Lawyers. You hope you never need one but you are going to want the right one if you do.
Those that are involved in a maritime accident may find themselves needing a lawyer to get themselves the proper compensation.
Well, they would not be alone. This is a rising issue in the United States. From 2019 to 2020, boating accidents along with injuries from them increased by about 25% in the United States.
If you find yourself to be one of those people, you are going to need a maritime accidents lawyer.
What should you look for in an accident attorney? How do you know you are getting the right representation?
Here are seven things to look for before you hire a lawyer.
1. Experience in the Field
The first thing that you will want to look for in a lawyer is if they have any experience in this field. This is not just experience as a general lawyer but for these specific cases.
For example, while a divorce attorney may be a good lawyer for those cases, they may not be able to switch to a field like maritime accidents. There are certain rules and regulations that vessels of the sea have to follow, along with anyone that works or boards these vessels.
This may not be something any old lawyer knows off the top of their head. Someone with experience in this field is probably more likely to be able to tell right from wrong in this area. As a result, it is more likely that the lawyer can help build a case in your favor.
In other words, ask a lawyer about their experience with past cases and if they have ever handled maritime accidents before.
2. Location They Practice
Something else that you may want to keep in mind is where a lawyer practices. This can be essential for two reasons.
The first is that it will make it easier to communicate with your lawyer if they practice in your local area. Say you had a maritime accident while coming out of Houston, Texas.
Let’s say you also live in the Houston area. Having a lawyer in Houston, Texas will make it a lot easier for you to have meetings with them before a case goes to court. This can help you develop a better legal strategy and make you more prepared for a possible trial.
Another benefit is that a lawyer in your area is likely to have more knowledge of the local laws. Each state has its own set of laws and sometimes, this can even go down to the local city level.
So, if there was a violation on a port in Houston, the rules and regulations of operating those may be different than those on a port in Los Angeles. You have to consider this possibility and if you want to play it safe, then you should narrow down your legal options to those that are already in the area.
3. How Much They Cost
Like a lot of things in life, a lawyer is not going to be free. Unfortunately, you may be in a situation where you cannot afford to pay a lot of money for a lawyer for your case.
However, there is a silver lining to this. With these types of cases, you are likely only going to have to pay a contingency fee. For those with limited cash on hand, this can be a great alternative to make sure that you get the representation that you need.
What is a contingency fee? This is essentially when a lawyer agrees to take a certain percentage of any potential settlement that you receive.
It can be a good system because you do not have to pay any cash in advance and a lawyer will be more incentivized to make sure that they can get you the best settlement possible.
Just be aware that you are going to have to set aside a decent percentage of your settlement to make sure that your lawyer is properly compensated. The average contingency fee can range anywhere between 33-40%.
So, you may be inclined to go with a lawyer that charges less for their contingency fee. While this is an option for you, do not base your whole decision on this if you feel like a particular lawyer is the best person for the job.
4. Reviews and References
Something that you may want to look into is what types of reviews and references a lawyer may have. If you have friends or family that have ever been involved in this type of case, perhaps you should ask them what their experience was like with it.
With all of the digital marketing that goes on these days, people forget that word of mouth can still drive new customers to businesses. Lawyers are no exception to this.
About 88% of people have the highest trust in a business when a friend or family member directly recommends it. On top of this, 90% of people are more likely to trust a recommended brand than one they have never heard of.
This just shows you how impactful getting a good recommendation could be. If you value the opinion of your friends and family, this may be the best course of action to take before your case.
If you do not know anyone that has directly been involved in a case like this, go online and read reviews about what other people went through during this process. If you find mostly positive reviews, you should feel better about hiring a particular lawyer.
5. Good Communication
If you are hiring a lawyer with stakes this high, you are going to want to feel like you can communicate with them. You should factor in how available they will be to answer any questions that you have, how good are they at explaining the process and what you have to do, are they receptive to things you are saying.
This also comes into play if you have an idea that the lawyer does not agree with. They have to be able to explain to you why this is a bad idea and to stick with the course of action that they are suggesting.
A good lawyer is supposed to give you proper legal counsel. Part of good legal counsel is communicating every part of your plan to the client and making sure that they can explain your stance to others.
Evaluate this and then determine if this lawyer is a good fit for you.
6. Consultation Screening
A lot of lawyers will offer you a free consultation before you have to commit to them for more information. Take this time to get to know your lawyer and get a good feeling for them.
While you are not going to know everything about them after one consultation, you should at least have a gut feeling about them. One part of this is having an idea of whether you can trust them or not.
Another part of this is getting an idea of if you think they have the competence to represent you in court. Are you sold on their presentation style? Are you sold on the way they carry themselves?
These are things that you are going to have to evaluate and can do so during a consultation.
7. Shop Around
Finally, do not limit yourself to hiring the first lawyer that you see who practices in this field. See if you can arrange consultations with a handful of lawyers in the area and get a feel for each of them.
From there, you can decide which one you have the best feeling about and which one works the best for you. This allows you to have more options when it comes to your representation. More importantly, it can allow you to open yourself up to ideas you may not have even thought of without searching further.
Hire Your Maritime Accidents Lawyer
These are seven things that you can use to find the right maritime accidents lawyer for you. One of the most essential things here is to make sure they have the proper experience in this field. Then, make sure that you trust them and explore all of your options.
It is probably best that you find one in the Houston area for this situation and make sure that you know the fees going in.
Do you need an accident lawyer for your case? Message us today for a free consultation.