If you’re involved in a car accident, workplace mishap, slip and fall incident, or any other accident that leaves you injured, you might need a personal injury attorney in your corner.
But how do you find the right one? You probably shouldn’t choose the first name you find in an online personal injury attorney directory. You’ll need to do some research to find the right lawyer to take on your case, develop a winning strategy, and help get you what you deserve.
One way you can find the right personal injury lawyer is by asking the right questions — and weighing the answers you get. Doing so will help you get the help you need.
Continue reading for six questions to ask before determining which lawyer to retain.
1. Do You Focus on Personal Injury Law?
It’s essential to find a personal injury lawyer focused exclusively on personal injury cases. There are lawyers out there who are generalists. So, they might handle cases in different areas of the law. While they may very well do a good job, you’ll always be better off with a specialist.
A lot is at stake in personal injury cases, so you’re better off concentrating on lawyers who know personal injury laws inside and out and who work with people in your shoes every day. Whether your case goes to court or the insurer agrees to settlement talks, you’ll want the right lawyer in your corner. The difference between a specialist and a generalist could be the difference between getting the outcome you want and being disappointed at the end of the case.
2. How Long Have You Been Practicing Personal Injury Law?
You must ask any lawyer you’re considering how long they’ve been practicing personal injury law. It’s best to find a lawyer who has been representing personal injury clients for many years or even several decades. Don’t make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who is fresh out of law school. You need to find someone who’s been in business long enough to have a track record.
You’ll be able to check out online reviews to see how personal injury lawyers on your shortlist have treated their clients in the past. The best way to find out how a service provider will treat you is to check how they’ve treated previous clients.
But if you focus on lawyers who don’t have a track record, you might not find the reviews you need to help you make an informed choice.
3. Do You Have the Financial and Staffing Needed to Take My Case to Court?
A personal injury case could last months or even years — and the costs can add up to a small fortune the longer it takes. You’ll want to know that the lawyer you hire has the financial and staffing capacity to take your case to court.
Depending on the personal injury you sustained in an accident, your lawyer might need to line up various medical experts. That costs money. There might be a need to hire an accident reconstruction specialist, too.
Look for a personal injury lawyer to take your case to trial if the need arises. The last thing you’ll want is for a lawyer to push you to accept a lowball settlement offer due to limited resources at the law firm.
4. Do You Try Lawsuits in Court?
It might not occur to you to ask any personal injury lawyer you’re considering whether they have experience taking lawsuits to court. The reality is that not all of them do. And some don’t necessarily have a lot of experience on that front. Many personal injury lawyers reach settlements before the cases get to a courtroom. While finding a lawyer with settlement experience is essential, so is finding one with courtroom experience.
5. Are You a Member of Any Legal Associations Focused on Helping Injured People?
You should also ask any personal injury lawyer you’re considering if they are members of any national or state associations composed of attorneys committed to helping injury victims. Seeking membership in such organizations will demonstrate a level of commitment.
You’ll want to ask yourself why a lawyer with a personal injury practice isn’t a member of relevant groups. Attorneys who are part of such associations tend to stay on top of the latest developments, work together on advocacy initiatives, and sharpen their skills. As the old saying goes, iron sharpens iron. It’s in your best interests to find a legal representative who is all in.
6. What Percentage of Your Cases Come Courtesy of Referrals From Colleagues?
It’s also a good idea to ask any personal injury lawyer you’re considering about the percentage of their cases that come via referrals from lawyers practicing in other areas of the law. A personal injury lawyer who gets a lot of cases courtesy of referrals is worth considering seriously. It means that their peers regard them highly and feel comfortable referring them. No lawyer will risk their reputation recommending a lawyer who isn’t deemed a reputable service provider.
If you come across a lawyer whose practice focuses on another area of the law, that lawyer might be the perfect person to ask for a referral. It’s worth considering if you need a personal injury lawyer but don’t quite know where to start. Getting a referral or two and then asking the right questions and weighing the answers can help you find the legal representation you need.
If you need a personal injury lawyer, you’ll want to choose the best one for your situation. Asking the right questions will help you find someone you can count on. But also focus on the answers you get back. A personal injury lawyer who struggles to explain things in a way that you can understand is a red flag. So, too, is a lawyer who doesn’t appear to like being questioned. Don’t settle. Take the time you need to find someone to be in your corner. The process can be a long and complex one. You’ll be working with the lawyer you choose for months or even years.
As a result, you owe it to yourself to be selective and find the right legal representation.