If you’ve suffered a personal injury, you know how life-altering it can be. From ongoing pain to endless medical bills, a single injury can wreak havoc on your daily life and your future outlook.
According to estimates from the CDC, doctors saw around 39.5 million visits for various unintentional injuries. It’s safe to say that many of these people struggled through recovery alone, but for those injured due to negligence, there’s another option: fair compensation.
Hiring a personal injury attorney can help you get the money you need to recuperate lost wages, pay medical bills, and even make up for lost future earnings. Of course, that’s only true if you find the right lawyer—which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. If you’re in the market for a personal injury attorney, here’s what you should know to find and hire the right one.
Identify the Relevant Area of Personal Injury Law
When it comes to personal injuries, you might be surprised to learn that the relevant law splits off into many specific practice areas. These can range from car accidents to dog bites, and from medical malpractice to workplace injuries.
If you want to be successful with your personal injury case, you’ll want to make sure you’re partnering with a firm that has relevant experience. While some firms claim to specialize in the broader umbrella of general personal injury law, it’s always a good idea to work with a team that has seen success with cases just like yours.
Ask Around for References
Once you have an idea of the specific practice area you’ll need to focus on, ask around to see if people you trust can refer an attorney in that field. Word-of-mouth referrals continue to be one of the most effective ways of choosing a lawyer, as you’ll be able to talk to someone about their firsthand experience with the legal firm. Friends and family are fair game, but don’t hesitate to ask colleagues, neighbors, and peers as well.
Search Online for a Reputable Personal Injury Attorney
If you can’t come up with referrals for an attorney in a relevant practice area, it’s time to look online.
A search as simple as “best lawyer near me” can turn up many helpful options. Note that it’s always crucial to work with an attorney who has experience in your state, as laws are different from area to area. Anyone needing a personal injury lawyer in Florida, for example, should seek attorneys like the ones here.
You may also choose to ask your network on social media for recommendations, or to look through third-party legal directories for a list of lawyers who can help.
From there, head over to each firm’s website to see whether they might be a good match. Double-check that they have experience in the practice area you need, and try to evaluate their authority and professionalism based on their site.
Do they have a modern and updated site? Do they provide information on their licensing and certifications? Do they include past success stories, informative blog posts, or helpful legal guides?
Look at Reviews and Testimonials
Once you have a list of firms you’d like to research further, it’s time to see what their past clients thought of them. While it’s always a good idea to look through testimonials on a client’s website, don’t forget to also check with third-party review sites as well. This ensures that you’re reading honest reviews—good and bad—that aren’t hand-picked by the lawyers themselves.
Websites like Facebook, Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau are great places to start. Read through users’ information on past personal injury cases to get a picture of what you can expect from the firm in question.
Do reviewers have a high opinion of the lawyer’s communication and expertise? Are there any common pain points or frustrations across the board? Does the lawyer seem to ensure a successful outcome more often than not?
Don’t hesitate to rule out law firms that have poor reviews: if most of their past clients had an unfavorable experience, the chances are good that your experience won’t be any different.
Interview Prospective Attorneys
When you’ve narrowed your list down to just a few firms, it’s time to talk with your potential attorneys one on one. Call to set up a meeting, preferably in the lawyer’s office, to see whether they’re a good match on several fronts.
The average personal injury case can take months to process, which means you’ll be spending a lot of time with your lawyer. To avoid conflict, make sure the two of you are a good fit in terms of comfort, communication style, and personality. Don’t hesitate to go with your gut.
On that note, be sure to ask whether they’ll handle your case personally. The last thing you want is to find the perfect lawyer, only for them to hand your case off to a paralegal you don’t know!
Ask the attorney if they have experience with cases like yours. Do they believe you have a good chance of succeeding? Have they had experience going to trial in cases like yours, and do they believe you have other options?
Before hiring a lawyer, it’s always important to understand their fee structure in full. Ask about their contingency fee and any other associated costs, and make sure you know whether you’ll be responsible for any costs if your case isn’t successful. Be sure to get all of this in writing.
Once you’ve met with your lawyers in person, you should have a better idea of which one would be the best fit for your case. Iron out the details of your working relationship, and get ready to start your case!
Review Your Options With Care
Choosing the right personal injury attorney can feel like a monumental task, but it’s worth taking your time to weigh the decision. While you won’t want to delay things for long, don’t hesitate to sleep on it to make sure you’re comfortable with your final choice. With the right lawyer by your side, you’ll be in great standing to get the compensation you deserve for your injury.
Looking for more of the essential guides you need? Check out our other posts for more helpful information on my blog.