How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma City

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma City

Hopefully, you will never need a personal injury lawyer. However, if you do, you want to ensure that you hire the best personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma is an at-fault state for accidents and personal injuries. Therefore, you have the burden of proving that the other party caused your accident and injuries to recover compensation. 

Therefore, you need an attorney who has substantial experience, skills, and resources. Your lawyer needs to conduct investigations, hire expert witnesses, and do everything necessary to gather evidence proving negligence and liability. 

Deciding which Oklahoma City personal injury attorney to hire can be confusing. Below is a guide for finding the personal injury attorney that is right for you.

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

An attorney is not a “one size fits all” situation. Personal injury lawyers have vastly different skills, experience levels, qualifications, and personalities. Therefore, choosing an attorney based solely on advertisements is not best for you.

Begin your attorney search by asking people you trust for recommendations. It is best if they used the attorney for another case. Direct knowledge of the attorney is extremely valuable.

If you know an attorney that practices a different area of law, you might want to ask that attorney for a referral. Often attorneys are familiar with other attorneys and their abilities. Judges and court personnel may also be excellent sources of recommendations. 

The Oklahoma Bar Association has a “find a lawyer” directory that helps people search for attorneys located near them. The directory is not a recommendation or referral to an attorney. 

Oklahoma bar association

It is a good idea to plan to meet with at least two or three attorneys. 

Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so it does not cost you anything to meet with the attorney to discuss your cases. Meeting in person allows you to evaluate the attorney for yourself and obtain different opinions regarding your case. You are not obligated to hire an attorney after your initial consultation. 

Before meeting with each attorney, it can help to do a little research online. You can find a great deal of information about personal injury lawyers from their websites, peer review websites, and client reviews. In addition, many lawyers have social media websites that you may also want to review.

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer 

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer 

When you meet with a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma City, these questions can help you evaluate whether you want to hire a lawyer.

How much experience do you have handling cases similar to my case?

How much experience do you have handling cases similar to my case?

As stated above, you want to hire a lawyer who practices in the area of personal injury law. However, it is best to hire a lawyer with experience handling your specific type of case.

For example, if you were involved in a slip and fall accident, you want a premises liability lawyer. On the other hand, if a defective product caused your injury, then you want to search for a product liability lawyer.

Even car accident attorneys may have more experience handling certain types of cases. For instance, an attorney may handle car accident claims, but he has very little experience with cases involving commercial trucks or government vehicles. 

How much time will you spend on my case?

How much time will you spend on my case?

Some attorneys have such heavy caseloads that they pass the cases to associates or paralegals to handle. While it is good for a law firm to have extensive staff resources, you want to ensure that the lawyer you hire is the person directly handling your case. 

What is my personal injury claim worth?

What is my personal injury claim worth?

An honest personal injury attorney will tell you that he needs to investigate the claim and analyze your damages to give you an accurate value for your case. The attorney may tell you outcomes of cases similar to your case, but your case is unique. 

Search for an attorney who is willing to invest the time necessary to document your damages fully to maximize the value of your case. 

How often do you go to trial?

How often do you go to trial?

Some personal injury attorneys are known to settle every case to avoid going to court. However, you need a skilled negotiator AND an aggressive trial attorney. 

Your case may need to go to trial. If so, having an attorney with experience arguing cases in court gives you a better chance of winning your case.

How long will it take to settle my case?

How long will it take to settle my case?

No attorney can give you a specific timeline for settling your personal injury claim. However, an experienced attorney explains the steps necessary to pursue your case. The lawyer should be able to examine the facts of your case and give you an estimate of a timeline based on what he knows at that time.

Things to Consider When Searching for an Attorney

Some of the important factors that you want to compare when you interview attorneys include:

  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Good listening skills
  • Experience and education
  • Special skills, qualifications, and certifications
  • Adequate support staff
  • Compassionate and patient
  • Affordability

The money you receive for a personal injury claim cannot undo the pain and suffering you experienced. However, it can help pay for ongoing care and reimburse you for financial losses. Make sure you invest the time necessary to find the best personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City for your case.

7 Tips for Finding the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Texas

7 Tips for Finding the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Texas

After an accident in Texas, you’ll only have one opportunity to seek compensation for your financial costs, physical trauma, and emotional suffering. Ultimately, choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you will be one of the most important decisions you make. In fact, your choice of attorney can make or break your case. It can impact how much money you win – or if your case is even a success, at all.

But how do you find the best personal injury lawyer to help you? It can be more difficult than it should be. Law firms advertise on TV, billboards, and the radio. They spend tons of money on marketing to get their law firm websites to rank high on Google search results. They might bombard you with information – but not necessarily the information you need to pick a lawyer.

