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personal injury attorney

Top 5 Considerations When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Filing a personal injury claim is a big decision, and one that could have a monumental effect on your life and your future. Indeed, a successful personal injury claim may yield the monetary award that you need to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic expenses, as well as compensate you for your pain and suffering, whereas an unsuccessful claim could mean wasted time and money without anything to show for it.

Because the outcome of your personal injury claim is so critical, it is important that you do everything possible to maximize your chances of walking away with the award you deserve. One thing that you can do is to hire a skilled lawyer for representation. As you search for an Alabama personal injury attorney, here are five considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Practice Area

Just hiring a personal injury lawyer is not enough; you want to hire a lawyer who has extensive experience in the practice area that is specific to your injury. For example, if you have been in a rear-end collision accident, it’s probably not a great idea to hire a lawyer who focuses primarily on aviation crashes.

Ask your attorney during your free consultation what their experience is working on cases that are similar to yours.

  • Fee Schedule

You already know that a personal injury claim takes a lot of personal time, and that filing a claim can also be expensive, especially when it comes to hiring experts and filing a lawsuit should settlement negotiations fail. As such, the last thing that you want to do is add to the costs by hiring a lawyer who charges a retainer fee or asks for hourly payments. Rather, you should work with an attorney who will not only front the costs of your claim, but who will also work on a contingency fee basis. This means that your lawyer only gets paid if you do, collecting a percentage of your winnings if your claim is successful.

The vast majority of personal injury attorneys work on contingency, but be sure to ask your attorney what the costs of litigation will be (and how they will charge for litigation services) should your case go to court.

  • Standing with the Alabama State Bar

Before you hire an attorney, it is a smart idea to type their name into the lookup service provided by the Alabama State Bar. In doing so, you can determine whether or not the attorney is licensed to practice in our state. You can also check to see whether or not any disciplinary actions have been taken against them. If an attorney has had any actions filed against them, be sure to find out exactly why that happened before you even consider proceeding with that attorney.

  • Experience and Trial Experience

You don’t want a new lawyer practicing and refining their skills on your case – you want a lawyer who already knows what they’re doing and has the acumen and knowledge to get you the settlement you deserve. Ask your attorney for how many years they have been practicing law, how much time they’ve spent on cases like yours, and whether or not they go to trial often. Furthermore, make sure you ask about their case outcomes, including the cases that they have taken to trial.

  • Your Gut Feeling

Of course, there are a lot of things that you want to consider when hiring a lawyer, and there’s no doubt that doing your homework, talking to references, learning more about the attorney’s education and background, and more are all important. However, if everything else checks out, you should turn to your gut feeling in making a decision. Do you feel good about the lawyer? Do you have a strong connection? You will be spending a lot of time together in the coming months – is the attorney someone with whom you can easily work? If you don’t like the attorney or don’t trust them from the get-go, that’s probably not who you want to hire.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers Today

Following a serious injury, there is a lot to take care of, and the idea of filing a personal injury claim on your own can feel especially overwhelming. At the offices of Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., our lawyers will work hard for you and handle the various details of your case so you can focus on your recovery. To learn more about our services and how we approach the claims process, please call us today at 800-574-4332 to schedule your free case consultation. You can also stop by our office in person or contact us online.

personal injury

How to Negotiate a Fair Injury Settlement

If you or someone you care about has suffered an injury and it was the fault of another party, you deserve full compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, recovering what you deserve is not always a smooth or simple process.

It would be a rare occurrence for the responsible party to simply walk up to you and write a check for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. In truth, you and your family have probably been through a lot, and there may be more hardships on the way.

While it might be a nice day when you get a settlement check and take it to the bank, you will completely forfeit your right to seek additional compensation as soon as you cash that check. This is why negotiating a full and fair settlement is vital from the start.

Know the Full Value of Your Personal Injury Case

As an accident victim and someone that probably doesn’t have much experience with personal injury law, you may not know whether the amount you’ve been offered is fair compensation for your injuries. By accepting the offer, you might later find that your medical expenses and lost wages are higher than you originally believed.

There are some online personal injury settlement calculators that some people use as a gauge. These are not only unhelpful but can also be dangerous. Assessing the value of your claim with a standard online tool isn’t likely to deliver an accurate result. There are several reasons for this.

  • State laws vary drastically. What is a high-value case in one state may not be worth much in another due to the different ways that state’s approach negligence and even limit the payment of damages. This is a factor that can dramatically impact the value of your case.
  • They can’t account for all relevant factors. Some personal injury cases have legal issues related to lost income, pre-existing conditions, and shared fault. An online calculator may not be able to account for this.
  • You may not have all the required information. These tools ask you input a great deal of information, some of which you might not have. Estimating some of these figures often requires the assistance of someone with more experience.

Tips for Negotiating a Favorable Injury Settlement

Getting a fair settlement after an injury is a process. Immediately following an accident, the best thing you can do is to remain at the scene and collect as much information as possible. Keep a record of all evidence, and seek immediate medical care to document any injuries.

It is a common misconception that the insurance company is on your side. Even your own insurer just wants to close its case as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Avoid speaking about your accident to an insurance adjuster or anyone else until you first discuss your situation with an experienced accident attorney.

The negotiation process in an Alabama injury case involves several steps. Depending on the nature of your injuries and the type of case, these may vary slightly. 

  1. File a claim. This begins when you file a claim with the insurance company. Be sure to follow the insurer’s instructions for notice, which is generally as soon as possible after an accident.
  2. Initial letter. The insurer will send you a “Reservation of Rights” letter, which informs you that they are investigating your case but haven’t admitted liability.
  3. Demand letter. You and your attorney can work on your initial demand letter, which is only sent after you have medically stabilized. This is a letter telling the insurance company what you believe is a fair settlement.
  4. Response. The insurance company will respond to your demand letter, generally with a counter-offer. This process can go back and forth until you reach a settlement agreement or until you decide to take your case to court.

Contact an Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Attorney

At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C., we understand the confusion, stress, and anger that often accompanies a senseless injury. If you or someone you love has been injured due to another party’s careless or negligent behavior, we are here to help.

When you work with us, we will not only advocate for your rights as an accident victim but will also put our vast experience to work on your behalf as we fight for the compensation you deserve. And by this, we mean full and fair compensation, not a compromise that will leave you struggling to pay your bills.

Contact our Mobile office today at (800) 574-4332 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.