If you have been hurt in an accident, you may not know where to turn for help. After all, most of us are fortunate to never really need a lawyer. But if you are hurt because of something that someone else did – or failed to do – then you’ll need an attorney to help you get the money that you need to move forward with your life.
In the state of Arkansas, there are 2.1 lawyers for every 1,000 people. With so many lawyers to choose from, it can be hard to know exactly who to hire when you need help. Fortunately, there are ways that you can find a personal injury lawyer who will help you get the maximum compensation that you are entitled to under the law.
An experienced Arkansas personal injury attorney won’t just represent you in court. They’ll give you support and guidance throughout the process, starting with a free consultation, where they will explain your legal rights and options for pursuing a claim. If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, motorcycle crash, construction accident, or any other type of accident, these guidelines will help you find the law firm that is right for you.
When Should You Hire a Lawyer?
After an accident, you may be approached by an adjuster working for an insurance company. They may tell you that the insurer accepts liability and they are prepared to cut you a check as soon as you sign some paperwork. This type of offer can be tempting, particularly when you are hurt and just want to focus on getting better.
Unfortunately, agreeing to a settlement right away or signing paperwork without having an attorney look over it first can often backfire. Insurance companies are businesses, and their goal isn’t to make sure that you get the most money for your injuries – it’s to make money. They often have teams of lawyers and adjusters on their side to help them minimize or deny as many claims as possible.
It is possible to handle relatively minor claims on your own, particularly if you haven’t suffered any injuries. However, if you have been hurt, then your best bet is to hire an Arkansas personal injury lawyer. An attorney is duty-bound to represent your best interests – and will help to level the playing field when you are going up against a massive corporation.
Studies show that injury victims receive settlements that are 40% higher on average when represented by a lawyer, as opposed to representing themselves. Insurance companies know that when you have an attorney, they can’t get away with offering you pennies on the dollar for your claim. Instead, they will have to pay you enough to cover your full range of losses – from outstanding medical bills to future medical expenses to reduced earning capacity to pain and suffering.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, where they receive a percentage of your settlement or verdict at trial as their fee (and nothing if they don’t recover money for you). This system helps to align the interests of lawyers and their clients, as both are interested in fighting for maximum compensation and getting the case resolved quickly. It also means that you won’t pay anything upfront, so even if you don’t have the cash to pay a lawyer, you can still afford to hire someone.
Finding the Best Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyer For Your Case
Once you have decided to hire an attorney, the next step in the process is finding one that meets your needs. This can be daunting, but following these steps can help you make a good choice.
First, ask your loved ones for recommendations. Your family and friends can provide you with insight into their personal experience with different attorneys and law firms, which is often invaluable. If you don’t know anyone who has used a personal injury attorney, check out online reviews on Google, avvo.com, and martindale.com.
Once you have made a list of law firms that you are interested in, you can do a bit more research. Look for things such as:
- The focus of practice: does this attorney or law firm only handle personal injury matters? If not, what percentage of their practice is personal injury cases? Remember that each area of law is unique, so you will want a lawyer who focuses on the type of case that you have.
- Experience: how many years has the lawyer been in practice?
- Trial experience: does the attorney have trial experience? While most personal injury cases settle out of court, it’s important that your lawyer isn’t afraid to go to court when necessary to get you the money that you deserve.
- Past settlements or verdicts: each case is unique, and past results don’t guarantee future outcomes. Nevertheless, if a law firm is able to settle or win cases for high amounts, then it may give you the confidence to know that they can do the same for you.
- DIsciplinary record: the Arkansas judicial system handles complaints against attorneys. Run a quick search on their website to see if the lawyer you are interested in has a history of disciplinary issues.
- Reviews: if you haven’t already done so, check out the law firm’s online reviews. What do their clients have to say about them?
Once you have narrowed down the list of lawyers or law firms based on these criteria, you can start scheduling consultations. Most personal injury law offices offer free case evaluations, which offer a good opportunity to interview the lawyer – and learn more about your case.
During the appointment, be ready to ask questions. Remember: although meeting with an attorney can be intimidating, you have the power here. It is up to you to decide whether or not you want to hire this law firm.
You may want to ask questions about:
- Fee arrangements: how will you be billed? What percentage of your recovery will go to attorney’s fees?
- Specific experience: has the lawyer handled a case like yours before?
- Staffing: who will handle your case? Will it be the lawyer you are meeting with or a junior attorney?
- Communication: will your attorney be accessible to you? What is their preferred method of communication?
Throughout the consultation, think about whether you can see yourself working with this person. You should also be cautious about any promises that the lawyer might make, like guaranteed success. If they can’t offer you specifics on important details, like their fee arrangements, you may want to cross that law firm off of your list.
Hurt in an Accident? We Can Help
Being injured in any type of accident can be incredibly traumatic. When you are in physical pain and emotional distress, plus worried about lost wages and mounting bills, you may be reluctant to take on a legal battle. Our law firm is here for you.
The Law Offices of Alan Levar are dedicated to helping injury victims throughout Arkansas get the compensation that they deserve for their injuries. With decades of combined experience, a focus on personal injury law, a track record of success, and offices throughout the state, we are confident that we can help you get the best possible outcome for your case. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with an Arkansas personal injury lawyer, call us at 870-246-7070 or fill out our online contact form.