If you have been injured on the job or have been harmed by another, you may want to seek legal restitutions for the damage. This can be an overwhelming and daunting task, as most individuals don't know a lot about the inner workings of the law. Here are a few key things to know before seeking out a personal injury lawyer.

When you might need a personal injury lawyer.

A personal injury lawyer deals with cases where an individual has been injured physically and/or mentally. These instances tend to fall under the categories of civil or economic wrongdoings. This typically includes: work-related injuries, defective products, and automobile and medical accidents.

What to look for in a lawyer.

You should get in touch with multiple lawyers to find the best attorney for your case. When searching, check the lawyer's licensing to make sure they can practice in your state and on the particular case. You also should pay attention to their case history: do they win many cases? Are their clients generally satisfied? What type of cases do they generally take on? Poke around and find some reviews on each practice. You should also consider looking into the lawyer's schooling. Though all lawyers must pass the same set of exams to get their license, a more rigorous academic program will have given the attorney more experience and may speak to the lawyer's determination.

Questions to ask prospective lawyers.

Once you narrow your search down, you'll need to meet with the potential lawyers. You want to make sure to be prepared to this meeting so you don't waste your time and money.

  • Are there any conflicts of interest? One of the first things you should establish with your lawyer is who you are bringing the lawsuit against. If the lawyer's company is working on a case defending that entity, there is a conflict of interest and they cannot represent you. Make sure to identify all parties involved including witnesses. To make sure you don't leave anything out, bring all the necessary documents—incident dates, police reports, medical records, insurance coverage—you own regarding your personal injury allegation.
  • About how much are their fees? Going to court can cost a lot of money, so you need to know how the range of fees you will be subject to. Unfortunately with legal cases, it is difficult to have an exact estimate before the case is close, but a good lawyer will be able to give you a detailed estimate of what their expenses will look like. Many lawyers charge a contingency fee—a set cut of the recovery awarded in the case—of around 33% (one third), but this can sometimes be negotiated. Make sure to also find out their hourly rate and whether or not they cover case expenses.
  • What is their time frame for filing lawsuits and going to trial? This is important to know upfront. Some places with a lot of clientele will postpone actually filing the suit. Demand to know the specific timeline for this case and whether or not they can meet statute of limitations deadlines.

If you are seriously considering taking legal action, don't wait too long to do it. Start looking for personal injury lawyers in your area as soon as possible. Vaughan & Vaughan is a local law group you can visit with these things in mind.