The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OSHO) recorded a total of 73,267 crashes statewide in 2019, marking a 2.8% increase over the previous year.
This translates to approximately 201 accidents per day, in which an average of 91 people are injured.
Oklahoma City accounts for nearly one-third (19,930) of all collisions in the state. In fact, the capital ranks 30th among the most dangerous cities for drivers in the entire country.
While workplace accidents are relatively rare, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counting 97 total fatalities statewide in the latest survey, they still pose a risk to many people in Oklahoma City. The same is true for dog bites, falls and any other accidents that warrant the assistance of a personal injury (PI) lawyer.
Perhaps you’re on the fence about whether you actually need to hire a lawyer for your case. Is it really necessary to spend additional money and time?
There are certain scenarios where you may not always need a PI lawyer. For instance:
- You can handle the complexities of insurance claims
- You aren’t inclined to receive compensation for your losses
- You weren’t hurt or your injuries are minor
What if you were at fault? If you have insurance, then you should be provided with an attorney to defend you. However, your chances of success will be much higher with an independent PI lawyer at your side.
With this in mind, let’s briefly discuss how to find reputable personal injury lawyers in Oklahoma City before deciding if you need one after an accident.
Where to Look for an Attorney That Handles Personal Injury Cases
As the legal system grows ever-more complicated, the practice of law has become increasingly specialized. You might end up knowing more about personal injury law than some attorneys by the time you’ve read through this guide.
That’s why your first priority should be to select a lawyer with qualifications and experience in representing plaintiffs (claimants) in personal injury cases. It’s also wise to avoid getting legal assistance from someone who primarily works with insurance companies. They might be too accustomed to siding with the insurer and not their clients.
It’s important to note that not all cases are deemed worthwhile. An attorney can have several reasons for not wanting your case. Since most of them work on a contingency fee basis, what they make is based on what you ultimately receive in compensation. If that fails to cover their expenses or your odds of winning are low, your request might be declined.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other good lawyers in Oklahoma City who can take on your case. In order to find them, you may want to start by consulting friends, family, or attorneys you already know. You can also use online lawyer directories, including:
How to Choose a Personal Injury Attorney
What makes one personal injury lawyer better than another?
According to OKC personal injury lawyer Kent McGuire, “Begin by narrowing down your search to local attorneys who practice nearby. This way, you can gauge their reputation and reliability more accurately.” You’ll also be able to visit their office for an initial consultation. No lawyer worth your time will charge for this. While you’re there, you can use the opportunity to ask a few questions, such as:
- How long have you been practicing in Oklahoma City?
- What percentage of your cases involve personal injury claims?
- Do you primarily represent claimants or defendants?
- Who will be working on my case?
Keep in mind that the size of the firm isn’t always indicative of their expertise. Many of the top PI lawyers choose to work in smaller firms. That said, make sure your case isn’t left in the hands of inexperienced lawyers or support staff.
Also, remember to pay attention to the way your attorney communicates. Can they explain things clearly? Do they listen to you? Do you get the sense that they’ll keep you informed moving forward? You naturally want to avoid anyone who doesn’t appear interested in your concerns.
After discussing the facts of your case, you should be given an estimate on the value of your settlement and the likelihood of the insurance company paying out. You might want to ask the attorney to detail any historical settlements that their firm has secured in the past. Here are some examples from cases in Oklahoma City:
- $16,000,000 for bad faith by the insurance company for failure to pay policy benefits
- $6,000,000 for personal injury from exposure to toxic material
- $2,100,000 for brain injury from fall
Let’s wrap this section up with some additional guidelines for choosing the best personal injury lawyer:
- Assess their industry associations and certifications
- Check their website and online reviews
- Discuss fees before signing
- Ensure they are properly trained
Finally, you should see if the lawyer is board-certified. The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is one organization that helps lawyers achieve certification. You can usually find these details on the attorney’s website.
When You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are several ways to clear your doubts as to whether or not you need a personal injury attorney for your accident. Find more about that here Exclusive Leads Agency.
Of course, if you suffered any kind of serious injury or permanent disability, it stands to reason that there’s no room for chance, and consulting with an attorney (for free) is the very least you should do. This may be the only way to prevent lifelong financial stress for you and your family members.
It’s not always clear as to who is at fault in an accident. This is another question that a PI lawyer can answer and it’s particularly important given that insurance companies are notorious for trying to get you to take the blame. On that note, you should also hire a PI attorney if your insurer denied your claim or simply isn’t complying/responding.
Also, if your insurer issues a low settlement offer, an attorney can help you secure a more reasonable compensation.
Now that you know if you need a personal injury lawyer, you can use the afore-mentioned guidelines to find and choose the best one for your case. There are many great attorneys in Oklahoma City, so don’t hesitate to get started.