If you sustain injuries or damages from an accident in Alabama due to someone else’s negligence, you might not know how to choose a personal injury lawyer. You might even wonder if having an attorney to pursue compensation for damages is necessary. Though Alabama doesn’t have laws requiring you to hire a personal injury lawyer, having one by your side can help you navigate the claims process.
Working with a personal injury lawyer gives you more time to focus on healing and recovering from your unfortunate injuries. However, in certain cases, the attorney you hire should have certain qualities to help them represent you fairly and advocate for your best interests during your time of need.
Finding the best lawyer to provide necessary legal counsel while fighting for compensation can be challenging, especially if you’re recovering from injuries. The guide below can help you decide about your legal representation and prepare for your first consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Alabama.
What Is a Personal Injury Attorney?
Personal injury refers to damages to a person’s body, reputation, or mental and emotional health. A personal injury lawyer is an attorney who practices personal injury law to help clients pursue compensation after sustaining injuries due to someone’s carelessness, negligence, recklessness, or other wrongful behavior. Legal professionals working in this area of practice cover many accident types and situations, such as:
- Auto accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Injuries due to another person’s negligence
- Manufacturing defects
- Animal bites
- Workers’ compensation
- Wrongful death
In many cases, insurance companies, corporations, small businesses, and other entities may try to avoid taking responsibility for an injury-causing accident. They may blame you for causing your injuries or try to get you to accept an unreasonable settlement. However, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help your claim move forward to pursue fair compensation.
When Should You Seek Assistance From a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Before learning how to choose a personal injury lawyer, you should know when to hire one. According to Alabama’s laws, you could represent yourself in a personal injury claim; however, personal injury cases can be complicated. People often struggle to navigate the legal landscape without the assistance of an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney.
You may benefit from the legal counsel of a personal injury lawyer if you have a claim involving the following situations:
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Catastrophic injuries or permanent impairments
- Injuries from medical malpractice or defective medical equipment
- Child injuries
- An incident involving multiple parties who may share liability
- A case involving a government entity
You may need a personal injury attorney in these cases for several reasons. For instance, who is liable for the accident or the circumstances surrounding your injuries may be unclear. Responsible parties are more likely to fight potentially valuable claims that could result in substantial financial compensation.
A personal injury lawyer has the legal know-how to navigate these complex situations. They would also know how to prepare the case by thoroughly investigating the claim, filing appropriate documents, and arguing against big-name entities and insurance companies in court on their client’s behalf.
Even if you prefer to settle your case, you must negotiate your terms and compensation. Insurance companies are for-profit organizations, so they will may not keep your best interests in mind.
With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney in Alabama, you could recover one or more damages, which may include:
- Economic damages for medical bills, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs
- Property damages to repair broken belongings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disabilities
How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer
Learning how to choose a personal injury lawyer can involve more than calling the first local law firm you find online.
Not every legal professional practices personal injury law. It is also possible to meet a lawyer who simply isn’t a good fit.
Consider your consultations as interviews. You need the right legal guidance to handle your case because it will likely involve many contributing factors, such as obtaining copies of your medical records, investigating the accident to gather evidence for your claim, and arguing liability for the incident.
The following steps will help you find the best legal representation for your personal injury case in Alabama.
Request Referrals From Friends, Family, or Colleagues
If you’re unsure where to begin with your search for a personal injury lawyer, turn to your inner circle. Your friends, family members, and colleagues may have experience with personal injury cases or know attorneys to recommend.
Unlike finding a lawyer online, receiving a recommendation may give you a head start on your research. The person who recommends the attorney may be able to provide insight into the lawyer’s skills, areas of practice, and ability to handle cases.
However, it can be important not to hire a lawyer solely on a recommendation. While it helps to know that someone you know personally has good experiences with a personal injury lawyer, that does not mean they will be the right fit for you.
Read Online Reviews
After receiving the names of lawyers or law firms, read their reviews online. Reviews are another way to learn more about personal injury lawyers from past and present clients. They can shed light on what it’s like to be a client of the attorney.
Many attorneys include testimonials on their professional websites. While you can find valuable information on those sites, it also may be helpful to read online reviews on third-party review sites like Google or Facebook. Testimonials on third-party websites ma reflect what it’s like to be an attorney’s client.
