When you get hurt in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or some other accident that happened because of the negligence of another person, it can feel like your life changed in the blink of an eye. You are dealing with an injury, recovery, medical expenses, and maybe even the loss of employment and quality of life.
Your first instinct might be to work with insurance companies, doctors, and others to cover your bills and get the compensation you deserve. However, you quickly realize that insurance companies are not interested in giving you a fair settlement. Insurance companies have lawyers working hard on their side. If you are going to have a fair resolution to your situation, you will need to have legal representation.
The question is, how do you find an attorney who is right for you? Typically, it involves more than just looking online and going with the first name that pops up.
Finding an Attorney with Experience
Law is specialized. A lawyer who spends most of their time practicing family law or criminal law can technically handle a civil case. However, they will not have the same bank of knowledge that you will get when dealing with a personal injury attorney.
You want a personal injury lawyer who represents plaintiffs. On paper, it sounds like a good idea to get an attorney who used to work for insurance companies and now works for plaintiffs. However, experience shows that if attorneys spent a considerable time working for insurance companies in the past, they may have a bias and not fight hard enough for your claim.
You can find an attorney who is right for you. But you are going to need to shop around. Get the names of different lawyers that friends recommend. Do research online and read reviews. Once you narrow down to the attorneys you think are right for you, contact each one of them.
Find an Attorney Who Wants to Work with You
You might think that you have the best case in the world and that attorneys will fight among themselves to get the chance to represent you. The reality might be quite different.
There are several reasons a lawyer might not be interested in your case. If they work on a contingency basis, this means they are only going to get paid if you win. The lawyer needs to first determine how likely you are to win your case. They need to determine how much money you will probably receive. From there, it is just a matter of doing the math.
They are going to factor in operating costs and other things that determine whether your case is worthwhile. You might convince a lawyer to take your case, but do you really want someone arguing for you if you had to convince them to be on your side?
Find a Lawyer Who Is Near You
You want to find a lawyer in your town. You’re going to be in close contact with your attorney, so you don’t want the geographic location to limit you. If you live in Rochester and you had a car accident in Rochester, common sense dictates that you are going to want to get a Rochester car accident lawyer.
Of course, just because a lawyer is in your area doesn’t mean that you automatically hire them. You have the right to ask questions. Remember, you are the one doing the hiring. You are the one who does the interviewing. For example, ask questions like:
- How long have you been in practice?
- What percentage of your cases are personal injury cases?
- Do you only represent plaintiffs?
- Have you gone to court against the insurance company or business I am bringing a claim against?
Depending on how the lawyer answers these questions, you can determine whether you want to work with them or not. Don’t be won over by large law firms. And don’t overlook smaller law firms. It is the skill, tenacity, and dedication of the attorney that determines how your case will be handled.
You need to be sure you like the attorney you are going to be working with. You are going to need to trust them and rely on them. If you do your due diligence, research the attorney’s background, learn about their experience, and find one who is in your area, you are likely to have a positive experience.
Author information: Amy Sloane is an alum of Oregon State University where she studied marketing and business. She spends her free time writing and is a knitting enthusiast. Amy loves reading, cooking, and spending time with her dog, Molly. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest blogs! @AmySloane2