After a serious accident, taking immediate action can protect your legal rights and help you get a meaningful remedy. One of the first things you’ll need to do is find excellent counsel.
It is important to choose counsel with a strong track record handling claims in the jurisdiction where you’ll be filing your claim. If you reside in Tampa or you’ll be filing a claim involving an accident that occurred there, choose a reputable Tampa personal injury lawyer rather than someone whose experience is mainly limited to other regions in Florida.
Every jurisdiction handles personal injury claims slightly differently. They vary from state to state, and there are also procedural variations between cities or counties. Lawyers who are familiar with local procedure know how specific courts do things and have seen how they manage their dockets.
Even if your claim is settled before trial, it may still be advantageous to work with a lawyer in the right locale. Insurance adjusters and carriers’ legal counsel are typically assigned to matters on a regional basis. A local attorney is likely to have had prior dealings with the most common carriers that insure drivers in your region and may even have experience interacting with individual attorneys or claims agents.
Field of Practice
When you’re choosing a lawyer, it’s important to find a firm that has a primary concentration in personal injury law. A firm that mostly works on other types of legal matters such as family law or estate planning might not have the requisite knowledge and experience to provide you with effective advocacy in a personal injury claim.
Some people’s first instinct is to seek help from someone who they already know who happens to be a lawyer. However, this probably isn’t going to be the best course of action if that friend or relation doesn’t practice personal injury law. Furthermore, conflating personal relationships with something as important as a legal representation could complicate both.
You need an attorney who knows the applicable law and has a comprehensive understanding of what you’ll need to do in order to prevail. A lawyer that has built their practice helping personal injury victims like yourself knows what to expect throughout the entire process. From the time that you initiate your claim until you reach a settlement or obtain a judgment, your legal counsel should be fully prepared and equipped to handle every step along the way.
Since you want an advocate who has more than adequate professional know-how and competence, the surest and safest approach is to go with someone who has extensive experience. An attorney who has represented only one or two clients in situations similar to your own may not bring as much to bear as an attorney with years of experience representing personal injury claimants.
In your first consultation with a lawyer, you’ll probably get a good sense of how well you’ll be able to communicate with that person. A great advocate has excellent active listening skills, empathy, and understanding. They’re patient about fielding questions, and they should be able to provide you with clear, concise information rather than vague generalisms or legal jargon. Of course, you’ll go into a consultation with many questions, and you can anticipate that the lawyer who you meet with is going to have a lot of questions for you. The questions that you are asked may shed some light onto a lawyer’s general proficiency, organization, and strategic mindset.
You might find it helpful to look at testimonials from clients who a personal injury firm has previously represented. In addition to a firm’s own website, you can find reviews on third-party review sites and directories. Hearing about people’s experience working with an individual attorney can inspire confidence about that person’s professional abilities and work ethic.
Ultimately, choosing who should represent you is not an easy decision. Be discerning about who you select to handle your claim because it could have a significant impact on the outcome.