If you have been injured in an accident, you’ll want to know how to choose the best Tampa personal injury lawyer to represent you. You would not visit a dentist to fix a broken leg. Likewise, you would not want to hire a business attorney to handle your personal injury case. But there’s more to it than that.
Personal injury attorneys help when you have been injured due to another person’s negligence. However, not all personal injury lawyers will be suitable for your case. You should locate an experienced personal injury attorney who understands your case and can get you the compensation you deserve.
Research Tampa Attorneys
You should research the attorneys you are considering for your case. You can follow the steps below to find the Tampa personal injury attorney for your case.
Step One – Understand your case.
If you have been injured in an accident, you know that you need a personal injury lawyer to handle your case. But there are many personal injury attorneys in Tampa. How do you know which one is right for your case?
You first need to know what kind of personal injury case you have. A personal injury
attorney who handles only car accidents would not be best suited for a slip-and-fall case. Likewise, an attorney who handles simple car accident injury cases would probably not be the best choice for a catastrophic eighteen-wheeler case.
You’ll want to consider a lawyer’s experience handling your specific type of case. Many personal injury attorneys handle small cases that involve relatively minor injuries rather than handling cases involving severe injuries. If your case involves injuries that are severe or that may be life-altering, you want a Tampa personal injury lawyer who has experience handling catastrophic injury cases.
Many personal injury cases can be settled without going to trial. However, you want to be sure your attorney is ready and willing to try your case if a fair settlement can not be reached. So, you want an attorney who is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and who also has extensive trial experience.
Step Two – Know the Signs of a Great Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer
There are many lawyers to choose from in Tampa, Florida. To find the best attorney for
your personal injury claim, you should consider the following:
- Results – Previous results are no guarantee of future results but can indicate what an attorney may be able to achieve in your case.
- Reputation – If an attorney has a good reputation in their community, they are likely trustworthy and dependable. You can learn much about an attorney’s reputation through online research. Take time to read the unsolicited reviews of former clients.
- Disciplinary actions – You can search for an attorney’s disciplinary record on the state bar website. While good attorneys may have a claim filed against them, if an attorney has had several disciplinary actions, it could indicate that they missed deadlines, failed to keep their clients informed, or have behaved in an unethical manner.
- Experience – Attorneys with many years of personal injury experience have usually seen a wider range of cases and often know insider tricks of the trade that newer attorneys do not. However, if a younger attorney is employed with a more experienced firm, they should have the support, training, and resources they need to be successful.
Evaluating these signs can help you make an informed decision.
Step Three – Read the Reviews
The internet makes it much easier to research your attorney choices. Clients who
leave reviews usually feel strongly one way or the other about the representation they received. They are not required to leave reviews or write testimonials, so reading what former clients say about the attorney can be informative.
When you read the reviews, look for clues about how the attorney works with their clients. If you want a direct and no-nonsense attorney, you may look for reviews that describe the attorney as “all-business.” Likewise, if you want an attorney who focuses on personalized attention, you may look for reviews about how an attorney made the client feel comfortable and understood.
As you read through an attorney’s reviews, notice how you feel. The reviews may give you a good or bad feeling about the attorney. Pay attention to your instincts.
If you find a few bad reviews during your online search, you may not want to let that scare you away from an attorney you otherwise felt good about. No attorney can please everyone, and you may find a negative review written by a former client with unreasonable expectations.
A negative review could have been left by someone who was never a client. A disgruntled former employee or someone with a personal vendetta could leave a negative review to try and hurt the attorney’s business.
Check to see if the attorney or law firm responds to negative reviews posted online. You may find a reasonable explanation for the negative review.
Screen the Candidates by Scheduling Free Consultations
Once you have thoroughly researched Tampa personal injury lawyers and decided on a few candidates, you must screen them by setting up free consultations (almost every attorney will offer such a meeting, but confirm with them ahead of time). To help you narrow your choices, you will want to ask questions to learn more about the candidates and understand how the attorney expects to be paid.
Ask the Right Questions
You should contact each candidate to discuss your case in detail. Preparing a list of
questions before your initial consultation helps prevent you from forgetting anything
important. Some of the questions you may want to consider asking each attorney include:
- Will my case be handled by you or someone else in your practice?
- Have you successfully handled cases similar to mine?
- What area of personal injury law do you specialize in?
- What is the statute of limitations for my case?
- How long should it take to resolve my case?
- Do you think I have a strong case?
- How will you communicate with me and keep me informed?
- Do you have any concerns about my case?
- What is the fee arrangement for my case?
- Will you take an appeal if my case is not successful at trial?
- What makes you the right lawyer for my case?
Before asking these questions, you should provide the attorney with as much detailed
information as possible about your case. The attorney will be better able to answer your questions if they have all the facts.
If you can provide medical records, information about witnesses, police reports, and
photographs of the accident scene, your attorney will be in a much better position to
analyze your case and give solid answers to your questions.
You will learn a lot during the screening process. Be sure to get your most important questions asked so you can choose the right Tampa personal injury attorney for your case.
Be Sure You Understand the Cost
While many attorneys charge hundreds or more per hour, most personal injury
attorneys do not get paid unless they successfully settle or win your case. This is called a contingency fee.
A contingency fee agreement is often the best arrangement for you and the attorney. Under this type of fee agreement, you do not pay anything upfront – no attorney fees or expenses come out of your pocket. The attorney pays the upfront costs of negotiating, settling, or trying your case.
This can be an excellent arrangement for clients because the expenses of preparing a personal injury case can be extensive. But you must understand exactly how those expenses and costs will be paid out of any settlement or award.
Ensure that the lawyer fee agreement spells out the percentage of the settlement or award and what expenses, costs, and fees will be paid out of the settlement or award. These will be deducted from the amount received in settlement or awarded at trial before you receive any payment. You do not want surprises, so ask questions and fully understand before signing the lawyer fee agreement.
Hire the Right Tampa Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case
Once you have done your research and screened your candidates, it is time to make a decision. Who will be the best personal injury lawyer for your case?
You should choose the attorney who took the time to answer all your questions and whom you felt most comfortable with. If you are undecided and have difficulty choosing between two or more attorneys, consider following up with them. A short follow-up conversation with the attorney or staff will help you decide.
Choosing the right personal injury attorney is a big decision. Our dedicated and experienced personal injury attorneys are happy to answer your questions during a free initial consultation. If you have been injured in an accident, contact the aggressive Tampa Bay personal injury attorneys of Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers today at (813) 223-6200.