If you've suffered a personal injury through the fault of another, you may be out of work, overwhelmed with piles of medical bills, or in constant pain and agony. Under any of these circumstances, researching, locating, and retaining the best lawyer to handle your personal injury claim in court can seem like yet one more insurmountable obstacle. There are, however, some guidelines that can help you select the right personal injury lawyer. With the right advocate on your side, you can breathe a sigh of relief and let someone else carry at least part of your burden, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
It is also important to consider an attorney local to the Finger Lakes region. Welch Donlon & Czarples PLLC services Corning, Elmira, Ithaca, Bath, Hornell, Penn Yan, and Watkins Glen. We have successfully taken cases in all of the above locations and are familiar with the local judges in each region.
One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a personal injury lawyer is whether the lawyer has experience in and concentrates his or her legal practice on personal injury law. Attorneys with personal injury law as their primary focus have a decided advantage in that they understand the complexities of the area, can more easily keep abreast of the latest developments and ever-evolving laws, and are more likely to know the habits and tactics of opposing counsel - all of which can give their clients an edge over defendants. Plaintiffs' lawyers with demonstrated experience dealing with insurance companies and their lawyers may have also gained credibility with opposing parties, and thus have less of an uphill battle in order to achieve an equitable settlement on their clients' behalf.
Another factor worth considering is whether a particular personal injury lawyer has experience trying cases and winning substantial verdicts. Although most personal injury claims are settled out of court, knowing that an attorney is a skilled litigator can add an additional dimension to the client's overall sense of security. And if the case does fail to settle, strong and shrewd litigation skills can almost certainly precipitate a better outcome for the plaintiff. We publish the large results we have achieved in this website as a way of assuring you that we know our business and how to generate good results, again those results not being any guarantee on how your case may end up.
Another consideration is what might be defined as "happy balance." There is no question that a good trial lawyer is one who zealously takes on opponents. Yet there can be excesses. A lawyer who tries every case is going to be either (a) spread awfully thin or (b) very delayed in getting cases back at the office moving along - most likely including your own. Furthermore, it is often foolish to risk what a jury may assess when a fair offer has been made.
On the other hand, if (1) a lawyer is known for always "settling up" or (2) there is a lot of pressure to move cases along in a large volume practice, the insurance company may know that they can pay less than top dollar. All the carrier needs to do is (a) wait for the hard work of trial preparation to begin or (b) depend on your lawyer's nervousness over walking into a courtroom. Thus, having a lawyer who will try a case and has a reputation for doing it well is an invaluable asset.
Finally, personal injury trial attorneys are an interesting blend, as they have to (a) know their law but also (b) know medical issues. They as well have to (c) know how to associate with jurors who, in the end, will be the people who will decide your case. If your attorney also has the reputation of being a genuinely good person, you are way ahead when it comes to having the right lawyer in your corner. Like a good stock in the stock market, the best payoffs usually come with what/who you have "hitched your star to".
Some larger firms offer a multi-member team approach which can have its advantages. Also, a large firm may sound big and powerful. Keep in mind, however, that the insurance company rates case value on the individual lawyer who will be bringing the case to trial. Some large firms do have excellent counsel but these same attorneys can be reserved for battling only the relatively few large multi-million dollar cases.
Smaller firms in a smaller city have a distinct advantage for the consumer in the sense that (a) you will be represented by the same lawyer you expected would be your advocate and (b) that lawyer knows his/her local reputation is on the line every case.
Also keep in mind that a local attorney may know what a jury in his particular locale may do - a key benefit in deciding whether to take the insurance carrier's top offer.
You may also want to do a little homework on the attorney's support staff. These are the people who help line up witnesses, keep deadlines from passing and who relay messages to the attorney. A weak link anywhere can affect a successful outcome. In a larger firm it is not always easy to know who will be dealing with your file.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingent-fee basis, under which the client pays a fee only if he or she wins the case. In New York State typical contingent fees are 33-1/3% of the amount of damages recovered; if no damages are recovered, no legal fees are due, but costs may still need to be paid.
Many personal injury lawyers provide initial consultations free of charge. Care should be taken to make your selection of counsel in a relatively short period of time, since the law provides strict limits on the time periods in which claims may be made and/or when suit may be brought. Moreover, it is often critical to obtain and preserve evidence shortly after the accident occurs.
Once engaged an attorney should be responsive to the client's needs, answering questions satisfactorily, returning phone calls, and, most importantly, representing the client's interests zealously. If at any time a client is dissatisfied with his or her counsel, the client should be able to change attorneys without penalty.
Dealing with a personal injury, potential income loss, almost certain medical bills, and the resulting stress and anxiety can be overwhelming. One way to alleviate some of the immediate pressure and ensure the most favorable long-term consequences is to select a personal injury attorney who is experienced, skilled, and responsive to his or her clients' needs. Experienced personal injury attorneys can take care of your legal needs so that you can focus your energies on your recovery. They may even be able to help you secure interim benefits to which you are legally entitled and this may be well in advance of resolution of your lawsuit. In short, if you have been injured, contact the right lawyer as soon as possible.
Address: 8 Denison Parkway East,
Suite 203, Corning, New York 14830
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice regarding your own situation. To schedule a free consultation in Corning, Elmira, Hornell, Horseheads, or anywhere in the Finger Lakes call us today.