It can be difficult to tell that you have found the right personal injury for your case. Is the right attorney someone who charges the highest? Are they the ones with the best track record? Where do you even begin searching for an attorney? It can be daunting to hire an attorney for your legal case. Whether you are having trouble after a knee replacement surgery or were injured in a car accident, you need a lawyer that has your back and is the best for the job.
These are a few ways for you to look beyond a professionally slick website and find someone really qualified.
1. Right Practice Area
The legal arena has many segments and sectors. There are dedicated practice areas that attorneys work on. They dedicate their practice to that area of specialty and that sector of law. You need to choose an attorney with experience in your particular practice area.
You may want to ensure the attorney you hire doesn’t just practice personal injury, but also has experience in dealing with specific cases. For instance, if you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you want someone with prior experience in dealing with pedestrian related injuries, wrongful death and negligence cases. See more.
2. Geographic Location
It’s vital to find attorneys that are present in your geographic location. New York is a big state. You don’t want to hire someone in another part of town that requires you to cross the bridge. You want to hire a lawyer that is close to your physical location.
Personal injury lawsuits require a lot of paperwork. You may need to make several trips to the attorney’s office to see what is happening. This is true even if the lawyer promises that your case won’t go to trial. You need to be available for depositions, mediations, and meetings. Having a lawyer with offices in your neighborhood can make the experience easy for you.
3. General Experience
There are several basic things you want to find out about the attorney once you are done telling them about the case. You want to know their general experience and the approximate percentage of the types of cases they have won in the past. You should also find out whether the attorney is more used to representing defendants or plaintiffs.
You want someone who has experience with personal injury lawsuits and is an attorney for plaintiffs. Lawyers that work for defendants usually have their attitudes closely tied with that of insurance companies. They may find it harder to fight for your claim. Would the attorney handle your case personally or pass it along. Generally, more than one attorney works on a particular case. You may want to ensure that the law firm doesn’t pass off your case to a lowly intern.
4. Do Extensive Research
You need to conduct research on the firm or the attorney before you decide to hire them. Make sure you ask the right questions during the interview. You may also want to ask for referrals from trusted friends and family members about their personal experience with the personal injury attorneys in your area. Look for any reputation issues that may have a negative effect on your lawsuit while researching the attorney.
Most people have strong views on the legal representation they receive. You will come across dozens of valuable information online about the particular law firm you are researching. However, make sure you don’t believe everything you read on the net.
5. Interview Shortlisted Lawyers
You need to ask shortlisted lawyers about their experience and credentials. Think of it this way – when you call contractors to do a repair job, you always ask them for their credentials. You need to use the same principle while shopping for the right personal injury law firm. You want to be able to ask the right questions about success rate and outcome. You need to ask the attorneys how they feel.
The interview process is a critical step when you are selecting a lawyer because it helps in providing better insight into the attorney’s expertise. You may want to continue searching for another attorney if you distrust the judgment or are not comfortable providing the answers.
6. Review Complete Paperwork
Many people do not review paperwork presented by the attorney. However, you need to be sure that you understand what you sign before you sign it. You would have entered into a legal and binding contract once you sign the documents and paperwork.
Review the paperwork and ask as many questions as you want. You should be completely comfortable with your attorney about the services being performed and the contract in question. You should hire the lawyer only when you are absolutely comfortable working with them. This is the only way you can ensure the best possible outcome.
7. Discuss Attorney Fee
Personal injury attorneys usually tend to work on a contingency fee basis. This means that they do not receive any fee unless the case is settled in your favor. In that case, they would take a percentage of the compensation or settlement amount. You need to closely investigate the language used in the payment agreement.
Sometimes, contingency agreements tend to be costlier in the long run. Make sure you are aware of the exact percentage of legal fees being charged by the law firm and whether they will take anything additional for the legal papers filed or not. Some attorneys prefer working on a retainer or hourly basis. They may charge higher for different types of personal injury cases.
8. Discuss Settlement Goal
You and your attorney need to be on the same page regarding the settlement goals. You should discuss beforehand about any settlement negotiations you have already had with the insurance company. The legal professional will be able to help you gain an understanding of what your case is worth after reviewing the facts. You can discuss with the lawyer about your priorities – whether you want the maximum settlement or the least hassle.