Finding The Right Attorney After A Boating Accident
The U.S. Coast Guard reported that there were nearly 4,500 recreational boating accidents in 2016 that resulted in over 700 deaths and 2,900 injuries. If you are injured in a boating accident, it’s important to seek legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. But, with so many personal injury attorneys in the area, how can you find the one that’s right for your case? Follow these tips:
Ask For Recommendations
Begin your search by reaching out to friends and family members to ask for recommendations. Make sure you specify that you are looking for a personal injury attorney so they don’t give you the name of legal professionals who work in other fields. If none of your loved ones have recommendations, contact the local bar association instead. Gather a handful of names and schedule a consultation with each of these attorneys. This will give you the opportunity to ask each attorney questions that will help you decide which one is right for your case.
The first topic that you should cover during the consultation is the attorney’s experience. Boating accident cases present unique challenges, so the attorney that represents you must have experience handling this type of case. This means if the attorney that you are meeting with specializes in medical malpractice cases, he is not a good fit for your boating accident case.
If an attorney does have boating accident experience, ask him about the success he has had representing clients in these cases. Was he able to recover compensation for his clients? If so, how much on average does he recover for boating accident victims? It doesn’t matter how many boating accident victims an attorney has represented if he has never successfully recovered compensation for any of them.
Finally, it’s important to learn about the attorney’s trial experience. Most personal injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom, but you will need to work with an attorney who is comfortable going to trial so he can take your case to court if necessary.
If the attorney has a fair amount of experience in boating accident cases, move onto the next topic, which is key accomplishments. Ask each attorney to tell you about some of his greatest accomplishments in his career. This could include winning large verdicts, proving liability in a difficult case, or being honored by his peers in the legal community. Learning about an attorney’s key accomplishments will give you a better idea of how successful the attorney has been and how passionate he is about his career.
Of course, don’t forget to ask about legal fees. Personal injury attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t be expected to pay any fees unless the attorney is able to recover compensation for you. Attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis will take a percentage of the compensation that is awarded to you. During the consultation, make sure you ask what percentage the lawyer plans on taking. You should also ask if there are any other fees that you should know about. Will the attorney cover any expenses that are incurred during the case? For example, if the attorney needs to hire an accident reconstruction expert to support your case, who will pay for his services? If the attorney pays, when will you be required to reimburse him? Listen carefully to this portion of the consultation to ensure you know what to expect if you decide to hire the law firm.
Working With the Law Firm
It’s also a good idea to ask questions about what it will be like to work with the law firm. Who will be you primary contact if you choose to hire the firm? Don’t assume that the person that you are meeting with in the consultation will be the one that handles your case. How often will you be given updates about the status of your case? Some law firms contact the client far more often than others. If you would like to be heavily involved with every aspect of the case, then you should find a firm that will update you frequently. How will you be updated? If you would prefer to be contacted via email, make sure that the firm you hire is comfortable with this form of communication.
After the Consultation
Take notes during each consultation so you can remember the pros and cons of each firm that you meet with. Some attorneys may try to pressure you into making a decision right then and there during the consultation, but don’t give in. This is an important decision, and one that should not be rushed. Politely thank the attorney for his time and let him know you will be in touch soon about your case.
After the consultations, narrow down your list to your top three choices. Then, conduct online research to learn more about each attorney’s reputation. Look at online reviews on websites such as Avvo and Lawyers.com. Don’t be discouraged if you see that the attorney you liked the most has a negative review. Most attorneys do have one or two negative reviews from clients that had unrealistic expectations. But, if an attorney has nothing but negative reviews, this is not a good sign, so it’s probably best to cross these names off of the list.
By this time, you should have the information that you need to decide which attorney is the right one for your boating accident case.
Have you been injured in a boating accident? If so, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Contact Carpenter & Zuckerman today to schedule a free consultation with our team of knowledgeable lawyers.
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