Take These Three Important Steps
After a traumatic brain injury, your life will change, often in permanent and unexpected ways. You may experience personality changes, difficulty remembering things, or processing difficulties alongside changes in sensory perception and difficulty with emotional regulation—in short, a long list of symptoms that leave you frustrated. Not only that, the cost of traumatic brain injury can rise quickly; depending on the severity of the injury, lifetime costs can range between $85,000 and $3 million.
When you suffer a traumatic brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence—whether in a slip and fall, an auto accident, or a construction accident—you may need an attorney to help you secure compensation to cover your medical expenses. How do you choose the right traumatic brain injury attorney after your accident? Below we provide some advice.
1. Do Your Research
When you start looking for a traumatic brain injury attorney, cast a wide net that will give you a solid idea of the attorneys available in your area and what they all offer. You can use several strategies to learn more about available attorneys, including:
Talk to Friends and Family Members.
If you have friends and family members who have used a personal injury attorney in the past, talk to them about the experience. Ask for recommendations for an attorney, and discuss what those individuals did and did not like about the attorney who they used throughout the process. Often, you will get the best recommendation from someone who has used a specific attorney in the past.
Do an Online Search.
A basic online search will often offer a list of attorneys in your general geographic area. Keep in mind, however, that a typical online search will reveal primarily the attorneys with the best search engine ranking or most effective ads, not necessarily the ones with the characteristics you want. Check online reviews, including those offered by Google and Facebook, to get a better idea of how satisfied those attorneys made their clients.
Use a Legal Search Website.
Sites like Avvo will offer more information about the attorneys in their directories, including reviews from others who have used those attorneys in the past.
2. Look for the Right Characteristics
When you’re searching for a traumatic brain injury attorney, you will have specific characteristics that are more important to you. Make sure you ask the right questions when choosing an attorney, including:
What Geographic Areas Does the Attorney Cover?
Ideally, you want to work with an attorney who has significant experience in your local court system, working with the insurance company you must deal with to seek compensation after your accident. Attorneys who have worked with those individuals in the past may have a better idea of what offers you should accept from a particular company, how to deal with that company, and how to work with the court system in that area.
Does the Attorney Have Experience With Brain Injury Cases?
Some personal injury law firms have a wide range of experience with many types of personal injury cases. Others may focus on specific areas. As the victim of a traumatic brain injury, you should work with an attorney who has experience with other TBIs and can, as a result, give you a better idea of what compensation you should expect and how to pursue it. An attorney with experience working with traumatic brain injury victims may also better understand how traumatic brain injury affects every area of your life, and have access to other resources that may help you throughout your recovery.
How Does the Attorney Prefer to Communicate With Clients?
After a traumatic brain injury, you may prefer written communication—text or email, for example—to phone calls and even in-person meetings. Choose an attorney that communicates in a way that works for you, rather than one that chooses a communication method that will leave you scrambling to remember your conversations. You may also want to discuss how often the attorney communicates with his clients: should you expect an update, even a brief one, if nothing changes with your case? How long should you expect to wait? Make sure you choose an attorney whose communication style fits with yours.
What Does the Attorney Charge?
Following a traumatic brain injury, you may have substantial medical bills. If, in addition to that, you cannot return to work, you may find yourself in a financial predicament. Find an attorney who has reasonable costs and offers payment arrangements that work for you. Most, in fact, will work on a contingency fee basis, only collecting a percentage of whatever settlement or judgment they help you to secure.
3. Start With a Free Consultation
Before choosing the attorney you want to use, start with a free consultation. During that free consultation, you have nothing to lose, and you can get a better idea of the attorney’s personality and how it fits with both your personality and your needs. During that consultation, you should ask:
How Much Compensation Does the Attorney Think Your Case Is Worth?
You may not want to go with the attorney who offers the highest valuation of your claim, especially if it differs substantially from the other attorneys you talk to. You do, however, want an attorney who understands how much compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Can You Speak With a Past Client?
Reading online reviews can give you a good idea of how past clients feel about the attorney, but it may not offer you the full picture. Ask if you can talk with a past client to get a better picture of how the attorney will interact with you and what you should expect during the claims process. Past clients can also give you a better idea of what to expect once you hire a specific attorney.
Your needs from a traumatic brain injury attorney will vary based on the extent of your injuries and your unique needs. The sooner you start the process of choosing an attorney, however, the sooner you can file your claim and start seeking compensation for your injuries.