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what to look for in personal injury attorney

There is an abundance of personal injury attorneys in New Rochelle, NY, and the surrounding areas, but you shouldn’t just choose to retain the first one you find. You want to find one that will increase the chances of your desired outcome and make the process as stress-free as possible. As you sort through the various options for finding a top personal injury attorney in New Rochelle, NY, keep the following factors in mind:

Experience Level

One of the first things to look for in a personal injury attorney is years of experience. While their overall experience as a lawyer is essential, paying attention to their experience with personal injury cases can be just as important.

You may also want to ask what percentage of their cases are related to personal injury law, such as auto accidents, slip and fall, wrongful death, negligence and more. Remember that having more experience specific to your case means that the relevant laws and potential arguments are fresh in their mind.

On this note, the more experience they have with cases similar to yours, the better. For example, if you or your loved ones were injured as the result of a car accident, look for lawyers with experience dealing with injuries suffered from an accident or negligence. If it happened at work, look for a lawyer with experience dealing with workplace injuries.  It might also be helpful to look for an injury lawyer who has handled similar cases to yours.  This will mean your lawyer knows how your injuries are likely to affect you in the future. That, in turn, should help them ensure you get the appropriate compensation.

Qualifications

Take a minute to confirm that your chosen lawyer has the qualifications they claim. This is as simple as doing a quick internet search or checking the local Bar Associations or attorney roster for the State of New York. If the lawyer claims to have earned awards or have other memberships, quickly confirm those as well.

References and Recommendations

You should always choose a lawyer who is well respected and has favorable reviews. The easiest way to find someone who fits this requirement is to ask friends and family for recommendations. You can also ask lawyers you already know who specialize in different areas.

A recommendation coming from another lawyer is exceptionally high praise. After all, the reputation of the recommended lawyer can come back to affect that of the recommender. Importantly, it can reflect poorly on their judgment or critical thinking skills.

You can also look online for recommendations and reviews. Just remember that there will likely be some fake reviews mixed in. As such, use your best judgment to filter out the reviews that are clearly made-up.

Clear Fees

As you consider personal injury lawyers, be sure to ask about their fees. Many personal injury lawyers will work on a contingency basis. This means that you only pay them if you win, and they will take a percentage of your settlement as their contingency fee. Some may charge an hourly fee or a set rate if your case is too small for your settlement to be enough. The important thing here is that you understand how much you will have to pay and in what situations you might have to pay out-of-pocket.

Who Handles Your Case?

Be sure to also consider who will take care of your case. If you work with a small personal injury law firm, then there may just be a single lawyer. In that case, you will know that they are the lawyer that handles your case. However, there will still be some aspects of the personal injury claim that a paralegal or other members of a legal team may handle.

In the case of a firm with multiple lawyers, it is more important to know who will handle your case. It is not uncommon for senior lawyers to work on more challenging aspects of the case, while those with less experience handle other tasks.

It is entirely normal for simpler or more routine tasks related to your case to be handled by paralegals or new lawyers. However, you want to confirm that someone with more experience will handle the important aspects of your case. An experienced lawyer should also be overseeing the case to ensure those simpler aspects are done correctly.

Communication

You also want to think about communication with your lawyer. The good news is that you can get a good feel for this as you try to decide which one to work with. After all, you will have to interact with them to gather basic information and book your first consultation. Pay attention to the timeliness of their communication as well as their clarity, professionalism, and friendliness. You want to work with a lawyer you can trust to keep you informed and have your best interests in mind. They should also be willing to listen and explain things to you using terms that you understand.

Your Preferences for the Process

Part of your communication with the lawyer should involve confirming that they are willing to handle the claim in the way you prefer. The best lawyers will explain your options and then let you decide which route to take. They may strongly recommend an approach but will ultimately follow your preferences. A good lawyer will also do their best to adapt to the process if you change your mind in the future. Of course, you need to acknowledge that sometimes they will not be able to change approaches, at least not without additional expenses.

To give you an idea of the preferences, these can range from getting a settlement within a given time period while minimizing costs and hassle to receiving fair compensation for your pain and suffering, regardless of how long it will take. There is also the option of getting more than the original offer from the insurance company as soon as possible.

Expectations

Before choosing a personal injury lawyer, be sure to ask about their expectations for your case. If you don’t like what they have to say, then consider another lawyer. Of course, you want to ask about the expected award, settlement, or compensation you will receive. You should also ask how long they expect the process to take.  After the case begins, you may also want to ask about whether the injury attorney believes there will be a settlement or if it will go to trial. You should always confirm that your lawyer is prepared to take your case to trial if necessary.

One of the reasons to talk to an accident injury lawyer as soon as possible is to avoid missing the statute of limitations. In New York, generally the statute of limitations is three years for injuries from a car accident. It is just two years if someone dies in an accident also known as wrongful death.