Do you need an attorney? Perhaps you were involved in a serious auto accident in Clearwater? Maybe you slipped and fell on a wet floor at a restaurant? If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s mistake or negligence, you should talk to an experienced Clearwater personal injury attorney to find out what your rights are. You may be entitled to compensation for your injury, missed time from work, or property damage.
Don’t waste time wondering if you need an attorney. If you are reading this, chances are you do! Let an experienced personal injury determine whether you have a case worth pursuing. Time is important, however, since there may be time limits for filing a case. Beyond that, the insurance company begins their investigation as soon as a negligent act is reported to them. Witnesses forget, evidence becomes compromised and overall; the facts need to be preserved as early as possible to ensure a successful resolution to your case. Finding a personal injury lawyer isn’t complicated, but there are some basic steps to follow.
Steps To Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
First of all, take a deep breath! Stay calm and write down all the details of the accident or incident as best as you can. Supplement your memory with photographs to document the accident scene, and surrounding area. Get the names and contact information for any witnesses.
Start a preliminary list of law firms or individual attorneys. Ask your friends, co-workers, and neighbors if they can recommend someone they have used and liked, or do an internet search. Most reputable attorneys will have a website where you can review their past cases and read background information on their attorneys. Many firms now have Facebook pages, where you can read postings by former plaintiffs. Consult attorney websites such as AVVO.com or even read reviews on an attorney’s google places page.
Review the case histories and look for cases similar to yours. Have they been successful with cases similar to yours? What is the attorney’s educational background – do they have a degree from a school you’ve heard of? Trust your instincts: do the attorneys pictured look honest and reputable?
Narrow your list to three or four potential firms and call for an appointment. Many law firms offer free consultations to prospective clients. When you call, is the office staff friendly yet professional? Do they treat you with respect, and answer your questions in a caring manner? Are they able to accommodate your request for an appointment or more information?
Prepare For Your Consultation
Before your appointment, do your homework. The consultation is not meant to answer case-specific questions, simply to see if you are comfortable with an attorney and whether their experience will be helpful to you. Ask about cases they’ve handled that are similar to yours and find out about the outcome they achieved. Find out if the person you are meeting with is the person who will be dealing with, or if there is someone else who you will be communicating with. Ask for an introduction to any assistants or paralegals who will be working on your case.
During your consultation, or immediately after, jot down your reactions. Be sure to consider your personal feelings about the attorney and the comfort level they exuded. Make sure that you feel comfortable with their speaking manner, and the tone they used with you. Did they answer your questions with technical jargon, or did they explain the legal terms and process at a level that was comfortable to your understanding? Also make observations about the office itself: did it seem busy, professional, and well-managed?
Narrow Down Your List
After you’ve met with several attorneys for consultations, you should be able to narrow down your list to one or two names. Eliminate any that you didn’t feel a connection with, even if there was just an unexplainable, odd vibe. Your attorney should be someone who has the experience and trustworthiness you need, but you should simply feel comfortable talking with them.
Now you can review one or two firms more in-depth. Check with your local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Keep asking friends and acquaintances what they know. Look into online resources as well, such as avvo.com, martindale.com, and superlawyers.com. You shouldn’t have to pay for online reviews of lawyers, but remember to look for balance. Some “sour grapes” reviews are probably inevitable, but watch for patterns of behavior that make you uneasy, and most of all, look for reviews that match your gut feelings.
Make a Decision
Finally you’re ready to make a decision and move forward with the attorney of your choice. If you’ve done your homework, you will be able to proceed with confidence and present your case in a comfortable, professional, and experienced law firm. They, in turn, will appreciate your preparation and organization, which makes it easier for them to document and prepare your case.
Contact Dolman Law Group
The experienced Clearwater personal injury attorneys at the Dolman Law Group would be happy to provide a free consultation and consider your case. If you’ve been injured and would like to talk to a member of the Dolman Law Group team, please contact them at (727) 451-6900.