When you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the legal side of things. It can be incredibly confusing if you have little or no experience with the court system. But hiring a personal injury lawyer is an important decision you must make quickly and carefully. It is a decision that could cost you thousands of dollars in fees if you choose incorrectly.
But with so many personal injury lawyers, how will you choose the right one? According to data, around 175,615 personal injury attorneys are employed in the USA. We’ll help guide you through the process to make your choice as informed and effective as possible.
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Seek a Lawyer Specializing in Personal Injury Cases
As you begin your search for an attorney, it’s important to remember that some lawyers are more experienced than others. You may seek someone who specializes in personal injury cases, as they will be familiar with the legal system and how it affects injured people like you.
Look for a lawyer with a good reputation and who has worked hard over their career to build their client base. These are signs that this particular lawyer is good at what they do. And finally, trust your gut instinct. If something about the situation or working relationship feels off-putting or uncomfortable, then maybe it’s time to move on.
Also, look for specialization in the local region. Every state has different personal injury claim rules and processes. Hence, hiring a local attorney specializing in personal injury claims is best. For example, if you have an accident in St. Louis, there is no point in hiring a lawyer from Washington because he or she might not know all the local rules.
For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury is five years in St. Louis, Missouri, and only three years in Washington state. Also, you will also get quick support if you go for a local hire.
For example, one person died, and two were injured in a recent head-on accident in St. Louis. In that case, a lawyer from St. Louis can quickly arrive at the location and offer quick support. Hence, it is best to hire a St. Louis personal injury attorney if you have an accident in this city.
Get a Referral
Asking for a referral is a quick and easy way to find a personal injury attorney. The person you’re asking can refer you to several lawyers, giving you plenty of options without spending too much time looking around.
Personal injury attorneys are often recommended by other professionals in the legal field, including judges, court reporters, insurance agents and adjusters, paralegals, and secretaries. You can also ask the officer interviewing you if he or she knows any good local personal injury lawyers.
If not, ask him or her who else might be knowledgeable about this subject matter, such as his or her secretary or paralegal. Anyone who works closely with him/her would likely know which firms handle personal injury cases in your area. They may even be able to point you toward someone they know personally who’s handled these types of cases before.
Do Your Research
One of the most important steps in hiring a personal injury lawyer is researching. This will help ensure you find the best possible candidate for your case.
- Check the lawyer’s website. Lawyers invest in digital marketing to create their websites and promote their services. According to recent research, 26% of respondents said their marketing budget increased last year. This means they will have their websites updated with the latest information.
Look for information about their experience, credentials, and fees. If they have testimonials from previous clients, read them carefully to see if they match up with what you’re looking for in a lawyer. If not, it may be time to move on.
- Check the lawyer’s reputation online. Don’t just look at the comments on their website; check out reviews from other sites like Yelp or Avvo and online forums where people discuss personal injury lawyers. When reading these reviews, make sure that it’s clear whether or not each reviewer actually worked with this particular lawyer or merely consulted him or her once over email.
Call the State Bar Association
Now that you know what to look for in a personal injury lawyer, it’s time to find one. The best way to do this is by contacting your state bar association. They will be able to refer you to lawyers who belong to their organization and provide other helpful information about each attorney.
Some questions you might want to be answered include the following:
- What kind of experience does the lawyer have?
- Where did he or she go to school?
- How many years has he or she practiced law?
Go for a Lawyer With Trial Experience
Although some lawyers do not have trial experience, a personal injury lawyer with trial experience is typically the best choice.
Why? The main reason is that, in most cases, you will end up in court or arbitration. This means that if you can find a lawyer with trial experience, he or she will be able to represent you at trial and help you get the compensation you deserve.
However, finding a lawyer with trial experience can be challenging. Jury trials are disappearing as many offenders usually plead guilty to reduce the punishment. You can research the attorney’s experience to ensure that he or she has trial experience in personal injury cases.
Ask Questions You Are Looking to Get Answers for
The first step is to set up an appointment with each lawyer. This can be done by phone, email, or in person. Sometimes, you may need to send the attorney your initial paperwork or pay a retainer fee before they agree to meet with you.
You should be bold, ask questions about them at this point, and ask for references from their past clients if possible. A good lawyer should be happy and willing to answer any questions during this process.
Ask as many questions as necessary until you feel comfortable moving forward with one of these professionals, including asking about:
- Their experience working on similar cases before yours
- What kind of reputation have they built within their industry?
- How much do they charge per case?
- How long do they think it might take until your case settles?
- Should other attorneys work under them and take over some aspects of your case if needed?
- What approach would each person take regarding litigation against another party?
In summary, hiring a personal injury lawyer is more challenging than it might seem. There are many things to consider when choosing the right attorney, so take your time and make sure that you choose wisely.