Not everyone knows how to find a personal injury lawyer if and when they find themselves in need of one. There are many types of situations that fall under the umbrella of personal injury, any of which can have life changing consequences and bring along serious financial hardship. Filing a personal injury claim can help you receive compensation for your losses, but it is not guaranteed. Hiring a good personal injury attorney can make all the difference.
It can be a difficult and daunting process to find the right attorney during what is already an undoubtably stressful experience. You want to find the best person for you and your situation. There are a lot of personal injury lawyers out there and all of them promise to be the best. It is important to do your research and take the time to find the attorney that’s right for you.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Some situations may not call for you to hire a lawyer at all. Accidents that result in minor property damage and no injuries can often be handled quickly by the insurance companies. However, there are situations where you may want to seek the assistance of an attorney, such as:
- You were injured in the accident
- There is dispute over who is at fault for the accident
- Your claim has been reduced or denied by the insurance company
- The insurance company offers a substantially low settlement
- The insurance policy does not fully cover the extent of the damages
- The person who was at fault does not have insurance
What to Look for In a Personal Injury Lawyer
When hiring a personal injury attorney, there are a few things you should look into:
Communication – Communication skills are one of the most important things a lawyer needs to have. Not only should they be able to quickly and efficiently negotiate with insurance companies or present your case in court if necessary, but they should also be able to thoroughly explain the aspects and options of your situation to you.
Ethics – One of the most important aspects of the attorney client relationship is trust. You need to know that your attorney is worthy of that trust and has your best interests at heart. The state bar will have a record of any complaints or disciplinary actions taken against any particular attorney.
Experience – Not every attorney has experience in every aspect of law. When searching for an attorney, you want to be sure that they specialize in the area you need. An experienced personal injury attorney will have the skills and practice necessary to get you the best results.
Reputation – A good way to get an idea of what an attorney is like, is by getting the opinions of other attorneys. There are websites and directories such as Martindale-Hubbell where attorneys can rate and review other attorneys, giving you a more well-rounded idea of their competency and ethics.
Results – One way to get an idea of how a lawyer might do with your case is to look at how they did with cases in the past. A history of good outcomes does not guarantee how they will do with your case, but it is a testament to their abilities in general. Most lawyers will have a website with a section that shows the outcomes of previous cases.
5 Steps to Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
The following 5 steps will help guide you in your search for the personal injury lawyer that is best suited for your particular personal injury case:
Determine the Area of Law You Need an Expert In
The first step in figuring out how to find a personal injury lawyer is figuring out exactly what kind of attorney you need. If you sustained injuries due to some kind of accident or incident, then the type of attorney you would want is a personal injury attorney. However, just because someone is a personal injury attorney does not mean that they specialize in the specific type of situation you experienced. There are many different types of personal injury causes such as:
- Animal / Dog Bites
- Aviation Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Brain Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Bus Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Electric Scooter Accidents
- General Negligence
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Product Liability
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Toxic Exposure
- Train Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Uber & Lyft Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
- Wrongful Deaths
You may want to narrow your search down even more from there. Lawyers tend to specialize in specific practice areas and while personal injury attorneys often handle different types of cases, they do not always cover everything under broader categories. A medical malpractice attorney might not handle dental malpractice or a slip and fall attorney might not take on cases that occurred on government property. Finding someone who specializes in your specific situation means finding someone with the most knowledge and experience as it pertains to your particular case.
Search for Legitimate Licensed Personal Injury Attorneys
It is also wise to check a prospective lawyer’s credentials. Just because someone has the money to advertise their services, does not mean they have the qualifications to be providing those services. The state bar will have information on individual attorneys as will any professional organizations that attorney belongs to which can provide some insight into how well connected and recognized they are. You can also check their certifications which can shed light on a lawyer’s experience and specialty.
Search for Discipline History
Knowing how to find a personal injury lawyer means weeding out the ones you don’t want. No one wants an attorney who has committed legal or ethical violations. The state bar will have a record of any disciplinary action taken against an attorney in that state. You should visit the state bar website to research any prospective lawyer.
See if the Size and Resources of the Law Firm Are a Good Fit for Your Case
There are pros and cons for both smaller and larger firms. Large firms may have more money and personnel, but they also tend to have higher rates. Smaller firms may not have as much flash and notoriety, but they often provide much more personal care to each case. It is important to vet different sized law firms to see which is a good fit for your case.
Review Reputation and Past Client Testimonials
Another good way to get a better understanding of a prospective attorney is to read reviews and testimonials from their past clients. This is a good way to get a firsthand account of how they handle their clients and their cases. When people leave reviews, they often talk about how well the attorney communicated with them, how knowledgeable they were about their situation, and how comfortable they were with them throughout the whole process.
5 Steps to Hire the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
These 5 steps are critical when hiring the right personal injury lawyer:
Call in and Schedule a Consultation
While you may have many questions for a prospective attorney, they have their own questions for prospective clients. There are many websites that allow you to fill out the basics of your information and short description of the details online and submit it for potential lawyers to see and contact you if they think they might be able to help. This can do a lot of the leg work for you and give the law office an idea of your situation before they even get you on the phone. Another option is to call the law offices individually on your own.
