How to Find the Best South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
After a personal injury, the last thing you want is to hire an incompetent lawyer. Here's how to choose the best South Carolina personal injury attorney.
While there are a record number of people representing themselves, reportedly only 45% of them understand what they hear in a courtroom.
While you might think your personal injury case is straightforward and your evidence is clear, you don't know what you could be up against. If you're in South Carolina, a personal injury attorney could help to ensure you get the representation you need.
Whether you're suing another individual, an insurance company, or a corporation, you could be facing a powerful lawyer with a staff of dozens. Going into the courtroom unprepared is like showing up for war armed with a twig.
Once you start looking for lawyers, you might notice that a lot of attorneys make a lot of promises of the kinds of settlements you could get. Follow these tips to ensure you get the best South Carolina personal injury attorney for your case.
1. Expect A Free Consultation
If cost is the thing holding you back from finding an attorney, put that thought to bed. Most reputable lawyers will give you a free consultation to get to know you, your case, and see if you're compatible.
During your consultation, expect that you can lay out the details of what you hope to achieve and the settlement that you think you're entitled to.
Your lawyer should be able to then help you adjust your expectations higher or lower and what kinds of documentation you should start gathering.
This shouldn't come at a cost but be sure to ask in advance if they offer this consultation for free.
2. Ask About Their Experience
While there are plenty of great lawyers who can work a variety of types of law like malpractice, corporate, or estate law, it's hard to become an expert in all of them. Feel free to ask your lawyer about their experience before you hire them.
While you might get along well with someone who is an expert in entertainment or copyright law, they might not have the chops you need. In South Carolina, a personal injury attorney needs to know about law relevant to cases like yours.
Ask for examples of settlements and search for reviews online before you hire a lawyer.
3. Ambulance Chasing Is Real and Illegal
You may have thought it was just a turn of phrase or a stereotype, but ambulance chasing is real. There are lawyers who will send out letters or make contact with someone right after they get into an accident, even in the hospital.
If a lawyer has this much time to chase around clients, they probably don't have many cases to work on. You should think about why they're chasing down clients rather than the other way around.
Again, information about lawyers is often just an internet search away. Knowledge is power, especially when there could be tens of thousands of dollars at stake.
4. Sometimes You Can Skip The Trial
Even though it can take the threat of a lawsuit to get some insurance companies, corporations, or individuals inspired to pay up, they're not always necessary. Sometimes things can be settled without filing any lawsuits.
Getting your lawyer to send along the right information to an insurance company for the defendant can cause the case to be settled quickly. The defendant's insurance company might have moved forward with a lawsuit without realizing how strong your case is.
This is the quickest and least expensive way to get your settlement and move on with your life. If you're dealing with a car injury lawsuit, it's common to settle everything without a lawsuit.
5. Make Sure the Fees Are Clear
Just like any service, there will be costs associated and if you don't ask about them in advance, you could be hit over the head with costs at the end. Thankfully almost every South Carolina personal injury attorney will charge a "contingency fee."
In this scenario, your lawyer won't charge as they work, only if you win your case. This can ensure that they work hard to get a great settlement, because the larger the settlement, the larger their fee is.
You'll be able to get great representation without paying out of pocket up front. Have a frank discussion of all the fees associated and, most importantly, speak to several lawyers so that you can negotiate fairly.
Every region has a different percentage that is normal to ask for. If your attorney wants 20%, you need to know if they're taking you for a ride or whether you should jump on this deal. The larger your settlement could be, the lower you can talk them down.
6. Prepare To Win and Save Some Money
Your lawyer will likely charge you additional fees for expenses. This means that every email they have to respond to, every phone call they're on, and every conversation related to your case adds to your fees.
You can take several steps to streamline your case and lower your costs. Gather all the documentation that you can about your case in advance of speaking to a lawyer. Call both insurance companies and get all the information that you can in advance.
Get any police reports or other documentation. Get everything to your lawyer in an organized and efficient manner and not only will they be thankful, but they'll charge you less for making them do the work.
Most people think that all of this work is part of the job they pay lawyers for and get upset when they see the number of expenses at the end of the case. Smart clients prepare to win.
Your South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney Should Be A Good Fit
The most overlooked thing about working with a lawyer is finding one that you get along with and who you feel comfortable talking to.
While you should always be efficient to keep costs down, you shouldn't feel rushed or like you're being rude for contacting them. You could be spending lots of time with this lawyer, so make sure you trust your gut as well.
If you're ready to find that perfect personal injury lawyer, contact us for some suggestions today.