If you've recently been injured in an auto accident or another personal injury incident, then you are probably researching personal injury attorneys in your area. Depending on your city, you may have hundreds of lawyers to choose from. This can make an already stressful situation even more overwhelming. When looking for a qualified personal injury lawyer, here are a few things to consider to make sure you are hiring the best person for your case.
1. Consider your lawyer's experience and law focus
Law is a complex profession with dozens of specialties. Even within personal injury law, there are law firms that may focus only on auto accidents, slip and falls, or premise liability. Even though these are all classified under "personal injury," the cases are handled differently. Therefore, working with a dedicated personal injury attorney can help give you an advantage. They have experience working in a specialized field of law. If you are considering an attorney that also practices family law, for example, then you should heavily compare their success rates and online reviews before choosing them. If you want to expect a good outcome for your case, then it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney that specializes in personal injury exclusively.
2. Hire an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Most people want to settle quickly and are not thrilled with the idea of taking their personal injury case to court - especially since court cases can last longer than expected. An experienced personal injury attorneys goal is to get you the best settlement and sometimes that requires going to trial.
3. Ask to review your Personal Injury Lawyer's success rate
This seems like it should go without saying but hiring a lawyer who is successful helps to reassure you that they are committed and qualified for your case. Even if your attorney has been practicing law for decades, if they aren't winning their cases then that experience isn't much help to you.
4. Consider your Personal Injury Lawyer's reputation in their field
Many attorneys have online legal profiles you can view on Nolo.com or Lawyers.com. Often, smart lawyers will provide advice or write useful articles that you can read. Legal, social sites such as Avvo allow users to view what other lawyers have to say about their colleagues. This can provide significant insight before selecting an attorney. Lawyers that have an established relationship with law community may have better resources to offer you pre-settlement funding options.
5. Find out if your Personal Injury Lawyer is a member of any law groups
Lawyers hold other lawyers accountable. There are several law groups that exist to provide networking and accountability among lawyers. An example of this is that National Trial Lawyers. National Trial Lawyers is an organization that recognizes exceptional trial lawyers across the country. This reputable group spotlights successful and exemplary attorneys on their success rates, code of conduct, and continued education. Members of organizations like this one are among the best trial lawyers for you to consider hiring for your personal injury case.
6. Consult with your Personal Injury Lawyer to ensure they have the resources to take your case seriously
Many plaintiffs are surprised to find out how expensive personal injury cases can be for their lawyer. Preparing a personal injury case requires an immense amount of work and investment from your attorney. They can incur legal costs from preparing depositions, filing with the court, obtaining records, and consulting with experts. Many personal injury lawyers are paid under a contingency fee agreement. This means that they pay the upfront costs on the condition that they will be repaid when a settlement is won. Alternatively, some attorneys may require that you pay the case costs up front. It is best if you choose an attorney who is invested in winning your case and can afford that commitment.
7. Check your Personal Injury Lawyer's previous case wins and references
Ask your attorney if you can speak with any of their previous clients. While privacy policies may prevent this, it is still worth asking. Although there is no online record for you to review a lawyer's win-loss record, you can ask them for their references to get an idea of what their reputation is. Most attorneys will have examples of the previous case wins that they can cite. Also, even the best attorneys will have lost a few cases.
8. Ask your potential Personal Injury Lawyer if they can help with pre-settlement funding
Pre-settlement funding can mean the difference between a quick settlement and a fair one. Before hiring a personal injury attorney, ask if they recommend any lenders for lawsuit financing in case your suit goes to trial or takes longer than anticipated.
9. Consider your Personal Injury Lawyer's reputation in their field
Many attorneys have online legal profiles you can view on Nolo.com or Lawyers.com. Often, smart lawyers will provide advice or write useful articles that you can read. Legal, social sites such as Avvo allow users to view what other lawyers have to say about their colleagues. This can provide significant insight before selecting an attorney. Lawyers that have an established relationship with law community may have better resources to offer you.
Hiring the right Personal Injury lawyer can mean the difference between a successful settlement or potentially losing your case. Your best bet is to look for a lawyer who has experience and a good record settling personal injury cases. Ask your friends, family, and associates if they recommend any lawyers. Alternatively, you can call your state bar association. Once you think you've narrowed down your selection, read online reviews and research your lawyer's reputation and success rate. Consult with your potential lawyer and talk to them about any concerns you have with financing and experience. Finally, go with your gut! Choose an attorney that you feel most comfortable with and that you believe will fight for your case.