So, here’s what you really need to know about finding the best personal injury lawyer in Texas. 

First – Understand the Lawyer’s Role in Your Life After an Accident

First - Understand the Lawyer’s Role in Your Life After an Accident

Before you hire a lawyer, you need to understand what an attorney does in your case. Lawyers perform a few vital functions

Here are some of the most important ones:

Provide Legal Advice and Counsel

As a legal adviser and counselor, your lawyer should provide you with clear explanations of the law. The lawyer should provide an objective evaluation of your case. This includes telling you about any problems in your case and the risk that you might lose.

A lawyer helps you to make decisions by presenting the pros and cons of each legal strategy. A good lawyer also accounts for non-legal matters, including financial and familial considerations, when providing advice and counsel.

Represent Your Interests

A lawyer speaks for you when negotiating with claims adjusters. The lawyer acts on your behalf and in your best interests. The lawyer must also satisfy their ethical duties by dealing fairly and honestly with opposing parties and the court.

Advocate for Your Legal Rights

The lawyer uses the knowledge and experience gained through their practice to formulate the best possible legal arguments to support your position. They seek to obtain the best possible outcome for your case within the bounds of the law and ethical rules.

Provide Support and Guidance During a Tough Time

Your lawyer should do more than handle the technical and legal aspects of your case. Your lawyer should be able to provide support, guidance, and a true sense of comfort to you as you navigate the challenges of your post-accident life. 

Their job isn’t just to help you win a legal dispute – their job is to help you move forward and work toward rebuilding your life. An attorney who is genuinely empathetic and caring about your situation will work that much harder to get the best results for your case.

Strategies For Finding the Best Lawyer For Your Personal Injury Case

Finding the best lawyer means finding the right one for you and your case. Lawyers have different skills, experiences, and personalities. The best lawyer for one case might not provide the right fit for another case.

1. Use Online Reviews as Guidance

Use Online Reviews as Guidance

Online reviews can provide a lot of great information about attorneys and law firms. You can get a sense of how former clients felt about their experiences and identify potential issues that might not make that particular lawyer the best fit for you. 

But, reviews should be considered with a grain of salt. They might not always provide a reliable assessment of a lawyer’s skills. Opposing parties can manipulate online reviews after losing a case. Dissatisfied clients are more likely to submit negative reviews than satisfied clients are to submit positive reviews. As a result, a lawyer’s online reviews might present a skewed view.

Instead of looking at online reviews, look at the lawyer’s ratings from legal directories like AVVO and Martindale-Hubbell. These publications use algorithms based on surveys of colleagues and clients, as well as objective records such as court verdicts and disciplinary histories. 

Houston personal injury lawyer online profile AVVO

These ratings can provide a more reliable summary of a lawyer’s background, skill, and ethics than online reviews.

Another great place to look for reviews is on the attorney’s Google My Business listing. To do this, just go to their map’s listing and from there you can see their reviews.

Also, look closely at how the attorney responds to any negative reviews. That says a lot about how much they value their clients’ feedback.

This is the maps listing from Brian White, a personal injury attorney in Houston, TX.

2. Look for Experience – Especially With Cases Like Yours

Look for Experience - Especially With Cases Like Yours

Experience matters. The more experience an attorney has, the better they’ll understand the laws and procedures related to your case. It’s not just overall experience that matters, either. Consider how much experience an attorney has handling cases like yours.

In Texas, different types of personal injury cases can be subject to different rules and laws. Some of these areas of law are quite complicated – like workers’ compensation or medical negligence. Having an attorney who not only has experience with these types of claims, but who specializes in them, can offer you a huge advantage. 

They’ll already have tackled the learning curve, know the parties who are regularly involved in these types of disputes, and have developed strategies to help their clients win.

3. Research Disciplinary Histories

Research Disciplinary Histories State Bar of Texas

Before you meet with a lawyer, find out whether the State Bar of Texas has any record of disciplinary action for them. Lawyers must follow the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct in their practices. When they violate a rule, the state bar can sanction the lawyer with a censure, suspension, or disbarment.

Prior run-ins with the state bar are a red flag. Ethical violations can put your case at risk. You also need to know if the state bar has suspended or disbarred them. If the lawyer is currently under suspension or disbarred, they cannot practice law.

4. Schedule a Free Consultation – and Take Advantage of the Time to Learn About the Lawyer

Most injury lawyers offer free consultations. This isn’t just an opportunity for them to learn about and assess your case. It’s an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn about the attorney.

Ask them about their experience. Ask them if they have handled cases like yours. Ask them about their approach – and who at the firm would be handling your case if you hired them. 

What does your gut tell you about the attorney? Would you feel comfortable confiding in them and being honest about every aspect of your case? Do you think your personalities would get along well? 