Research Past Cases
Sometimes, law firms include details or summaries of previous cases on their websites and testimonials from past clients. Reading this information would may help you understand how a particular personal injury attorney represents their clients. The details would also shed light on their track record and the results they produce for personal injury cases.
If you do not see a summary of past cases on a legal team’s website, you can research other information to determine if they are a good fit to represent you. For instance, you can ask how many personal injury cases the team handles in comparison to other areas of practice or whether they typically represent defendants or plaintiffs.
You might also find the estimated amount clients typically receive as compensation with representation from that law firm. That information can give insight into the personal injury lawyer’s track record and success rate.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Every personal injury attorney may not offer free consultations.
However, when seeking the ideal representation for your pursuit of fair compensation, you may have several consultations with multiple lawyers before making a decision, even if you narrow down your list of potential attorneys. You can further narrow your search and save out-of-pocket expenses by scheduling free initial consultations with lawyers who offer them.
Qualities to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
You may want to understand which qualities, character traits, and abilities to look for during your consultation. Below may be some preferable attributes of ideal personal injury attorneys.
Experience in Personal Injury Claims
You may want to look for experience when deciding on your personal injury lawyer. Even if the lawyer or law firm practices personal injury law, that doesn’t mean they frequently represent clients in that area of practice. Your attorney should be well-versed in Alabama’s personal injury law and have a positive reputation among past clients.
An experienced personal injury attorney understands that claims don’t always settle out of court. As such, they should prepare for complicated litigation if the parties cannot agree on liability and compensation.
However, resources are necessary to argue a claim in court successfully. For instance, your personal injury case may benefit from expert witness testimony to establish liability to prove your damages. Those resources may help in presenting the necessary evidence in your case.
Commitment to Thoroughly Prepare the Case & Represent You
Working on a personal injury case can take a substantial amount of time, research, and effort. If an attorney agrees to represent you, they should be willing to thoroughly prepare the case by researching, compiling, and presenting the claim to the negligent parties and their legal team or a judge or jury.
Compassion for Clients
An accident can turn your life upside down. Not only could you sustain life-altering injuries. The incident can also affect your family, finances, and mental and emotional wellness.
Your injury lawyer will need personal details of your condition and your life to understand how the accident and its aftermath affect you in the short and long term. You will answer many questions that may seem intimate, so it may be best to hire an attorney who is compassionate and caring.
When you’re comfortable with a lawyer, you’ll be more forthcoming with providing essential information. They will also do what’s necessary to make the legal process as stress-free as possible for you so you can concentrate on recovering.
Knowledge, Friendliness, and a Willingness to Work With Team Members
Lawyers should be knowledgeable yet approachable. You want to feel comfortable enough with them to ask all your questions to ensure you understand what is occurring with your case. Legal speak is often confusing for the public to understand immediately, but a qualified personal injury attorney shouldn’t have a problem breaking things down for their client.
Preparation Tips for Your Initial Personal Injury Consultation
It’s best to prepare yourself before consulting a personal injury lawyer in Alabama to pursue damages for injuries, illness, or wrongful death. The consultation will accomplish at least two things: it will help you learn if your personal injury case has merit and will help you understand whether the lawyer is the right person to represent your claim.
To make the most of your time with the lawyer, you must give them a solid overview of your case. Examples of documentation that may be helpful in an initial consultation include:
- Medical records or doctor reports relating to your injuries and treatment
- Photos of the accident scene and your injuries
- Available police or incident reports
- Correspondence from the defendant, their legal team, or their insurance agency
- Receipts for out-of-pocket medical expenses
When you sit with the attorney, they will ask about the incident and your injuries. They will also inquire about your recovery, treatment, and ways the injuries affect your life. After receiving essential details about your claim, the personal injury attorney may give you an idea about your case’s merit and advise you on the best way to proceed.
Request a Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney in Mobile, AL, Today
No one should have to battle insurance companies and other liable parties after sustaining a personal injury alone. The road to wellness and recovery can be challenging, but it may help to have a personal injury attorney by your side.
Jackson & Foster is a personal injury law firm in Mobile, AL, that cares about every client’s needs. Our hard-working lawyers have almost 40 years of experience handling personal injury cases, so we are knowledgeable about Alabama’s personal injury laws. Our team has a successful track record of representing clients in and out of the courtroom, including recovering $50 million in damages for clients over the past five years.
Now that you know some steps in choosing a personal injury lawyer, contact our team at Jackson & Foster at (251) 433-6699 to schedule a free consultation.