If you get hurt in some kind of accident, you’ve probably been told, “You should hire a lawyer.” The person saying that may mean well, but they probably don’t know the particulars of your case in relation to civil lawsuits. There are a lot of cases where your best bet is to at least visit a couple of personal injury lawyers and talk about your case. But you can’t pick just any lawyer in America. You need a lawyer who understands how the legal system works in your city, county, and state. Let’s take a closer look at why any lawyer you hire must be local.
They’ve got connections.
You hear “location, location, location” a lot in reference to real estate, but it also plays a part in any civil case. Let’s say you get hurt in Southern California. Well, there are nearly 200,000 active lawyers in California, but you obviously don’t want to hire just anyone. You don’t need a criminal defense attorney and you probably don’t need a medical malpractice attorney either.
No, you need a personal injury attorney in Southern California. But Southern California is one of the most populated regions in the country. Well over 23 million people called it home in 2016. If someone is hurt in Riverside County and tries to hire a lawyer in San Diego County, they’re barking up the wrong tree. The cities of Riverside and San Diego are almost 100 miles apart. A lawyer from San Diego might know a few people in Riverside, but chances are they aren’t going to have a network of connections.
But local lawyers have that network.. Let’s say you get hurt in Irvine or Anaheim, you need to hire an Orange County injury attorney. They can point to other cases they’ve taken on in the county and tell you how things played out. They know how judges and juries in the area tend to treat personal injury cases. That all matters a lot more than you might realize.
They’re available when you need them to be.
You’ll also need someone local so you can reach them in a hurry. If you want to call a lawyer and set up an appointment, you’ll need to reach someone who live within a few miles of your house. Now, in Southern California, a few miles of your house could still take an hour, as Los Angeles-area traffic congestion is notoriously bad. But you can cut that wait time down significantly just by going local.
Think of your personal injury case the way you would think of a car in need of repairs. If you were on a road trip to Oregon and got into a car accident near the state’s capital, you wouldn’t ask the tow guy to take your car all the way up to Portland. Instead you’d ask about auto body repair in Salem, OR. When you’re in a crisis, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time commuting to get assistance. You get it wherever you can find it.
They can explain the laws.
Different states treat civil suits differently. Some states will limit noneconomic damages, for instance. After you get hurt, you’ll probably be worried about emergency room bills and other medical expenses. But you may have also lost money from not being able to work, and you may wonder if it’s even possible to get damages for pain and suffering.
Your local attorney can estimate your chances of succeeding in all those areas. That doesn’t mean they can guarantee anything, though. As a general rule, you should never hire a lawyer who promises you a certain outcome. That legal system is too unpredictable, and that’s doubly true if you end up going to a jury trial. But they can use their years of education and on-the-ground experience to explain how local laws will apply in your injury case.