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What to Consider Before Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

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After being injured in an accident, you will need to find a competent and skilled attorney to represent you. Insurance companies are well represented by attorneys, and you should have the same if not better caliber of representation. When evaluating a law firm to take your case, here are few considerations to take into account.

Trial Experience

Most people want to avoid trial and settle their cases, but your threat to the insurance company is that if they do not make you a reasonable offer, then you will take your case to trial. To gain the most leverage during settlement negotiations you need to have a credible threat that you will have a skilled trial attorney representing you at trial.

The fact is, a lot of attorneys that practice personal injury have practically no trial experience whatsoever. Insurance companies know this, and if your attorney does not have the experience taking cases to trial and succeeding, your offer for a settlement will reflect that.

If your attorney has little if any trial experience, your “threat” to the insurance company to take the matter to trial is a hollow threat, and your settlement offer will reflect it. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they know which law firms are capable of taking personal injury cases to trial and succeeding.

Ask your attorney about his or her firm’s experience in taking cases to trial. The more experienced and successful trial attorneys you have at your disposal will likely result in a higher settlement offer as well as the ability to successfully represent you at trial if the insurance company decides to play hard ball.

At Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP all of our attorneys are seasoned trial attorneys. In fact, it has been a hallmark of the training at our firm that our attorneys have the necessary trial experience to represent their clients, evaluate cases, and make credible threats to the insurance company.

Experience in Personal Injury Cases

Attorneys practice many different kinds of law, and making sure that the law firm you choose has experience representing people in personal injury cases is important. There are many unique issues to be considered in a personal injury case, and it is important that your attorney understands those issues. The best way to determine your prospective attorney’s experience is to ask questions:

  1. How many cases like these have you or your firm handled?
  2. Can you explain the procedure of the case and how long it will take?
  3. What will be considered in order to arrive at a settlement or verdict?
  4. What expert witnesses, if any, will be required?

Cost

Most attorneys take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that the attorneys’ fees are a percentage of the settlement or verdict if the matter proceeds to trial. Typically, the percentage increases if the matter proceeds to trial simply because the firm will incur more work and costs to take the matter to trial.

Additionally, your attorney will incur expenses such as depositions, expert witness fees, costs of obtaining medical records, and travel. These expenses are typically paid for by the lawyer, and then they are reimbursed after the case has settled or a verdict is returned in your favor.

It is also an industry standard that if your attorney is unsuccessful in obtaining a settlement or verdict on your behalf that you do not owe any attorneys’ fees. Therefore, any firm that makes a big deal about advertising that the firm only gets paid if you win are advertising a well-established industry practice. In short, your attorney is taking a financial risk that he or she will be successful in representing you in your case.

Before you hire a law firm for your personal injury case, make sure you understand the terms of the representation, who will pay for what, and how funds will be dispersed after settlement or verdict on your behalf.

Experience and Knowledge of Expert Witnesses

A lot of personal injury cases require expert witnesses to testify as to how the accident happened, who was at fault, the severity of your injuries, and the impact your injuries will have over the long term. Making sure the attorney you hire has experience in developing expert witness testimony as well as a solid network of professionals to call upon means that your case will be given the attention that it deserves.

Having represented personal injury clients since 1981, the attorneys at Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP have developed the knowledge and experience required to make sure expert witnesses are identified and employed whenever necessary. Our firm has dealt with experts including biomechanical experts, accident reconstructionists, aviation experts, medical professionals, and economists to just name a few. We have been in the industry long enough to know which expert witnesses will provide the best analysis to strengthen your arguments.

Experience in State and Federal Courts

Most personal injury cases are handled in state courts. However, there are instances – especially when suing a large corporate entity – that you may find your case in federal court. As a general rule, it is better for plaintiff to be in state court; however, there are laws that govern which court has jurisdiction, and sometimes federal court is unavoidable. The attorneys Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP have experience in both state and federal courts and will be happy to explain to you the procedural differences you can expect in both.

At Boren, Oliver & Coffey, LLP, we believe that as a client, you have a right to feel comfortable with your attorney. We have found effective communication is one of the best ways to make sure that our clients are informed during the entire process, and given the best information to feel comfortable with any of settlement that they may accept or their decision to proceed to trial. If you or a loved one have a personal injury case and would like us to review it, contact our office for free consultation.