When another person’s wrongful, reckless, or negligent actions injure you, selecting the right personal injury lawyer to represent you is crucial. However, many people who experience horrifying injuries have no idea what type of attorney they need to ensure their case gets the necessary legal support.
We have prepared the following post to clear up some of this confusion. We will review everything you need to know about choosing the right personal injury attorney. We’ll give you questions to ask to ensure that you get the legal support required to hold the wrongful parties accountable for your losses. Here are the first steps you should take to find a personal injury lawyer:
Check With Your Network
Talk to people you trust to find out whether they had a positive experience with a personal injury lawyer.
For instance, you can:
- Speak to other lawyers who have represented you in the past, such as a divorce attorney or a trust and estate attorney, to find out if they know of any personal injury lawyers they can refer you to.
- Talk to your family and friends about whether they have ever retained a personal injury attorney. If they had a good experience with one of these lawyers, you can arrange a consultation with the lawyer and see if they meet your expectations.
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Do Your Research
When most people need a lawyer, they jump on Google and search for legal professionals in their area. However, just because a lawyer pops up in your Google search does not make them the right choice.
Before hiring a personal injury attorney, do some in-depth research.
- Verify that the attorney you are considering is licensed in the state and is in good standing.
- Check the attorney’s website to figure out what types of cases they handle, read testimonials from clients, and learn about the specific financial awards they have obtained for clients.
- Meet with the attorney to see how you get along. You will spend a lot of time working together, so you need to work with someone you respect. Having a direct conversation with the attorney can also help you verify that you trust them and have a good rapport.
Discuss Fees Upfront and Make Sure the Legal Agreement Is in Writing
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they win or settle a case. However, clarify payment details with the lawyer ahead of time so that expenses you cannot afford do not surprise you.
Before you start working with a personal injury lawyer, review their fee agreement. Specifically, verify the percentage they will charge you of the final financial recovery awarded in your case and whether they will deduct office expenses from the fee. Finally, before you sign a fee agreement, make sure it contains everything you and the lawyer discussed.
Find Out the Extent of the Lawyer’s Training Handling Personal Injury Claims
Another aspect you will want to discuss with the lawyer is their level of training and whether they will be the one working on your case. Many attorneys claim they will fight for you but refer your case to other litigators instead of handing it personally.
When interviewing a lawyer, you may want to ask them:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Do you have trial experience? If so, how much experience do you have?
- What percentage of your legal cases involve personal injury claims?
- Will you be the attorney specifically handling my case? Or will another lawyer in the firm be responsible for my legal claim?
- Will you be referring my case to another attorney outside of the firm?
- What are the qualifications of the lawyer that will be handling my case?
- How will we communicate about my case?
- How often will you provide updates regarding what is going on with my legal claim?
- Do you participate in the local bar association or contribute to campaigns?
- Have you ever been disciplined by any ethical or legal committees?
- Will I have direct communication with you if I have concerns or questions?
These questions are just an example of things you should consider asking. If you have further concerns, include them on the list. Getting answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of who will be handling your legal claim. They will also provide you with further insight into the lawyer and whether they can fight for the outcome you want.
Find out if the Lawyer’s Settlement Goals Align With Your Own
Because many personal injury cases will settle before going to trial, you should discuss settlement goals before you retain a lawyer to verify whether their goals align with your own.
To do this, ask how they deal with settlement negotiations and their opinion on your ability to get the settlement you want. Once they give their input, you can better understand whether you are on the same page regarding settlement negotiations.
In addition, you can also ask the lawyer the following questions:
- Do you want to obtain a particular settlement offer with as few costs to you as possible?
- Do you want to get a significant settlement offer but still make sure you receive it quickly?
- Or, do you want to obtain the highest settlement, no matter how long the process takes?
- How many million-dollar settlements has your firm had?
These questions can help you determine whether the law firm is willing to work with you and understands your settlement goals.
Discuss the Lawyer’s History of Taking Cases to Trial
Quite a few attorneys who advertise handling personal injury cases have never tried court cases. Instead, they take on a claim and pressure the victim to settle as quickly as possible. Worse yet, when an insurance company knows that an attorney does not go to trial or avoids the courtroom, they will take advantage of the situation.
The insurance company will offer meager settlements or make no effort to settle the case because they know the attorney will fold under pressure and try to get their client to take whatever they offer.
Therefore, you must question the lawyer’s trial history and whether they are prepared to proceed with your case in front of a judge or a jury if necessary.
Make Sure the Lawyer Has Sufficient Resources to Take on Your Case
A severe personal injury legal claim is expensive to prepare and may require expert witnesses to help substantiate the case, like doctors, accident reconstructionists, or financial specialists. As a result, cases can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to prepare.
When interviewing potential lawyers, make sure they have enough funds to take on your case and pursue the results you need. Ask whether the firm has a line of credit or the necessary personal assets to prepare your case properly.
Create a Checklist of What is Most Important to You
When choosing a personal injury attorney, you can create a checklist to guide your decision. You can include the qualities you want to look for in a personal injury lawyer. Two critical qualities include:
A personal injury law firm should not make it hard for clients to hire them. Instead, they should make it as convenient as possible for you to reach out to them, speak with them, or meet up during this challenging time.
Think about this:
- Is the lawyer willing to come to meet with you at your home, work, or hospital?
- Will they work around your schedule to sign legal documents?
- Is the attorney willing to reach out to you after-hours to provide you with a case update?
There is nothing more frustrating than going through an accident only to find yourself unable to reach the person entrusted to help you.
For these reasons, when you are interviewing potential legal professionals, you want to focus on:
- Whether they listen to your concerns
- Whether they explain things clearly, and in a way you understand
- Whether they keep open and effective lines of communication
- Whether the attorney will be available to explain what is happening in your personal injury case so you can make informed decisions
Keep an Eye out for Red Flags
Every person has red flags they watch out for when meeting someone new.
When choosing a lawyer, watch out for:
- Attorneys who have quite a few poor client reviews
- Attorneys who appear to have no idea what to do when you ask them how they will handle your legal claim
- Attorneys who have a poor reputation for trying cases
- Attorneys who do not have their fee agreements in writing
- Attorneys who make promises that they will get you a quick resolution before even reviewing all the facts of your case
Reach Out to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney and Find out How They Can Help You
Although researching personal injury lawyers takes time, finding someone to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve will help you move forward after a devastating injury.
Do not wait any longer to start your research and get the legal help you need. Instead, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your case for free and find out how a nearby attorney can help you fight for your rights.