Personal injury cases are important because they help ensure you receive appropriate compensation. They also quickly become personal, especially if the court wants to see a comprehensive medical history.
With that in mind, you need a personal injury attorney in Florida, that you feel comfortable with, which means carefully investigating your options.
In 2021, over a fourth of all car accidents in Florida resulted in injuries, so you’re certainly not the only one in this situation.
To help you find a reputable, affordable lawyer, here are six mistakes to avoid when hiring a personal injury attorney.
Rushing to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
When you are recovering from an injury, you don’t necessarily feel up to thoroughly researching the best attorney.
That’s understandable. And it can feel natural to accept the first offer made to you by a flower-bearing lawyer who sympathizes with your case.
But you would never buy a car without test-driving it, and similarly, you should never hire a lawyer without thoroughly researching them first.
Before committing, you should always:
• Read client reviews
• Consult friends and family
• Research lawyer’s referral rate
Not Asking Enough Questions
Your research process should involve meeting your prospective lawyer and asking questions.
Sometimes it can be hard to know what to ask. Or perhaps you feel embarrassed by certain questions. You shouldn’t. A reputable lawyer strives for transparency. When you first meet, always ask:
• What will they charge
• When will they charge you
• How much compensation do they think you are due
• How long the case may take
• If they or someone else will represent you in court
• What is their legal experience
Not Prioritizing Lawyer’s Expertise
That last bullet point is important because no two types of law are the same.
You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist to give you an eye test, and you don’t want someone whose history is family law arguing your personal injury case.
Forgetting to Ask about Referrals
Another mistake to avoid when looking for a personal injury attorney is not asking for referrals.
Many people do their research and even go so far as to collect suggestions about personal injury attorneys from friends and family. That’s an excellent place to start. But what many people forget to ask for is attorney referrals.
An attorney referral rate tells you how many lawyers recommend the attorney you are researching to one another or their clients who need personal injury advice. It’s an excellent way to gauge success and performance. But unless you know a lawyer, it’s not something the layperson naturally considers investigating.
Paying Too Soon
Another mistake to avoid when hiring a personal injury attorney is that people pay upfront or before the case finishes.
A reputable personal injury attorney won’t expect you to pay until you receive compensation for your injuries.
You want to avoid lawyers that expect you to:
• Pay for an initial consultation
• Pay the case up-front
• Expect payment before the case resolves
That’s why, as awkward as asking about money can feel, it’s important that you broach the subject in your first meeting. It helps you assess the lawyer you are consulting and decide if they are the right person to represent your case.
Choosing a Lawyer Who Can’t or Doesn’t Communicate
The final mistake to avoid when hiring a personal injury attorney is undervaluing communication.
Legal jargon is notoriously confusing. You need an attorney that can help you parse your case’s progress at every step.
In addition to breaking court and legal proceedings down comprehensively, you also need an attorney who communicates regularly. You should expect advanced notice if your attorney wants to meet with you. And if they need you to bring them information they don’t have, like a comprehensive medical history, they need to communicate that, too.
Hiring a personal injury attorney can be daunting. It may not even be top of your priority list while you recover from your injuries.
When you do start looking into possible attorneys, avoiding these common mistakes will help you hire a personal injury attorney that gets you the compensation you deserve.