When someone has been seriously injured, selecting the right personal injury lawyer is critical to a successful outcome. Medical bills and lost pay may accrue, and who is chosen to advocate for the well-being of a family from the very beginning of a claim is important. Hiring the best lawyer for a case will give it the best possible chance in court. There are a number of elements to be considered when choosing a lawyer.
1) Seek out a lawyer skilled in personal injury law.
Experienced law firms with a focus is on civil trial litigation and injury cases will have handled injury cases that may include auto accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation cases, and injuries caused by defective products.
2) Find a lawyer with experience. One of a lawyer’s most important assets is experience. Research the trial experience of a lawyer and look for a track record of success. The goal is to create a list of three or four prospective candidates. To find a lawyer with experience:
Check Biographical information, including whatever can be found on web sites for lawyers and law firms.
Ask for referrals. Referrals are a good source of information if the people who are asked are trusted and have experience in claims Check with family, friends, colleagues, and even lawyers used in the past. Another option is to use the referral service of a local bar association or respected legal organization.
Use search engines to find any articles, FAQ’s or other informational pieces the lawyer has done that provide a level of comfort.
Check which professional associations the lawyer is a member of.
Check with the state bar association to find out if the lawyer is in good standing.
Search online archives for any publicity about the lawyer or the cases that he or she has handled. Information on the lawyer’s large-settlement personal injury cases may appear.
Look into the honors and awards received by the lawyer or law firm.
Ask for references and talk to people who could comment on the lawyer’s skills and trustworthiness.
3) Hire a local lawyer. A lawyer based in the state will have extensive knowledge of needed state laws. His or her local experience may also help with the case. Start with an internet search. The next step is to schedule an initial consultation to meet with the lawyer in person. The majority of personal injury attorneys do not charge a fee for this initial consultation, but be sure to ask about any fees prior to meeting an attorney.
4)Strongly consider choosing a lawyer who bills on a contingent fee agreement. Contingency fees mean that a client only pays the lawyer fees if the lawyer wins money for the client. As payment, the lawyer receives a percentage of the settlement.
5) Seek a lawyer with the resources to handle a case. In a number of cases, expenses associated with proving the case can be significant. A good lawyer can afford to advance those costs and hire the best possible experts, which may include investigators, accident reconstructionists, engineers, medical professionals and-or other qualified experts.
6) Ask the right questions. When meeting with a personal injury attorney for the first time, be prepared to present all related documentation, such as the official police report and any correspondence with the insurance company. In addition to discussing the details of the particular case, also ask the personal injury lawyer questions that include:
- What is your educational background?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How many personal injury claims have you successfully settled?
- Do you anticipate the case going to trial?
- What is your experience as a trial attorney?
- If I want to accept a lower settlement than you think we can recover to avoid going to trial will you honor that desire?
- If I wish to reject a settlement offer you think is fair, will you go to trial for a larger amount?
- Are there any additional fees or potential expenses I should know about?