If you or someone you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of someone else, you may end up needing a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers are there to represent you when you file a lawsuit against the negligent party to recover compensation for your losses.
It is important to choose the right personal injury attorney to handle your case. There are several factors that go into what makes a personal injury lawyer the right one for you and your particular case. Finding a personal injury attorney you can afford and who makes you feel comfortable is vitally important.
Finding experienced attorneys
The practice of law has become very specialized, meaning you can find an attorney who works specifically with the type of injury you have sustained. Some lawyers, however, know less about personal injuries than you do at this point. For example, you are not likely going to find an attorney to handle a spinal cord injury case at a law firm that specializes in family law.
There are several ways to find an attorney who specialized in the type of case you have, and you will want to do some comparison shopping between several different attorneys in your area.
- You can use the internet as a place to start. A quick Google search based on your area and type of injury will likely pull up page after page of results. You can narrow down the results by being more specific. For example, typing “California personal injury lawyer” into the search bar will bring up thousands of pages of results. Try typing in “Modesto car accident lawyer” and your results will be more geo-specific.
- Speak with friends and acquaintances. If your friends or coworkers have used a personal injury attorney, ask them about their experience with that particular attorney and whether they would recommend them.
- Do you already know an attorney? If you have worked with a lawyer, either personally or because they have represented you before, you can speak to them. If they are not a personal injury attorney, they may know one that they can recommend.
When you meet with the attorneys
When you narrow your search down to a few attorneys, schedule a sit down meeting with them. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. Bring copies of all of your documents (accident reports, medical bills, income loss information, insurance information, and more) so the attorney can review them.
Do not be afraid to ask the attorneys you meet with about their experience.
- How long have they been in practice?
- Does the attorney most often represent plaintiffs or defendants?
- Does the attorney have any experience with the insurance company in your case?
You can also ask the attorney who will be working on your case. In many practices, lawyers work with a team of attorneys. There are other attorneys who hand much of the work off on less experienced lawyers or paralegals at the firm.
Ask about their fees
Many personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not have any out-of-pocket costs and will pay no legal fees unless your attorney is successful in getting the compensation you need. They will get their fees by taking a percentage of the final settlement.