In this day and age, auto insurance companies are fighting almost all claims vigorously and litigating a significant number of lawsuits. This is why it is important to hire a personal injury lawyer whom you trust is capable and willing to go to court for you, all the way to jury for you, if necessary. While of course no one factor is determinative of a good outcome to your claim, in my experience, without the threat of a lawsuit, the auto insurance companies don't have any real risk such as a negative jury verdict.
There are many Ohio personal injury lawyers and law firms that litigate their clients' claims all the way to a jury when needed. It is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who will go to court and fight for your rights. Another issue you will want to discuss with your lawyer is whether or not he or she will put up his or her own money to finance litigation and not require you to pay him or her back if you lose. If a lawyer does not advance costs of litigation, he or she may not believe in your case, or may not have the financial wherewithal to pay for experts who are necessary to get top dollar. You don't want a personal injury lawyer who tries to save money and does things on a shoestring budget at the cost of a good settlement or verdict.
I would also go to the lawyer's website and read or watch client testimonials. What former clients think of a lawyer and his or her staff can tell you a lot about how you will be treated. While no two cases are alike, if the lawyer has some raving fans as former clients, you can probably assume the lawyer did a good job for them and they were happy with the legal services and personal service they received.
Personally, I suggest that your lawyer's litigation history and actual client results be your starting point. Once again, filing suit to get a fair settlement is needed more and more these days, and in these days of lower and lower settlement offers in Ohio, an experienced lawyer who is willing to repeatedly fight for his or her clients in court is essential to a good result. If any personal injury lawyer you talk to says he or she settles almost all of his or her cases outside of court, it has to make you wonder how you can get a good result in the current, low-offer climate in Ohio.
While every case is different, as a general rule, if your Ohio car accident attorney won't answer the above questions to your satisfaction, I suggest you continue your lawyer search. Results are what matter. The days of quick fair settlements outside of court without an experienced, seasoned lawyer are ending, so pick your lawyer wisely.
Another factor to consider when hiring an Ohio personal injury lawyer is how the lawyers and staff at the lawyer's office treat you and how you feel when interacting with them. I think it is a good idea to trust your gut when hiring a lawyer.
- Are you comfortable with the lawyer and his or her staff in your initial contact?
- Are all of your questions answered fully and respectfully in your initial meeting?
- Are you meeting with an actual personal injury lawyer, just a paralegal or no one at all?
- Does it seem that they care about you and your needs?
- Do you get a gut feeling that the lawyer and staff will "go to bat" for you or does it just seem like they are going through the motions and you are just another number?
- Do you feel the lawyer values you and your claim?
- Does your lawyer and his or her staff return your phone calls promptly?
- Are you the lawyer's No. 1 concern?
These questions are important because you will most likely be entering into an important, long-term relationship with the lawyer and his or her staff. It is important that your gut reaction be that you trust them to take care of you or someone you love. With your experienced lawyer's help and guidance, you will be making important decisions that can affect the rest of your life. It is important that your lawyer be a partner in this process with you. I also suggest you consider hiring a lawyer who spends most or all of his or her time doing personal injury law. Many lawyers handle personal injury claims, but fewer have both the knowledge and the experience to effectively deal with all of the complicated, changing laws in the Ohio personal injury field. To put it another way, you probably would not hire a general surgeon to do delicate brain surgery on you, would you?