3 Things to Do before Hiring an Alaska Personal Injury Lawyer
How can you determine who the best personal injury attorney in Alaska is for your case? We’ve outlined 3 important things you need to do when you’re searching for a great lawyer.
If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you’ll need immediate legal representation in order to make sure your case is taken seriously. You can begin your search by looking in the yellow pages or by searching online for “Alaska Personal Injury Lawyer,” but at best that will only give you a list of possible attorneys. The real question is, how do you determine who the best personal injury attorney in Alaska is for your case? Below are 3 important things you need to do when you’re searching for a great lawyer:
1. Check the Firm’s Website
Once you’ve found a lawyer in your area who looks reputable, you’ll want to visit the website for the firm to learn a little bit more about the attorneys, to see the types of cases they usually handle, and to read testimonials from former clients.
The website should be up-to-date and easy to navigate. Any website should reflect the main values and image of a firm. It’s essentially an online representation of a law office — if it’s well organized and full of helpful information, you can likely expect the same things from the firm.
If you like what you see, contact the firm either by phone or via their website. Personal injury firms should offer free consultations to discuss your potential case; if they don’t, it’s usually a bad sign.
2. Set Up a Meeting and Ask Questions
It’s always a good idea to set up an in-person meeting with a lawyer before making the decision to hire them. You shouldn’t just rely on someone else’s recommendation or what you find online. Meeting with a lawyer will show his or her personality and help you decide if you’re compatible. The average personal injury case takes approximately 18 months to resolve, which means you’ll likely be interacting with your lawyer a fair amount.
Once you’ve set up a time to meet, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good attorney will be happy to give you answers. Consider asking about some of the following things:
- How your case will proceed and who will be handling it
- The qualifications and experience of anyone who will be a part of your case
- If your case has any unique considerations that may hamper your claim’s resolution
- How the fee arrangement will work (note: most personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis; that means their payment will be a proportion – usually around one-third – of what you recover)
- How case expenses, court costs, and payments to medical providers will be handled
Feel free to follow up with your attorney after your meeting. If they don’t have the time to answer your questions or respond to your e-mails before they’ve been hired, chances are good that they won’t have time for you once your case begins.
3. Determine if the Firm Understands the Specifics of Alaska Law:
Alaska, with its beautiful weather, scenery, and wildlife, is different than any other state in the US. We live here because we love it, and you’ll want to find a firm that has a good understanding of the uniqueness of our state – especially when it comes to its laws. Below are a few important things everyone should know about personal injury law in Alaska:
- The statute of limitations in Alaska is two years for most cases, and the time limit usually begins on the date of your injury. There are some exceptions to this rule, and your attorney should know if any of those exceptions apply to your case.
- Alaska’s Comparative Negligence Rule is an important factor to consider in any personal injury cases, but it’s especially important for auto accident claims. This rule essentially means that the amount of damages you receive can be reduced by a percentage equal to your fault. In most cases, a company or other individual who is involved in the accident will likely try to hold you partially responsible for your injuries. Make sure your attorney has a good understanding of how the comparative fault rule works and if it will be an important factor in your claim.
- Alaska is a “fault” state in regards to auto insurance. Make sure your attorney is properly prepared to represent you and make sure you receive compensation that you deserve – even if that means going to trial.
These are just a few examples of legal issues that could arise in an Alaska personal injury claim. Remember to ask questions and request clarity about anything that may be an issue in your specific case.
We hope that the above information is helpful to you, and we invite you to visit our website and contact us if you’ve been injured. William D. Cook has over 45 years of experience in personal injury law and is a 40-year resident of Alaska. Honest and forthright, his firm will represent you fairly, making sure you get the representation you need.