Following a spinal cord injury (SCI) people are faced with a whole new world that they are forced to learn. While caring for yourself or a family member is your first priority, it is important not to overlook other important issues that must be addressed after a spinal cord injury. Many spinal cord injury cases may be the result of the negligence of another person, business or entity, which may provide for compensation through the legal system. Finding a lawyer that is capable of handling the complexities of a catastrophic injury claim is very important. Here is some advice on the best way to find the perfect lawyer for your case.
Step 1: Ask People with SCIs
While it is true that there are many personal injury lawyers out there, it is equally true that not every personal injury lawyer is equipped to help you with a legal claim following a spinal cord injury. When searching for a lawyer after a spinal cord injury, you’ll want to start by asking people with SCIs who they have used if their injury involved a legal claim. While each case involving a spinal cord injury can be different, and the laws can vary from state to state, connecting with a person who can share their personal experience and outcome on a spinal cord injury case can help guide you to finding the right attorney for your case.
When reaching out to the spinal cord community, whether it be through Facebook groups, personal acquaintances or online resources, do not be afraid to ask the tough questions. Did they win their case? Did they settle out of court? Most people with spinal cord injuries are happy to share their legal experiences with others if they know it can help. To find people with SCIs to speak with, we recommend two excellent sources – the Facebook group Spinal Cord Injury Survivors (link) and Carecure (link), a spinal cord injury message board run by SCI researcher Dr. Wise Young of Rutgers University.
Step 2: Ask Bar Associations
If you cannot find anyone with a spinal cord injury to recommend a lawyer, the next place to continue your search is with all levels of bar associations in your area. All lawyers in the United States must belong to a bar association, which is a professional association of lawyers. Usually, lawyers belong to many different bar associations that pertain to their town, state, or specialty of practice.
We recommend that you visit the official website for the National Bar Association and search for the lawyers that belong to the bar associations nearest you. Hopefully, you will see at least a few different personal injury lawyers that look promising. If no lawyers near you have spinal cord injury experience, contact other lawyers that look promising near you. Sometimes they may have had spinal cord injury experience, but forgot to mention it on their site.
Step 3: Meet ‘n Greet Perspective Lawyers
After identifying a lawyer who looks qualified to help you in a spinal cord injury case, the next step is to set up a time to have a conversation with the potential firm. This can be done in a number of ways. Many lawyers will come to you in the hospital or at home. If this cannot be arranged you have the choice to set up a time to meet at the law office, or even over the phone or video conference.
This initial meeting should not cost you any money. If a lawyer tries to charge for an initial consultation, you should find another lawyer. During the first meeting you will have the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about the lawyer’s experience and your potential case. Here are a handful of questions you could ask any perspective spinal cord injury lawyer:
– How many spinal cord injury cases have you handled?
– What were the results of these cases?
– What kind of spinal cord injury experts do you have on-staff?
– Is my case worth pursuing?
– How long do you think this matter could take?
– Are there any alternatives to litigation that you could suggest?
– What are your rates and how do you bill? It is also a good idea to ask if a retainer fee is required up-front.
We welcome you to contact us with further questions you may have about finding a spinal cord injury lawyer. Above all, make sure they have the experience you need and that you feel 100% comfortable talking with them.