Finding the right lawyer to represent you after a serious accident may seem like a daunting task. With so many attorneys promising to deliver results, it can be difficult to know who to trust. Personal injury victims like yourself should search for someone who not only has the right professional qualifications but displays compassion and empathy for your situation. Don’t settle for anything less than an attorney who will be fully committed to helping you secure the medical care and compensation you deserve.
To assist you in choosing the attorney that is right for you, we’ve compiled a list of key factors to consider.
Practice Area Focus: If you were injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you need to hire an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases. Personal injury attorneys are well-versed in an area of law known as tort law, which serves to make an injured party “whole” again after an accident. Most personal injury attorneys are capable of handling any type of accident case while others specialize in a certain niche. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you may prefer to be represented by a personal injury attorney that specializes only in car accidents.
Location: You’ll want an personal injury attorney that is licensed to practice in the state you were injured, ideally in the city or county where the accident took place. There are several key advantages to working with an attorney that practices in a specific jurisdiction:
Experience: Pursue attorneys that have at least 5 years of experience trying personal injury cases. They should have a deep understanding of the law regarding negligence and insurance coverage and a solid track record of delivering results for clients. Successful personal injury lawyers know how to gather evidence and work with medical experts to substantiate a victim’s injuries. They also know the tricks an insurance adjuster may use to delay or deny a claim and can protect you from being taken advantage of.
Credentials and Reputation: Look for credentials such as board certifications, peer ratings from other attorneys, ratings online, involvement in professional associations, and legal awards.
Disciplinary record: Check the attorney’s disciplinary record to see if any complaints have been filed against them and whether they have ever been suspended or disbarred.
Resource Capabilities: A personal injury case requires extensive preparation and investigation. You need to make sure the attorney has the time, staff, money and resources to properly handle your case.
Transparent Fee Structure: Find out how the attorney expects to be compensated and ask for a breakdown of possible charges. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they won’t get paid unless they win your case. If they do recover for you, they will take a percentage which varies from firm to firm but is usually in the 30%-40% range.
Negotiator AND Litigator: A personal injury lawyer needs to be equally adept in negotiating settlements and litigating cases in the courtroom. Some attorneys prefer to settle claims outside of court in order to avoid trial. Find an attorney that is willing to take your case to trial, if needed, in order to achieve the maximum compensation.
Summary of Questions to Ask a Potential Personal Injury Lawyer