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Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Represent Me in Court?
One of the most important considerations when searching for a lawyer, like one from Saavedra Law Firm, PLC, to represent you in a personal injury lawsuit is to find one with plenty of trial experience as well as negotiating experience. Why? Because while the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits settle before going to trial, you nevertheless need a lawyer who is not afraid to go to trial and is prepared to aggressively represent you in the courtroom if a trial becomes necessary.
Keep in mind that personal injury is an extremely broad area of the law, and can consist of one or more of the following specific areas of practice:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Catastrophic accidents
- Dog bites
- Premises liability
- Product liability
Consequently, you should ideally hire a lawyer who has a track record of obtaining favorable settlements and jury awards for your type of injury and the type of accident or event that caused it.
Settlement Versus Jury Award
Given the high preponderance of personal injury lawsuits that settle, your lawyer’s skills at negotiating with insurance company lawyers and claims adjusters are just as important, if not more so, than his or her trial advocacy skills. After all, if he or she can convince the defendant’s insurance company to pay you a just settlement that covers all of your economic and noneconomic losses, you and he or she both save the time, expense and uncertainty inherent in a jury trial.
Therefore, when searching for a “ personal injury lawyer near me,” check their respective websites to see if they list a representative sampling of their previous settlements and jury awards. If so, see if you can get a feel for how many of these cases were resolved each way. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a prospective lawyer this question when you go for your free initial consultation.
Also, be sure to ask how the prospective lawyer structures his or her contingency fees. Some personal injury lawyers charge a flat percentage, usually around 33%, regardless of whether the case settles or requires a trial. Others charge a lower percentage, such as 25%, if the case settles and a higher percentage, such as 50%, if they have to conduct a full-blown jury trial. In either situation, you probably won’t have to pay any up-front attorney’s fees. Instead, your lawyer will take the agreed-upon percentage out of your ultimate recovery before paying any of your outstanding injury-related bills and sending the rest to you.