Personal Injury Lawyer
Finding the right attorney is the most important part of winning your case.
The wrong attorney may not have the financial resources, the time or the expertise needed to adequately address your case.
The right attorney will have a better chance of winning in court, so doing your research is vital.
How so you choose the right lawyer?
Think of choosing your attorney with the same care you would use when buying a car.
Referrals are a great start, because it means someone else has used this attorney and has had a good experience. Word of mouth matters, and your peers can be a good guide for seeking out the attorney who works for you.
Most lawyers focus their practices on a few specialties including criminal law, employment law, personal injury, family law, bankruptcy or trial litigation, so your referrals should be for attorneys that specialize in the specific practice area you need.
Carefully research attorneys in your region who have experience with your particular need, whether it is bankruptcy, medical malpractice, social security, worker’s compensation or car accident cases. A large firm that covers many practice areas is okay, but a smaller firm that claims to have expertise in many areas may not be a smart choice, because they might not have the resources available to adequately meet your needs.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, conduct interviews through the initial consultation most attorneys offer at no charge. This will give you a chance to find out if they have the experience to win your case, whether it can be handled by a conversation with an insurance company or will go to trial, and help you determine if you and your attorney will get along well. This is especially important if yours is a complicated case such as medical malpractice, which can drag on for years, meaning you and your lawyer will have a lasting relationship.
Some questions to ask during that consultation include:
- Have you handled many cases in my specific legal situation?
- How long have you and your partners been in practice?
- What is your success rate?
- Do you have the funds available to hire as many expert witnesses as my case may demand? (Smaller firms may not be in a position to hire medical experts for a medical malpractice case, for example, and not having the right experts could mean the difference between winning or losing your case, especially because physicians will have the hospital’s resources backing them.)
- How much of your caseload is focused on my legal problem? If you are struggling to get approved for Social Security, for example, an attorney whose office’s caseload is 80 percent dedicated to Social Security would be a good choice for you.
- What are your overall fees? Attorneys generally charge a percentage of your settlement in an insurance or personal injury case, usually 30 to 40 percent. Fees differ from state to state, and it’s best to know up front rather than be surprised at the end when your settlement isn’t what you expected.
- Can you provide client references? TV attorneys usually lead with references to help cement their strengths. That may not mean they are right for you, but the attorney you choose should be able to offer similar written references.
- How will they communicate with you regarding your case? Letters are fine, but some information demands a phone call, so knowing this will help you decide how closely you and your attorney will be working together to win your case.
After meeting with a personal injury lawyer, consider if you would feel comfortable working with them and if you think they have the experience and background to meet your legal needs. If so, you likely have found a qualified attorney to meet your needs, and can proceed with confidence.