Few things are as difficult as losing a loved one. The life complications which can stem from a wrongful death may seem insurmountable. While nothing can give you back what you have lost, it is important that you take immediate steps to get your life back on track. Choosing the right personal injury attorney to assist you is one of those steps. This article is meant to provide tips to help you make sure that you are choosing the “right” lawyer. If you or a family member are in need of assistance, contact our office today.
We will address four aspects to consider when you are choosing an attorney to represent you. These aspects are:
- The need to hire a firm that focuses on personal injury law
- The need to hire a firm with adequate financial resources
- Retaining a law firm that will handle both the “pre-litigation” and litigation phase
- The need to research the law firm prior to retention
Each of these points will be discussed in turn.
Retain a Law Firm that Focuses on Personal Injury Law
There are law firms that practice heavily or exclusively in the area of personal injury law. There are many other firms that take personal injury cases but do not have an emphasis on the area. These firms often include solo practitioners with a generalized practice or small firms that primarily practice in areas such as family law or criminal defense. While any licensed attorney can represent you, it can be beneficial to retain a firm that focuses on personal injury.
Personal injury cases involve several aspects which simply are not as common to other areas of law. These include the fact that such cases may involve numerous parties on the other side. This is not true in, say, a divorce. Also, other areas of law do not have to deal with the issue of comparative fault, where the jury may apportion part of the liability to the plaintiff and part to the defendant(s). This is different from a criminal case, where a defendant is either guilty or not guilty. It is also different from most non-personal injury civil litigation, where a party is either liable or not liable. Finally, personal injury matters can involve the use of numerous expert witnesses. These can include accident reconstructionists who will testify in regard to liability, medical experts who will testify as to a victim’s chances of recovery, and an economist who will testify as to how the injury has impacted the victim’s earning ability. The use of experts are far less common in other areas of law and it is quite rare for more than one expert to ever be utilized in a non-personal injury case.
If you retain an attorney who does not have an emphasis on personal injury law then you run the risk of having counsel who is not experienced in handling the types of issues just described. This has the potential to be detrimental to your case.
Retain a Firm With the Necessary Resources
Personal injury cases are different from many other legal matters in that the attorney does not get paid until your case settles or until you prevail at trial. Also, a personal injury attorney will often pay substantial costs upfront during the handling of your case. These costs can include expert witness fees, discovery costs, investigator expenses, and more. It is important that you retain a firm with the resources necessary to pay these various costs and to see your case through to completion. Retaining a firm without the necessary resources can result in your attorney having to withdraw in the middle of your case. Worse, it can result in your matter being handled without adequate resources having been devoted to it. This can hurt your chances of gaining the compensation you deserve.
While no attorney should take a case that they lack the resources to handle, the truth of the matter is that some law firms get in “over their heads” when taking wrongful death cases. When you are interviewing potential counsel, it is important that you inquire as to the firm’s level of financial resources.
Retain a Firm Which Will Handle the Case From Beginning to End
There are some personal injury firms that consider themselves “pre-litigation” only. This means that the attorney will take your case and attempt to reach a settlement with the insurance carriers. The process of settlement negotiation may go on for some time. If such a firm cannot reach a settlement, it will then refer the matter to another law firm that will handle the litigation. This means, from your perspective, that you would have to switch lawyers in the middle of the case. Retaining a firm that handles both the pre-litigation and litigation aspects of the matter can ensure that you have one firm representing you throughout the process.
Research the Firm Prior to Retaining Them
It is important to research the firm’s track record prior to hiring them. A first step in doing so is to contact the State Bar of Florida and determine whether the potential attorney has ever been reprimanded for professional misconduct. Also, using online review sites such as Google and Yelp can be of assistance as they allow you to see feedback from the firm’s former clients. This type of research can be of great assistance when deciding whether a certain lawyer should be permitted to handle your case.
Call Our Office to Speak With a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney
It is understandable that you are grief-stricken if you have recently lost a young one. Retaining the right lawyer means that counsel can focus on the legal issues while you focus on moving your life forward. Our firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims and we are proud of the level of representation which we offer. If you require assistance, contact us online or by telephone at 800-780-8607 to speak with a Florida wrongful death attorney.