If you have been injured in an accident, it is essential to keep in mind that not all attorneys were created equal. None were made – they got there with years of study and personal experience! Most people only need to file personal injury claims once in their lifetimes, if at all, so this is a new ballgame. For those who have never needed to find a personal injury lawyer to battle the insurance companies, here are four tips to help you choose the perfect lawyer.
1) Experience and History
The number one priority that you should have is finding an attorney with experience in your particular type of personal injury claim. Some may specialize in car accidents, while others may have expertise in job-related injuries. For example, if you were injured in a car accident in Santa Clara County, California, you would want a San Jose accident attorney with a high percentage of wins. This is of supreme importance and should be the first thing you consider and weigh against the other three pieces of advice.
According to a reputable firm like Peterson & Associates, you may have a better chance of winning if you hire an attorney specializing in similar injury cases. Selecting an experienced attorney may rest assured that your case is in capable hands. However, to ensure you get the right personal injury lawyer for your case, gather as much information about your prospects to make an informed decision. To learn more about them and their experience, you can look at their websites or read through some online client evaluations from reputable third-party review sites.
2) Compare Attorneys
You should also talk to more than one attorney. Most often, you can get a gut-level ‘feel’ as to whether or not you feel that a lawyer would be able to represent you effectively. By talking to more than one law firm, you will be better able to make a wise decision, and you won’t need to second-guess your choice down the road. There will never be a “What if I had gone with attorney B instead of attorney C?”
3) Talk Fees at a FREE Consultation
Also, never pay for your initial consultation. If that accident/personal injury lawyer needs to charge a fee for that first few minutes in the office, that is a clear giveaway that they don’t have a very high record of success. Your consultation should be free of charge, and at this time, you can ask what their fees will be for representing you. Some states set the bar at maximum ethical amounts that attorneys can charge, so ensure your attorney is within that range if there are laws in your state.
However, you should be aware that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. Their legal services are free if you win your case and receive the compensation you are entitled to. If this is the case, your lawyer will deduct a specific percentage amount from your compensation as payment for their services. Regardless of how attractive this fee arrangement appears on the surface, you must negotiate fees with your prospective attorney before hiring them to represent you.
4) Are You Comfortable with Your Choice?
Finally, once you have narrowed your choices to just a few candidates, ensure you are comfortable with that person or firm. If that attorney or law firm doesn’t make you comfortable and inspire confidence in them, it’s time to move down the list. You will be talking to this person (or persons) for an extended time, and if you are uncomfortable in their presence, it will not be a good working relationship.
Also, if you’re looking for a personal injury attorney who makes you feel at ease, you should examine how responsive they are in regularly discussing your case. Ideally, being comfortable with your choice means having a lawyer you can call and talk about your case whenever you need an update. On the other hand, if your prospect does not provide updates or return your calls, it may be time to consider alternative options.
Once you have chosen the perfect accident attorney to work on your behalf, you can relax and let them do their job. They will be making a percentage off the top of what you win, so you can rest assured they will act accordingly to get you the largest settlement possible.