Most people have no experience hiring a lawyer. But the lawyer you hire for your case can make a major difference in the outcome of your case. A good lawyer knows the laws in the relevant legal field. They also have experience with the procedures they must follow to resolve your claim.
For example, a personal injury lawyer practices tort law. This area of law determines what you must prove to recover compensation after an accident. You need someone familiar with tort law, insurance claim processing, and local court procedures to give yourself the best chance of winning or settling your case.
Finding and Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Stuart, FL
Most accident victims do not know where to start their search for an injury lawyer. As a result, they may hire a lawyer based on the billboards and TV commercials they see. But you should not assume that the lawyer with the most advertisements will provide the best representation for your personal injury case.
Instead, you should focus on finding a lawyer who matches your needs and expectations for your case. This process might take time and effort. But you will probably be more satisfied with the results your lawyer produces. You will also reduce the odds that you will need to change lawyers in the middle of your case.
Some steps you can take to find and hire a lawyer include:
Gather Names of Lawyers
You want a pool of high-quality lawyers to choose from. Some reliable sources for lawyers include:
A good source of names for your pool will come from other lawyers and judges. They will know about an injury lawyer’s professional reputation. They may have even worked with the lawyer on other cases.
A lawyer or judge will also have the knowledge and experience to evaluate a lawyer’s skills. If a judge gives you the names of good lawyers who have appeared in their courtroom, you know those lawyers will provide high-quality legal representation and courtroom advocacy.
Client referrals can also provide a valuable list of names for your candidate pool. Clients can give you the perspective of how it was to work with the lawyer. They can also tell you which lawyers to avoid.
Some lawyer directories do not evaluate the lawyers listed. Instead, they simply include all the lawyers who pay for a listing.
But other directories evaluate and rate the lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell, for example, surveys peers for its lawyer ratings. The surveyed peers rate the lawyer according to their legal knowledge and ethics.
Research the Lawyers
Once you have a list of candidates, conduct background research. In particular, look for any ethical violations or disciplinary cases filed against the lawyer. The Florida Bar maintains a public database of disciplinary records. You can use this tool to make sure the lawyers on your list have clean records.
Schedule Free Consultations
Almost all Stuart personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation to new clients. This consultation serves two purposes. First, the lawyer can listen to your story and evaluate your case. This evaluation helps lawyers avoid taking cases they cannot win.
Lawyers also have an ethical duty to tell you if you have no case. As a result, you can avoid spending time and effort on a case where the laws or the facts do not favor you.
Second, free consultations allow you to interview lawyers. Every lawyer has unique experiences and backgrounds that may prove valuable in your case. You should use free consultations to learn what qualifies a lawyer to help you.
Interview the Lawyers
When you meet lawyers for free consultations, you should have a list of prepared questions. You will only have a limited amount of time for your consultation, and you will want to use your time efficiently so you can cover all the questions you have.
Some questions you should consider asking include:
What Experience Do You Have with My Type of Case?
Experience matters. But the lawyer’s experience must be relevant to your case. For example, a lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice cases might not have the right experience to handle your car accident claim.
Different types of cases will often involve different insurance companies, notice requirements, and even statutory deadlines. And lawyers who focus on a particular type of case often only have expert witnesses for those cases.
How Much Do You Charge?
Injury lawyers typically charge a contingent fee. This means you will not need to pay any upfront fees to hire a lawyer. You will only pay fees after the lawyer wins or settles your case.
But different lawyers charge different amounts. You should discuss the lawyer’s fee before hiring them. This discussion will help you avoid disputes over fees later on during the representation.
Who Will Handle My Case?
In most cases, the lawyer you meet will handle your case. But occasionally, you will meet with a law firm partner who passes the case to an associate. As a result, you might not receive the benefit of the partner’s knowledge, skills, and experience.
Do I Have Any Impending Deadlines?
All states have statutes of limitations to prevent accident victims from bringing up old cases. In 2023, Florida’s legislature passed several changes to the statutes of limitations. When you discuss your case with the lawyer, make sure you understand which limits apply to your situation and when your case deadlines expire.
If you speak to a few lawyers soon after your accident, you should have plenty of time to decide which one to hire. But if your case has impending deadlines, you might need to make a quick hiring decision.
Hiring the Right Stuart Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case
The right lawyer for your case will be the one who can work with you. This means you need to feel good about your ability to communicate with the lawyer. You must also know the lawyer understands your goals for the case and will fight for your best interests.
Contact Kibbey Wagner Injury & Car Accident Lawyers Stuart for a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help you reach your goals for your personal injury claim at (772) 444-7000.