Tips for Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney
Choosing the right personal injury attorney can be the difference between winning and losing a lawsuit. Professional background and legal experience in personal injury cases is essential.
How to Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
When a personal injury occurs, the injury victim may be entitled to compensation for injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, compensation may be awarded for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and punitive damages in some cases.
Although the injured party may want to file a lawsuit against the party responsible for his/her injury, choosing and hiring a lawyer can feel like a daunting task, especially for someone who has never needed legal representation. Finding the right lawyer is not impossible, but narrowing the search can make the process faster and less complicated.
Personal referrals from family members, friends, and co-workers are a good place to start. Someone who has worked with a personal injury lawyer can offer valuable advice on a lawyer’s professional background, legal knowledge and experience, practice areas, court and trial experience, personal demeanor, trustworthiness, and ethics. All of these are important attributes for an attorney.
Most local bar associations have lawyer referral services that provide the names of attorneys in specialty areas, but they do not offer much information. An online research can provide information regarding past client reviews, attorney licensing and standing in the state, and sanctions for legal violations.
Set Up a Meeting
Once an attorney is selected, the next step in contacting the law office to schedule an initial meeting about the case. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations for the first meeting to establish a personal relationship, review the details of the accident and injury, discuss the trial process and settlements, outline the time frame, and discuss legal fees. Prior to signing any type of legal agreement or contract, the client should understand and agree with all legal fees.
During the initial meeting, asking questions can provide important information.
- How long has the attorney been practicing law?
- What percentage of cases involve personal injuries?
- Does the attorney have trial experience in court?
- Will the attorney in the meeting be handling the case?
- Does the law firm work on a contingency basis?
- How are legal fees charged and collected?
Since many personal injury cases involve insurance companies, it helps to hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience with insurance claims and settlements.