How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for You
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer
When you find yourself in need of legal advice or representation, it can be hard to know where to begin. You may never have had to seek a lawyer before. You may be unfamiliar with how the legal system works, or whether you even have a case. With so many lawyers to choose from, how do you know who you can trust? How do you know who will get the best results? We have some advice on how to choose the right personal injury lawyer for your unique case.
Not all law firms are created equal. In fact, your choice of personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in the success of your case. When you’ve been injured, or lost a loved one in a tragic accident, you want to know that your case is in the right hands. Consider the factors below to help you choose the right personal injury attorney.
Personal Injury Specialty
First, make sure that your lawyer specializes in this specific area of the law. Just like you wouldn’t go to a cardiologist for a broken foot, you don’t want to take your car accident case to a real estate lawyer. Do some research (a law firm’s website is a good place to start) to find out if their practice handles cases like yours. If you have a more complex case, such as a commercial truck accident or a dangerous medical device, be sure that your lawyer has experience dealing with your specific case type. Not all personal injury firms will have the experience or resources to devote to these difficult types of cases.
When it comes to complex personal injury cases, experience matters. Knowledge of negligence, tort law, insurance, and defense tactics don’t come overnight. The right personal injury lawyer will have years of experience to draw from in building your case.
Any lawyer can claim to be the best, so don’t take their word for it. Instead, take a look at what their past clients have to say. This will give you a sense not only for their case results, but also their overall experience with the firm. Were they communicative, or difficult to reach? Compassionate, or cold? These questions are important to ask.
An excellent personal injury lawyer will be well-respected by his/her peers in the legal industry. Involvement in state or national legal associations is a sign that an attorney has a reputation in the industry and that they’re well-informed about developments in their field. Credentials and honors like “Best Lawyers in America,” bar association awards, or ratings from Martindale-Hubbell indicate that the lawyer has been evaluated by other attorneys and has received top marks for their legal knowledge, skills, and acumen.
Of course, you want a lawyer who will win your case. A record of successful trial verdicts and case settlements often marks a good personal injury lawyer. Check out a law firm’s past settlements and verdicts to get an idea of what they’re capable of.
After you’ve been injured, you’re likely to face unexpected costs. Medical bills, physical therapy, missed time from work, among others. You shouldn’t have to pay an exorbitant hourly fee in order to get compensation for your losses. Instead, look for a lawyer who charges on a “contingent fee” basis. This means that the lawyer only gets a fee (a percentage of the settlement or verdict) if they win your case.
Choosing a Lawyer: Checklist
As you search for an attorney, visit law firm websites to look for the following information:
- What kinds of cases they take
- How long they’ve been practicing law
- Client reviews
- Past client victories
- Reputation and credentials
- Attorney profiles
Of course, there are other factors that will influence your choice – office locations, language needs, personal referrals, and more. A free consultation can give you a better feel for the firm you’re considering, and give you the opportunity to get answers to some of your questions.
For more help, check out our answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about personal injury cases.
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