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How to Select an Illinois Boat Accident Attorney

What should you look for when hiring an Illinois boat accident attorney? Every boat accident victim will have his or her own personal requirements when hiring an attorney, but qualities to consider include:

  • Has experience negotiating Illinois boat accident settlements and handling Illinois boat accident lawsuits
  • Suggests a case-management strategy you agree with
  • Is someone with whom you'd feel comfortable entrusting your case
  • Makes you feel confident about following his or her advice and recommendations
  • Provides a realistic estimate of how money you could expect to recover from the party at fault in your boating accident
  • Charges a legal fee that is reasonable

To this list you should add any personal requirements, such as a lawyer who offers evening office hours or one who speaks Spanish.

How to Find an Illinois Boat Accident Attorney

In all likelihood, this is your first time hiring an Illinois boat accident attorney, and you may not know how to go about finding a lawyer. There are several things you can do to find an attorney who's qualified to handle your case.

Typically you'll need a maritime lawyer if your boating accident happened on water used for interstate or international commerce (even if it was a pleasure boat accident). For example, accidents on Lake Michigan, the Illinois River, or the Mississippi River would require a maritime lawyer. Boating accidents that occur on inland lakes would require an Illinois personal injury lawyer. (For purposes of this article, we'll call both types of lawyers boat accident attorneys.)

If you know anyone who's previously hired an Illinois boat accident attorney, ask that person if he or she would recommend his or her lawyer. A recommendation from someone with firsthand experience working with a lawyer can be valuable.

Similarly, if you know someone who practices a different type of law, ask if they can refer you to a lawyer who practices Illinois boat accident law. They may have a colleague who has experience representing Illinois boating accident victims.

If you don't know anyone who can recommend a boat accident attorney, you are at the right site. Attorneys.com has a service to connect you with local boat crash lawyers.

When you are ready to begin the process, you can call 1-877-913-7222 or complete the short form on this site. Once you have answered some basic questions, we will give you contact information for one or more Illinois boat accident lawyers. You can call the lawyers yourself, or they will follow up with you within two business days.

Meeting with Illinois Boat Accident Attorneys

After you have the name of at least one boat accident lawyer, you will probably want to schedule an initial consultation with the attorney. This meeting will help you learn more about the lawyer's skills and help the lawyer learn more about the specifics of your case. Ultimately, you'll use what you learn in the meeting to help you decide whether to hire the lawyer to handle your case.

Most attorneys offer the initial consultation to prospective clients for free, but double check when scheduling your appointment.

You will want to prepare for each meeting. Start by making notes about your boating accident. Write down when and where the accident occurred, what chain of events led up to the accident, who else was involved and witnessed the accident, and what injuries you incurred. You should also make copies of any accident-related documents (such as Coast Guard reports, doctor's notes, and insurance company correspondence) to bring to the meeting.

Next you'll want to make a list of questions you'd like to ask the lawyer. Remember that one of the purposes of this meeting is to decide whether to hire the attorney, so ask questions that help you make this decision. Typical you'll want to focus on questions that help you determine whether the lawyer meets your requirements. You'll probably want to address:

  • The lawyer's experience negotiating Illinois boat accident settlements and handling Illinois boat accident lawsuits
  • The lawyer's recommended strategy for handling your case
  • The lawyer's estimate of how money you could expect to recover from the party at fault in your boating accident
  • The lawyer's fees and estimated expenses to handle your case

Bring your accident-related notes, list of questions, and some writing materials to your meeting. Making notes during the meeting will help refresh your memory when it comes time to select an attorney.

Know that everything said in these meetings will be kept confidential even with the lawyers you do not hire.

Selecting an Illinois Boat Accident Attorney

After you've wrapped up your initial consultations, it's time to select a boat accident attorney to handle your case. You may immediately know which attorney you want to hire, which will make your decision an easy one. But if you're torn between several lawyers, ask each one for references and talk to past clients about their experiences with the lawyer.

When selecting an attorney consider:

  • Does the attorney have the experience and skills to handle your case?
  • Did you agree with the attorney's proposed strategy?
  • Did you feel comfortable with the lawyer, and would you enjoy working with him or her?
  • Are the legal fees and expenses reasonable?
  • Once you've found a qualified lawyer you can trust and afford, you are ready to hire him or her and begin your boat accident case.

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