In both of these instances, you would generally talk on the phone with someone who would go through the details of your potential case, asking questions and taking down any questions you may have. If the attorney believes that they will be able to help you, they may speak to you personally to answer your questions, provide advice, and if you both agree they are the best fit, begin the process to represent you.
Come Prepared with Questions
When consulting with an attorney, you may have many questions about your case. It is also important to ask the attorney questions about themselves and the work they do in order to ensure that they are right for you and your situation.
Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
- Have you handled this specific situation in the past?
- Have you handled these types of situations in this area?
- Are you able to devote enough time to my case yourself?
- Who else will be working on my case?
- How do you provide updates to clients?
- What is your track record for negotiating settlements?
- How much trial experience do you have?
- Do you think this case will go to trial?
- How much will I be involved in the case?
- What are your contingency fees?
- What will I have to pay out of pocket if we lose?
- What is your prediction for the final outcome?
Get a Feel for Trust, Comfort, and Compatibility
As you discuss things with a prospective attorney, it is also good to get a feel for how comfortable you are interacting with them. See if they seem trustworthy and if they are easy for you to communicate with. Hiring an attorney is not just about having someone do all the work for you, it is also a collaborative relationship that requires trust and communication.
Review Available Options
Choosing a personal injury lawyer is not a decision to be made rashly. Once you’ve narrowed down your list and had your consultations, it’s time to review your options. Look over all the information you’ve collected and make an informed decision about who would be the best fit for you and your situation.
Sign Agreement and Let Them Get Started
Once you’ve chosen the right lawyer for you, it’s time to sign the paperwork. The contingency fee agreement will explain what you can expect from your attorney-client relationship and will also lay out your attorney’s fee structure. Most personal injury lawyers use the contingency fee system which means they are paid a percentage of the final award money. There may be different percentages based on whether or not the case goes to trial. While there may be some costs regardless of the outcome, generally speaking, when an attorney works on contingency, they don’t get paid unless they win.
Tips for Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Here are several tips when considering hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Identify Critical Information and Your Needs
There are many variables to take into consideration when choosing a personal injury lawyer. Each case brings its own details that impact the decision. A good way to take stock of your situation is to break down all the facts about the case. This will be extremely helpful for the lawyer when they are building your case. Some facts to consider:
- Where did the accident occur?
- How did the accident occur?
- Who or what caused the accident?
- What injuries were caused by the accident?
- How severe were the injuries?
- How have the injuries negatively impacted your life?
- What types of compensation are you looking for?
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of quality of life
- Medical Bills
- Pain and suffering
Ask People You Trust for Referrals
One of the best ways to find an attorney is by asking the people you know for recommendations. The people close to you may be more familiar with your situation and your needs, and you can have the benefit of firsthand accounts from someone you trust. Personal recommendations may also be a bit more honest and give more detailed information than online reviewers. A recommendation from a friend or family member does not guarantee that the lawyer in question will be the right one for your case, but it is a very good place to start.
Hiring an attorney is one area where it is in your best interest to make a well informed decision. There are countless options out there and not all of them are honest and legitimate. You want someone who is going to fight hard and bring you the best possible outcome for your case. It is very important to do your own research and ask as many questions as you can. It is also wise to learn as much as you can about your own personal situation and what it may mean for you going forward. Going about hiring a personal injury lawyer is about learning as much as possible.
Contact Mesriani Law Group If You’ve Been Injured
Personal injury cases can be complicated and stressful. This is why it is so important to find the best possible lawyer for your situation. You want someone dependable and experienced who makes sure you feel comfortable and understand what’s happening as the case progresses. Our law firm is dedicated to each of our clients and our personal injury attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you through this difficult time and get you the compensation you deserve. If you have a personal injury claim and are looking to hire an attorney, call Mesriani Law Group today for a free consultation.
Hiring Personal Injury Lawyer FAQs
What do I need to know before hiring an attorney?
The first thing you need to know before hiring an attorney is what type of case you have. It is important to understand the details of your situation so that you can more accurately choose a lawyer that suits your needs. When you start looking at potential choices, you want to know that they are certified, that they don’t have a disciplinary history, that they have had experience and success with cases like yours, and that you feel comfortable working with them.
How much does an attorney cost?
The cost of an attorney’s time and work depends on the type of work being performed. Most personal injury attorney’s work on contingency, meaning that they are paid a percentage of whatever money they help you win. Percentages can range from 35 to 55 percent depending on the type of case and what stages of litigation it progresses to. There may also be some costs that can occur if the attorney-client relationship is dissolved before a settlement offer is taken.
What questions should I ask an attorney?
The first question to ask an attorney is if they handle your specific situation. There may be details in your case that are outside of an attorney’s realm of expertise. You also want to ask how the case will be handled, how their fee structure works, and what will be needed from you throughout the proceedings. Ask any questions you have about things you might not understand relating to your case. You want an attorney you feel comfortable with who communicates well with you, and you want to be confident that they are the right fit for you and your case.