No one wants to get into an accident, and some are lucky enough to never suffer injuries due to another person’s negligence. And, by accident, we mean injury accidents caused by vehicles, product liability, medical negligence, and more. Knowing that the risk of sustaining injuries due to another person’s negligence is rather high, especially in a large city like New York City, everyone should have a productive strategy for effective personal injury protection in place – and hope they never need to use it.
Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
While some think that they can handle settlement negotiations themselves, that might work for cases with minimal injuries. However, those with serious injuries or cases with multiple defendants would better benefit by hiring a Long Island personal injury lawyer. In most instances, those who represent themselves end up leaving money on the table.
Additionally, an injured person might have a lot of doctor’s appointments or could be in and out of the hospital for surgeries to correct the damage. Or, you might have lost a loved one and are busy with making funeral arrangements. Regardless of the reason, most people want to concentrate on recovering or being with family and friends rather than dealing with insurance companies.
When you retain a Long Island personal injury lawyer, we worry about settlement negotiations for you. We contact the insurance company to file a claim. We investigate the case, including obtaining evidence to help prove your case. You can concentrate on other things.
Insurance Companies and Their Tricks
All insurance companies are in business to make money. Every claim they pay means a reduction in their bottom lines. That means fewer bonuses for employees and less profit for the whole company.
An insurance company, even your own, will try every trick in the book to deny a claim. Barring that, the insurance companies will find any reason to offer the lowest amount possible. One of their favorite tricks is to twist what you say in an attempt to place more or all of the blame for the incident on you instead of the negligent person.
Our attorneys know this, so we recommend that you contact our office before you file a claim. A person can notify the insurance company of an incident but should only give his or her contact information, the date and location of the incident or accident, and his attorney’s contact information.
The insurance company will try its hardest to get you to make a statement or even sign a medical release. Keep referring it to your attorney. And never sign anything an insurance company gives you without showing it to an attorney first.
Finding the Right Personal Injury Attorney
While it is a good idea to find a good Long Island personal injury lawyer before a person suffers injuries because of someone’s negligence, it can be difficult to do this. Not all personal injury attorneys handle all types of personal injury cases. However, people could research injury attorneys ahead of time.
A person should take stock of his or her life. Look at his or her activities. Someone might need a medical malpractice attorney if he or she visits doctors often, whether for herself or her children. Those with young children might need a product liability attorney at some point. People who drive every day could find themselves in need of a car or truck accident lawyer.
Pre-Incident Research for the Right Personal Injury Attorney
Make a list of the instances where your family might need a personal injury attorney. Start researching personal injury attorneys by practice area. A list might include medical malpractice, car accidents, truck accidents, product liability, birth injuries, wrongful death, and nursing home attorney. Your list will depend on what you have going on in your life. List four to five attorneys for each practice area. If any firm overlaps two or more practice areas, put that firm at the top of your list. It will save you on research if you like what you see.
Narrow Down Your List
Go through each attorney’s website. Look for case results and check the pages and blog for the firm to see what kind of knowledge the attorney has. If you like the look of the website and feel that the attorney has enough experience in the practice area you need, put that firm’s name on a new list. The new list should have no more than three attorneys on it.
Save the list where family members can find it – and let them know that should you suffer injuries and cannot do it yourself, they are to schedule case evaluations with the attorney and pick one to help you.
After an accident, you or your loved ones only have to go through the list you created – you’ve done most of the research prior to an accident.
Questions to Ask a Long Island Personal Injury Attorney
During a case evaluation, you might ask the attorney several questions, including:
- How many cases did you settle with positive outcomes? Negative outcomes?
- How many cases did you litigate with positive outcomes? Negative outcomes?
- What is your fee structure? Most personal injury attorneys offer a free case evaluation and work on a contingency basis. You do not want to retain a personal injury lawyer who does not work on a contingency basis.
- When do I have to pay costs, such as court filing fees, court reporter fees, arbitration fees, expert witness fees, and other fees?
- What are your methods of communication? (Email, text, phone, etc.)
- How often do you give case updates?
- Do you have the resources to handle my case? This might apply to those who have a difficult case, such as someone involved in a multi-vehicle pileup, a pedestrian accident, a construction accident, or someone who suffered catastrophic injuries.
The attorney you choose should have a good settlement record and a good litigation record. While everyone hopes that his or her case settles, sometimes you get a particularly stubborn insurance company and might have to file a lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve.
Having a list of Long Island personal injury attorneys on hand in case you need them saves a lot of time after you suffer from injuries caused by someone’s negligence. You’ll save a lot of research time if you do part of your research prior to an accident.
If you do not have a list of attorneys and you do have an incident, you should still ask a potential attorney the same questions and more. You will also need to evaluate an attorney’s personality – you do not need an attorney that makes you feel uncomfortable. The attorney might not work as hard on your case or be less willing to take care of your needs if any crop is up after hours.
Researching attorneys ahead of an accident or incident gives you plenty of time to choose the attorney that best represents your best interests.