Don't base your decision to use a lawyer on what the insurance agent says or the amount of money they initially offer you.
You really may not need or want, an attorney involved in your claim. If you have experienced a minor impact accident, have less than $5,000 in medical expenses, have recovered completely, and have lost little or no time from work, you probably have a what is known as a small claim.
In a small claim, the attorney fees and costs might leave you little or nothing after your medical bills are paid.
How to Find a Lawyer
If you decide you need an attorney, how do you choose a good personal injury lawyer?
I suggest the following criteria:
- Seek an attorney with knowledge and experience. How many auto accident claims has the lawyer actually handled and how many years have they concentrated on this type of claim? Personal injury is a specialized area of the law, and it requires years of education, training, and experience. Even if the lawyer is seasoned, if they practice in many different areas of the law without really focusing on personal injury auto accidents, look elsewhere.
- Look for someone with a good reputation for honesty and professionalism. Are they accredited by the Better Business Bureau? Do they have at least a "very good" rating on AVVO, which rates lawyers for experience, industry recognition, and professional conduct? Can they provide real testimonials where clients remark about the attorney's character and credibility?
- Be suspicious of grand promises. Does the lawyer sound "questionable"? Do they make promises to you early on about how much your claim is worth or give you inflated guarantees about the outcome of your claim? Experienced, knowledgeable, ethical attorneys simply don't do this.
- Find someone who cares about you. Does the lawyer seem genuinely interested and compassionate about your medical condition? If the lawyer isn't encouraging you to get excellent medical care and not asking how your condition is progressing – that's a problem. Your talks shouldn't just be about money. No amount of money will replace your good health.
- Ask for information to help you make an informed decision. Can the lawyer supply you with useful, free information about this area of the law and what issues you should be concerned about? You really shouldn't have to pay for this information or have to travel to the attorney's office to receive the initial information. Lawyers should be able to send you information guides, a book, DVDs, or CDs upon your request. If the lawyer is pushing you to sign a contract for representation first, be skeptical.
- Look for results. You want to hire someone who is known for negotiating fair and prompt settlements. Ask for testimonials and check out their reviews on AVVO.
There are a lot of attorneys out there who "tout" themselves to be personal injury lawyers, but the team at Steffens Law has the knowledge and experience necessary to help you resolve your case. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
7 Secrets to a Successful Nebraska Injury Claim