In this article, we will lead you through the process of finding the right Idaho Falls Personal Injury Attorney for you. And that is the crucial phrase: For You! There are hundreds of attorneys in the Southeast Idaho area. But add in the assortment of specializations and backgrounds, and you have only a few that are ideally suited for your case. To get maximum compensation for your injury, you are going to need that firepower sitting in your corner.
You have come into an unfortunate accident that requires legal action. You need an attorney to back you up. Where do you go to start the process?
Ask Around - Referrals
The research will be the name of the legal game when you first dive into the ocean teeming with lawyers.
You will have to utilize different tools in your research, but sometimes a potential lead is sitting right in your friend circle; In other words, ask around. Ask family and friends if they have had to take anything to court or settle anything with legal action. Ask them who they used, and would they recommend them for your case. If one of them had a good result on a personal injury claim, then see if they have a way in which can put you into contact with that attorney.
The Idaho Falls area is a tight-knit community and you can almost always trust the recommendations of those around you. You can also check Google reviews to get a good idea of which firms can offer the best results.
Just be sure that their attorney fits your type of case, not just because they had a great experience with him/her.
Finding the Right Fit
First, before you consider any candidate, make sure that they specialize in your particular type of injury. As mentioned, make sure that they are in your category, at least in a broad sense. But you can even break it down even further, such as, if you were injured in the workplace as a result of a defective product. In which case, you should recruit the services of a lawyer who specializes in negligence with faulty products. That should give you an idea of how specific these specializations can get. And the more specific, the better. You want to make sure that the case is tailored towards your attorney, and vice versa, to give you the best chance of success.
Smith Woolf Anderson and Wilkinson are top rated Idaho Falls Personal Injury Attorneys and offer a variety of other specializations to fit any set of needs: from bicycle accidents and dog bites to wrongful death.
Location, Location, Location
Once you have identified a lawyer who seems like a good fit , then you want to make sure that you consider another qualifying factor: the location of the attorney. The beauty of our country is in the quasi-individuality of the states, but that can provide differences in how cases are handled.
Our legal team has over 100 years of combined legal experience in the great state of Idaho. So if you have been in an accident and need a team specializing in personal injury cases, contact us today for a free consultation.
Lastly, check to see if your candidates have a history of taking cases to trial. There is some truth to the fear that Tom Cruise had in “A Few Good Men” - perhaps you might want an attorney more sure of himself than a fresh trial lawyer might otherwise not be. If you do not do your due diligence, you might find that most of the lawyers who advertise themselves as an Idaho Falls personal injury attorney have never actually seen the inside of a courtroom. And if the insurance companies on the opposing side sense a weakness in your freshly minted trial warrior, then those notoriously aggressive companies will take advantage of your green recruit. Should that happen, you will be put at risk of having an attorney who is more willing to have you fold than getting the best result for your case.
The Right Attorneys
As with a host of different fields, seeing if someone is published is a good indication for their reputation and skill in their field, as well as giving a good barometer as to how experienced they are when stacked up against their peers. Having an attorney with a good reputation in their field is an excellent hand to have when going into a fight with insurance companies.
You should be able to find information on presentations, TV appearances, articles, books on their website. But if they are reputable enough then you should be able to pull them up on Google. Even better, search on Google Scholar, as that is a database of highly reputable peer-reviewed articles. If they have a published article there, then that is a good indicator of the quality of their publications.
With that in mind, start researching lawyers’ websites (preferably those in your state).
Should you find yourself looking for an Idaho Falls Personal Injury Attorney, then Smith Woolf Anderson and Wilkinson offers a list of attorneys on their website, along with in-depth biographies on each.
See if you can find any reviews, both good and bad.
With the location checked off, the specialization locked in, and reputation checked, you should now have a good enough picture on if you want to go into an free, in-person consultation.
But before you go into that meeting with your candidate, you want to make sure that you go in prepared. Do not be intimidated, but to get the best consultation, you will need to provide as many aspects of your case for the attorney to look through.
Know Your Case
So, what kind of documents do you want to gather before you meet with your “perfect match”? Let’s break down some recommendations.
Since police records are considered public record, get in touch with the law enforcement agency who has jurisdiction over the area. But since the investigation, at this point, will most like be an “ongoing” investigation, then do not consider these reports as an end all be all -- more will most likely be surfacing as a result of lab work or police interviews.
But they will give you a good launching off point for your documentation.
Photos’ Video, Or Audio Taken at The Scene
These can be excellent primary source records, granted that they are not tampered with. Check with any neighboring institutions around the scene of the accident and see if they can offer you snippets of their CCTV footage. That should provide you with unaltered footage, but should you obtain sources of footage from third parties be sure that you run the files through a video/audio expert to access if the files have any alterations or not. In this day and age of filters, no data is safe.
Statements and Notes
Getting a statement from witnesses is a great way to get third party opinions on the incident, to corroborate any claim that is being made. These statements can be obtained through various channels: investigating law enforcement agencies, any parties to the accident, or any federal agency that has jurisdiction over the scene of the accident. For example, if the incident happened in a National Park, then the National Park Service might have records of witness statements. Or if a bolt flew loose during an airplane flight, resulting in a blunt force blow to the head, then the Federal Aviation Administration would have jurisdiction.
When gathering reports resulting from medical care, be sure to go into emergency room records, doctor care records, autopsy reports, and how the rehabilitation treatment went.
Since the end game is to assess how much harm was done to the involved parties, these records, covering the entire treatment period, will provide invaluable documentation as to the extent of the injuries.
History and Research
This research should delve into the history of all elements involved in the accident. For example, if it was a car accident, then you are going to want the safety history of the car involved: When was it last serviced, inspection reports, etc. If it was an accident with construction equipment, then what is the make/model of the tools involved? What is the failure rate of those brands? How many years does the equipment have?
That will give you an idea of the culpability of the equipment involved, and into any negligence by opposing parties.
Lastly, be sure that you bring along your insurance and W2, to show any wages lost during your time of medical leave.
With your research into your candidate and your case, you should be prepared to go into your consultation. But you will also want to go in locked and ready with a list of questions to ask. So, what should you prep yourself to ask? And just because you have been a good researcher and done your due diligence, still ask them some of your research questions -- “what is your area of specialization?” -- because you might get a more honest answer from them as opposed to what was prepped on their website.
You can usually set up a consultation through the website. For example, you can set up a free case assessment at Smith Woolf Anderson and Wilkinson for an Idaho Falls Personal Injury Attorney, through their website, by calling or by form.
How much will you charge to take the case? Will you charge on a “contingency basis”? The majority of Idaho Falls Personal Injury Attorneys charge on what is called a “Contingency Basis.” This means they get a percentage of the sum of money that is awarded to you by the other parties. If you are not awarded anything, then they are not paid.
This fee is vital to know, so you can determine if you will be paying upfront for their services -- upon a successful outcome -- or not at all. With that said, be sure to ask what their percentage is if they pay on a Contingency Basis.
Next, ask them how closely they will follow your wishes of how you want the case handled.. This line of communication is key to know right at the beginning, as this could affect how your working relationship will go. If you and your attorney do not see eye to eye on something, such as a settlement, then things could become increasingly strained between you both.
You should also get an idea of how they will keep you in the loop regarding the progress of the trial. Some attorneys might play things a little close to the vest, whereas others might keep an open line of direct communication by shoving their cell phone number into your pocket.
You are now prepped and ready to pull the trigger on your candidate. With your research into your case and your attorney, you are not just more knowledgeable on your representative, but on your case in general.