If you’ve experienced a car accident or other personal injury, then you may need a personal injury attorney. Here’s how to find the best injury attorney.
Going it alone is for the birds… at least, when it comes to personal injury claims.
If you’ve been injured and someone else is at fault, you’re entitled to monetary compensation. But many people don’t go forward with these claims because they’re afraid of navigating the legal system. Don’t fall into that category.
Hiring an attorney gives you the peace of mind you need when you’re trying to heal from an injury. It means that someone is in your corner working for you. And that your case won’t get pushed out the door because of misfiled paperwork.
In this article, we’ll give you our best advice on how to find and hire the best injury attorney.
Personal referrals are a great place to start. But remember that not all referrals are created equal.
Keep in mind that the attorney that meets someone else’s needs might not be best for you. A divorce lawyer won’t do a good job handling your personal injury case. So make sure you’re looking in the right place when asking for referrals.
Ask people who you know have been in similar situations. If you don’t know anyone who’s had a personal injury claim, then look to someone in your local community who might help.
For example, if your injury is a work-related problem, consider talking to local union leaders. Or if it’s a medical malpractice issue, find a local support group for those who have suffered from the same injury. Ask more than one person if you can.
Visit your local chamber of commerce or business bureau. They usually have a directory of local professionals that they can recommend. Or ask a community leader like a pastor, accountant, or medical professional.
Another great word of mouth reference is another attorney. If it’s not their field of expertise, most attorney’s will be glad to refer someone who can help.
The great part about doing research is that it’s never been easier. The internet has a wealth of information about potential attorneys. You just have to take the time to dig.
After you’ve asked for some referrals, you’ll probably have a few names on your shortlist of attorneys. Go through each name and check them out thoroughly. Start by looking at their website.
Does it look professional? Do they have experienced staff? Do they specialize in your type of injury?
You can tell a lot from their site. But remember, anyone can put together a nice website. It’s your job to dig further to make sure they’re actually qualified.
Do a quick Google search and see what pops up. Also, check their Google reviews. An attorney with a polished, professional website and lots of helpful Google reviews is a promising prospect.
Look at their social media accounts. You might run into more reviews this way. And you can get a good sense of their personality through their posts.
Now that you’ve asked around and done the research, it’s time to set up interviews. Note, many attorneys have an online form you can fill out too. But we suggest you make a phone call instead.
Talk to their office and let them know your situation. They can tell you if they believe it’s a good fit or not. And you’ll get a good feel for how their office works by how professional their staff is on the phone.
Once you have an appointment to meet with the attorney, make sure to ask a few key questions. We’ve compiled a list here.
1. What Is Your Experience?
Find out how long they’ve been practicing. And how long they’ve specialized in the field of personal injury law. Ask them about their experience with your type of personal injury case.
It’s also a good idea to ask about the experience of their legal team. Many attorneys use a paralegal that does much of the investigative work for them. Make sure that person has plenty of experience before you sign on with the attorney.
2. Will You Handle My Case?
You’ll find that many larger law firms pass the cases off to junior associates. If that is the plan, you want to know right away. Ask to speak directly to the person who’s handling your case so that you can get a feel for their personality.
This is also a good reminder to go with your gut instinct. If you don’t feel comfortable with the actual person who will be doing the job, consider moving on to a different law firm.
Many firms will send a secretary or a paralegal to do the initial interview. Always ask that the actual attorney meets with you instead. If they can’t spare the time to meet with you for a few minutes, then they aren’t the right attorney for you.
3. How Will I Contact You?
Communication is so important to success. It’s a great idea to bring up the subject when you first talk to them. That way everyone is clear on how the process works.
Ask them how often they plan to give you updates. Be clear on timeframes right from the beginning. You want your attorney to take on the project with a sense of urgency.
Verify how they’d like you to communicate with them. It’s always preferable to have a direct means of contact with the attorney. But sometimes they prefer that you go through a secretary or junior associate instead.
This isn’t always a deal-breaker. But if it’s not something you’re comfortable with, then let them know that right away.
4. Are You Willing to Go to Court?
There’s a difference between a litigator and a trial attorney. Many attorneys are both, but some specialize in one or the other.
It’s important to know your attorney’s trial experience before you begin the process. Ask them what their record is for settling out of court versus going to trial.
Obviously, you don’t want to go to trial if you don’t have to. But you want to know that your lawyer is willing to go that direction if necessary. An attorney with very little trial experience is more likely to settle when the going gets tough.
Find the Best Injury Attorney for You
Remember, what works for someone else may not work for you. The best injury attorney for you is the one that makes you feel the most comfortable. Don’t be afraid to move on if you don’t like something about the process.
And if you’re looking for reviews, check out the reviews section of our website. We have helpful reviews on everything from books to concerts!
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze