will determine the direction of your case and amount of compensation you get for your injuries.
How do you begin the search for an attorney? How do you know you’ve found the right person for your case? Check out our top tips on how to choose a Seattle personal injury lawyer.
Check the Lawyer’s Specialty
Personal injury lawyers focus on torts that involve negligence. The common kinds of cases include the following:
- Auto and bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Brain and spinal cord injuries
- Slip and fall accidents
- Assault and battery
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
In a personal injury case, you have to show how the negligent acts of the defendant led to physical, emotional, or mental injuries. Without proof of negligence, you won’t receive compensation for the damages.
Thus, there’s a need to hire a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. Their knowledge and expertise in this area will be vital to the success of your case.
Look at Experience in Personal Injury Law
Experience determines the competence of your lawyer. An attorney who has successfully handled personal injury cases in the past is more likely to give you a win.
For example, a lawyer who has handled insurance adjusters before can negotiate a higher settlement amount for you. Similarly, one who has taken cases to trial knows how to tackle the defense and throw cold water on their claims.
Before hiring a lawyer, look into the cases they have handled in the past. What were the results of the cases? Get a lawyer who has a strong track record of winning personal injury cases.
As a precaution, avoid advocates who are new in the industry, especially if you have a complicated case such as wrongful death, medical malpractice or product liability. Also, stay away from attorneys who have lost more than 50% of their cases.
Check Lawyer’s Credibility
Besides checking a lawyer’s experience, you should verify their credibility as well. Do they have a valid legal license? Do they have any past disciplinary cases which would affect their performance?
Look up your lawyer on the Washington Bar Association’s site to check their bar status. They should also be licensed to operate in the state.
Check the website for client testimonials. Visit review sites to find out what previous clients are saying about the lawyer or their firm.
Interview Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer
After conducting due diligence on your prospective attorney, the next thing is to interview them. Doing this will help you to determine whether they are a suitable match for you.
Most personal injury lawyers offer the initial consultation for free. Thus, you can take advantage of this and interview two or three lawyers so you can find the best one to work with.
During the interview, focus on your case and how the attorney can help you get compensation for damages. Ask for their opinion on the case and how they would approach it. Also, inquire the following:
- The possibility of going into trial vs. getting a settlement
- The complexity of the case
- The need for getting expert witnesses
- An estimate of how long the case may take
- A range for the compensation amount
As you talk to the lawyer, gauge your level of comfort. Do you feel at ease with the attorney handling your case? Hire a lawyer who shows professionalism and competence while still making you feel comfortable around them.
Have Special Considerations in Mind
Are there any special considerations you have and would like your lawyer to meet them? Have them in mind when hiring an attorney for your personal injury case.
For example, due to busy schedules, many attorneys delegate work to a paralegal, secretary, or intake person. If you aren’t comfortable with this, let your lawyer know you’d prefer them to handle the case personally.
Would you like the attorney to inform you every time a settlement offer is made? Or would you opt for them to negotiate and come to you with the final offer? Let them know this as well.
Communicate your needs to your lawyer, and they will offer excellent services. Doing this will keep you at ease throughout the settlement or trial process.
Discuss Legal Fees
Most Seattle personal injury lawyers charge fees on a contingency basis. This is where the lawyer gets a specified commission from the compensation. If you lose the case, they won’t get paid for the services.
However, even though the fee is on a contingency basis, you still need to discuss other costs. The contingency fee is usually compensation for the lawyer’s work. You have to pay for other services such as the following:
- Research work
- Filing costs
- Discovery costs
Some attorneys ask you to pay out of pocket for these services. Others handle the charges and get a refund from the compensation money. Thus, you need to discuss how these expenses will be paid.
Review the Paperwork
When you hire a lawyer, they will provide some paperwork for you to sign. Once you append your signature, you’ll have entered into a contract.
Go over the paperwork and crosscheck the terms, legal fees, and scope of work of the lawyer before signing the contract. Don’t be afraid of asking for clarification if you find clauses you don’t understand.
This will protect your interests and save you from any misunderstandings with your attorney in the future.
Ready to Hire Your Personal Injury Lawyer?
Choosing a Seattle personal injury lawyer can be an exhausting task. However, you will rest assured that a competent attorney is handling your case.
If you are your loved one wants to make a personal injury claim, schedule a free consultation with us to learn what your options are.