Don’t underestimate these things. Trust your instincts.

5. Talk About Fees

Attorney fees can create friction between lawyers and clients. Avoid this issue by discussing fees during the free consultation. 

Most personal injury lawyers in Texas work on a contingency fee basis. You only have to pay them if they win your case. Typically, their percentage will probably fall anywhere between 33% and 40% of your award. But, it’s really more involved than that. 

Make sure you ask questions about how case-related expenses will be handled. Ask if the attorney’s fee be calculated before or after those are factored into the equation. Whether or not the attorney’s fee will be determined using the gross recovery or net award can have a sizable impact on how much money you’re ultimately awarded when your case is over.

You can also look for warning flags like vague answers to your questions about fees and costs.

6. Ask About the Merits of Your Case

Ask About the Merits of Your Houston Personal Injury Lawyer

At an initial consultation, most lawyers will give you a preliminary assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. A lawyer might even provide an estimate of the compensation you could expect to receive for your injuries.

This conversation can help you to set your expectations for your case. It also gives you a chance to assess the lawyer’s logic and communication skills. You do not want a lawyer who cannot communicate clearly. If you cannot follow the lawyer’s explanation about your case, a claims adjuster or juror might also be unable to follow the lawyer’s logic.

7. Consider Past Results

Past results won’t guarantee future success. But, it’s important to consider an attorney’s ability to win compensation for their clients. 

What kind of results can they show you? Do they seem to have a demonstrated ability to win? Does it appear that they are eager to settle or can they show that they’re willing to take cases the distance to trial, when necessary? 

Results – above and beyond the amounts recovered – can tell you a lot about a lawyer. 

Making the Decision to Hire an Attorney After an Accident in Texas

If you have the time, think about your options. After you find a lawyer you like, contact their law office to hire them. The lawyer will have a fee agreement that you will need to review and sign. You will also need to sign a HIPAA release so your doctors can provide medical records to the lawyer.

Once the lawyer has your written consent to represent you, they can get started on recovering fair compensation for your injuries. 

Man suffering from neck pain after car accident injury

What is Considered a “Reasonable Person” When It Comes to Negligence?

Accidents can happen for many reasons. Often, they’re the result of someone’s negligence. If you’re injured because of another party’s carelessness, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and other damages.

To show you deserve compensation, you must prove the other party was negligent. Negligence requires proof that the party failed to act as a “reasonable person.” However, what is the reasonable person standard?

Understanding the ‘Reasonable Person’ Standard

Negligence is composed of four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. You must show the following to win your negligence claim:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant breached that duty of care
  • The breach caused your injuries
  • You suffered damages

The reasonable person standard relates to the first two elements. Many situations and relationships give rise to a duty of care. For example, a driver has a duty to others to obey traffic laws and avoid driving dangerously. A property owner owes their guest a duty to maintain safe premises. A medical professional owes a patient a duty to provide the proper care.

These duties are ones of “reasonable care.” A person breaches their duty by acting unreasonably given the circumstances. Specifically, a breach happens when a party fails to act as a reasonable person.

A reasonable person is an ideal or hypothetical person, not a real person. A reasonable person exercises caution and prudence when engaging in certain behaviors that could put others at risk of harm. Likewise, they avoid dangerous and reckless behaviors that could injure others.

Ultimately, a jury is the reasonable person in personal injury cases. It decides whether a defendant behaved like a reasonable person in the circumstances leading up to the plaintiff’s injury. If the jury finds that the defendant behaved unreasonably, they would conclude the defendant breached their duty to the plaintiff.

A Reasonable Person Example

Generally, a person fails to act as a reasonable person when they engage in preventable behaviors that expose others to harm.

For example, suppose a driver runs a red light and collides with your car, injuring you in the process. As mentioned above, a driver has a duty to obey traffic laws and drive safely to avoid accidents. 

A reasonable person stops at red lights and complies with other traffic signals. A reasonable person would not run a red light because it increases the risk of an accident. A jury would likely find that the driver failed to act as a reasonable person by running the red light. They would presumably find the driver negligent for causing your collision.

The Complexities of the Reasonable Person Standard

There are some exceptions to the reasonable person standard; they typically involve children. Young children should not be held to the same standards as adults. Instead, the law requires children to behave like children of the same age, experience, and intelligence. In some jurisdictions, the law holds children to the (adult) reasonable standard of care when they engage in dangerous activities, such as driving a motor vehicle.

Determining whether someone did or didn’t behave reasonably requires a thorough understanding of the law. This is one of many reasons it’s important to work with a qualified attorney when filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit.  A personal injury attorney can review your case and determine if another person injured you due to negligence. They can help you prove the other person failed to act as a reasonable person and caused your damages.