When you have been injured in an accident caused by another party, North Carolina law allows you to pursue damages against that individual or entity to recoup financial compensation for the losses the injuries have caused you. Although victims are not legally required to retain the services of a personal injury attorney, most cases have a much more positive and beneficial outcome for the victim when an attorney has handled the claim or lawsuit.
A personal injury attorney is important for a variety of reasons, including protecting the victim’s rights and ensuring that the insurance company is treating the victim in a fair and just manner.
Finding the right North Carolina personal injury attorney to handle your case can be quite challenging given how many there are to choose from. However, there are key questions a victim should ask a potential attorney in order to narrow the field and choose the one who possesses the most skill and legal expertise.
The first place a victim should start in their search is by asking family and friends for referrals, as well as research online. There are multiple sources for ratings and reviews of North Carolina law firms. Choose several potential candidates from the list you put together. The majority of personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they will not charge you a fee until or unless there is a settlement or verdict. These attorneys offer free and confidential consultations, which allow potential clients to meet with them and see how comfortable they feel with the attorney.
When you meet with your potential candidates on your short-list, consider asking the following questions which will help you make the best possible decision for your situation:
What are the types of injury cases you handle?
There are many areas of injury law, including vehicle accidents, premises liability, defective product, and malpractice. You want to make sure that the attorney you hire has experience and skill in the area your case is in. For example, if your case involves a malpractice claim, you want an attorney who has legal experience in malpractice, not just an injury attorney who only handles car accident cases.
Who will I be working with during the process?
When you have your initial consultation, you will meet with one attorney, however, that may not mean that will be the attorney handling your case. In some firms, the attorney will hand the bulk of the casework over to a paralegal or a junior associate. Make sure you know from the beginning who the members of the legal team will be working on your case.
What are the percentages of cases you settle and the percentage of how many are litigated?
The majority of personal injury cases are settled before they ever go to trial. Settlements benefit both parties, in the long run, concluding the case quicker and less expensive than a trial does. However, you want to make sure that the attorney you hire is not only a skilled negotiator, but will also not hesitate to proceed with litigation if the insurance company is not negotiating in good faith.
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Will you be upfront and truthful from the beginning of the case to the conclusion?
This may seem like an odd question, but it is an important one. Although you want a personal injury attorney who is optimistic about your chances of winning your case, you also want one who is realistic. There are different factors that can come up as a case proceeds that can be beneficial or detrimental to a victim’s case, so you will want to ensure that your attorney keeps you informed how these issues could affect your case.
Do you have clients who have given you good referrals?
If a personal injury attorney claims to be a successful one, then they should have a list of satisfied clients who have shared their experiences working with that attorney. Ideally, these testimonials should be available right on the law firm’s website.
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A skilled NC personal injury attorney is very familiar with the areas of North Carolina statutes and case law which address personal injury. He or she will also be your best representative when it comes to negotiating a possible settlement with the insurance company. That is why it is crucial for victims to hire attorneys who only specialize in personal injury cases. In much the same way people go to doctors who specialize in a certain field of medicine, the same holds true for attorneys. A person suffering from heart problems would go to a cardiologist, not a dermatologist. Accident victims should seek out an NC personal injury attorney who focuses exclusively on injury law, and not a family law or estate planning attorney.