No one likes to think about what would happen if they were in an accident – until it happens. But by then, it is too late. Your mind is not clear, and you could make bad decisions. Accidents that cause personal injury can put you out of work, and you may incur hefty medical bills. Therefore it is essential to get the rightful compensation if another party is responsible.
A personal injury attorney can help you get the rightful compensation for the losses incurred. But how do you choose the right one from the sea of attorneys available?
It is easier than picking a needle from a haystack. Follow these steps, and you will have the right attorney to argue your case.
Create a list of lawyers who match your needs
There are many attorneys out there. Some have their names and pictures on billboards; others are on TV and a variety of media. Not all specialize in personal injury. So, start by creating a list of lawyers who match your needs.
Ask for referrals from your networks, or check online for personal injury attorneys within your state.
Check out some of their client reviews and ask the referees to tell you about their experience. Also, check out their websites and find out if they specialize in your particular type of claim. Some personal injury attorneys specialize in automobile accidents, some deal with medical malpractice, some focus on workplace injuries, etc.
Create a list of lawyers who are trustworthy and are familiar with the nature of your claim. From this pool, you can make calls and arrange an initial consultation. Most personal injury attorneys would give this initial service free.
Here is a suggested criterion you can use to narrow down on the attorney.
Check their experience
We mentioned earlier that personal injury attorneys deal with diverse types of injuries and claims. The more experienced an attorney is in handling injuries and claims similar to yours, the higher the chances of success.
The attorney would know what to look for, where to look, and ask the right questions. It will save you a lot of time and could make all the difference!
You can ask the attorney the following questions to get an idea of their experience:
- For how long have you been practicing?
- How many personal injury claims have you handled?
- Do you have experience handling the specific type of case you are presenting? If yes, how many?
- Do you have trial experience?
- Do they have experience handling complex cases?
Check their success rate
How does the attorney define success? Some personal injury attorneys may boast of a high success rate. But on scrutiny, you may discover that all they have under their belts are several under-par settlements.
As you check the attorney’s resume of cases, you can ask the following questions:
- Have they consistently won high-value settlements for their clients?
- How many complex claims (involving catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death) have they handled? What is the success rate?
- Have they been recognized for monumental decisions or settlements?
Check their availability and resources they bring
It does not matter how good a lawyer is; if they are not available for your case, you have the short end of the stick. If your attorney is grappling to find time for your case, he or she may end up accepting a low-ball offer just so that they can move on.
Ensure you enquire about the availability of an attorney. If you are dealing with a law firm, find out if they would have a dedicated attorney handling your case. Then arrange for a meeting with the attorney. Also, ask about the resources they would bring to support your case. Do they have professionals to give expert opinions and reports? In most personal injury claims, attorneys often call on professionals to support the claims. The opposing party would also call professionals to help justify and secure a low-value settlement.
Check their pricing
Is the lawyer affordable? What payment model do they use?
Some lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means that you pay the attorney’s legal fees only if he or she wins your case. Your legal fees will be taken out of the settlement amount or will be paid by the defendant. Others require clients to pay upfront fees. If the attorney uses the latter model, you should have sufficient cash to cover the costs. Make sure to read up on what goes into filing a personal injury claim so you are aware of all the costs and the negotiations and offers that will happen.
Finally, check your experience
Choosing the right personal injury attorney could boil down to the kind of experience you have.
Likely, lawyers who would make you smile on the above criteria would also have excellent professionalism.
But just in case you want to check if they conduct business professionally, reflect on your consultation meeting and ask yourself:
- Were they interested in your case and your questions?
- Were they friendly, professional, and responsive?
- Did they appear to be honestly concerned about your well-being?
- Do they communicate frequently and openly?
The kind of experience you have with a lawyer or law firm tells a lot about the other qualities. Choose a personal injury attorney who gives excellent service and high-quality representation.
Author information: Holly Klamer loves to write on issues related to memory care facilities for seniors, assisted and senior living, and retirement and is a frequent contributor on many blogs and online publications.