After a serious accident, you will want to choose the right personal injury lawyer. You will need to work with this attorney for a long time to ensure that your claim is successful. Not only can the lawyer you choose make a big difference in the amount you ultimately receive as compensation for your injuries, but choosing the right personal injury lawyer can also mean more peace of mind.
How do you know if you have chosen the right lawyer?
You can find many personal injury lawyers in your area. When choosing the right lawyer, keep these criteria in mind.
Step one: find a personal injury lawyer in your area.
Using a lawyer in your area has two advantages. First, you want a lawyer who knows the local legal system: who has worked there in the past and has a good understanding of what you need to know about your area.
Knowing the local legal system means being familiar with local laws and regulations, which can make it easier for the lawyer to handle your claim. Second, you want an attorney who can easily meet with you, either to provide you with documents or to receive the security of an in-person meeting after your injuries.
A local attorney may also find it easier to work within your limitations: for example, if you suffered spinal cord injuries or a broken hip in your accident, you may need an attorney to come to you, rather than to the office. A local attorney will find it more convenient to meet with you. The Florida Bar website can help you narrow down your search.
Step Two: Choose a lawyer who has experience with the type of personal injury claim you need to file.
Not only do you want an attorney who understands local laws and has worked in the local court system, but you also want an attorney who has experience with the type of personal injury claim you want to file. For example, you do not want to work with an auto accident lawyer if you need to file a product liability claim.
Consider the areas covered by the attorney. Do those areas include the type of claim you need to make? If not, you should contact another attorney to help you file your claim.
Step Three: Search the attorney’s website to get a better idea of their practices, standards and experience.
You have narrowed down your search to the type of attorney you need. Now you want to dig deeper into what the lawyer has to offer. Take a look at the attorney’s website and past reviews from other clients to get a better idea of how they work. There are several factors to consider when choosing a lawyer to handle your claim.
What are the lawyer’s results?
Results are important when it comes to your personal injury claim. You don’t want to work with an attorney who can only win a little more than the insurance company could offer in a quick settlement. Instead, you want to work with a personal injury lawyer who has a proven track record of significantly increasing the compensation accident victims can receive for their injuries.
The attorney’s track record on past claims does not guarantee what you can receive for your injuries, but working with an attorney who has achieved significant results in the past can increase the chances that you will get the full compensation you deserve for your claim.
What are the attorney’s priorities?
A look at the attorney’s website will give you a better idea of what they consider important. All attorneys want to achieve the best possible results for their clients. However, some attorneys focus on an aggressive strategy, including an aggressive strategy and a determination to take the case to court if necessary, while others focus on providing a compassionate and caring experience for their clients.
While some attorneys want to listen to your story and make you feel comfortable with the entire claims process, others focus on taking everything off your hands. Check out the website and see what the lawyer focuses on. What offers does the attorney make to his or her clients? You can learn a lot about what a particular lawyer cares about by looking at their website.
What do past clients say about the lawyer?
Check out the lawyer’s reviews. If you are considering contacting a lawyer, you may want to check all available reviews of that lawyer, including Google reviews, website reviews and social media reviews. You can also check attorney reviews on specific sites designed to help you find an attorney, such as Avvo.
When reading reviews, consider the following:
What are the reviews on the lawyer’s website about? The attorney can choose which reviews are visible on their website, meaning you will only see positive reviews of their services. These reviews will focus on what the lawyer thinks is important. They will also tell you what it might be like to work directly with a particular attorney, based on feedback from past clients.
What do reviews say on Google or social media? Remember that anyone can leave a review on Google or social media. Evaluate positive and negative reviews the same way, but know where the negative reviews may come from. For example, a disgruntled person who was not accepted as a client may leave a negative review, as may the responsible party who lost a personal injury case to the attorney. Don’t just look at the starred reviews. Instead, take the time to read what the reviews say about the attorney and think about what it means to work with a specific attorney on your claim.
Step 4: Schedule a free consultation.
In most cases, personal injury lawyers start with a free consultation: you don’t have to pay for the first visit. This consultation gives you a chance to meet the attorney, ask any questions you may have, and present your claim and evidence.
Submitting the claim.
When you submit your claim, the attorney will have a chance to decide whether to take your case. Not all attorneys will meet your needs and many will reject claims they feel they do not have the expertise to handle.
When you submit your application, consider these important factors.
Does the lawyer think you have a chance of winning your claim? You may already have a settlement offer in hand when you speak with a personal injury lawyer. The attorney will let you know if he or she thinks you can win more than that amount if you pursue your claim. If the attorney does not think he or she can increase the compensation you can get in a personal injury case, the attorney may decide not to take your case. Sometimes an attorney may let you know that he or she does not think he or she can adequately handle your claim. In that case, you can choose a different lawyer.
How much does the lawyer think you deserve for your injury? Different lawyers may have different opinions about how much you can get for your injury. Some lawyers may estimate much more money than others. However, this does not necessarily mean that you should always choose the lawyer who has the highest idea of how much you should get for your injury. For example, a lawyer may give you a much higher idea of how much compensation you should receive than others you talk to. You may choose not to go with that lawyer because of unrealistic expectations.
How to ask your questions
Once you file your claim, you will have the opportunity to ask the lawyer questions. An experienced personal injury lawyer will give you time to go over the factors you feel are important and give you complete answers.
Look for an attorney who will meet your specific needs based on the answers to these questions.
Who will actually handle your claim? Some law firms advertise big names, but most of their claims are handled by junior lawyers in the firm. Others may have their legal team to work on your case. You want to know who will actually handle your claim – will the lawyer you speak with during your consultation handle the actual claim or will they work with someone else?
Sometimes you may feel comfortable with the attorney you spoke with during the consultation, but later find out that he or she will be working with someone else on your application. Make sure you know in advance how the law firm will handle the adjudication of your claim.
How many clients does the law firm currently have? Ask not only who will handle your request, but also ask how many clients the firm currently has. Does the firm have the resources to handle your request effectively, or does it seem overloaded? Sometimes a firm has too many clients to juggle, which can mean that your request is not getting the full time and energy you would expect. Consider the number of lawyers in the firm, as well as the number of cases the firm currently has to handle. You may want to ask about the firm’s capacity relative to its current workload.
How does the lawyer prefer to communicate?
Communication makes a big difference when you have to work with a lawyer. Your personal injury claim may represent the money you need to pay your medical debts or manage your living expenses while you recover from serious injuries. You may want your attorney to communicate with you on a regular basis so you can stay informed about all the details of your claim.
Think about it:
How often does the attorney communicate? Some personal injury lawyers will only contact you when they have something to tell you. They will only contact you when they have something new to tell you or when they need specific information from you to move your claim forward. Others will provide periodic updates to let you know what the next step is or what to expect, even if nothing has changed regarding your request.
How responsive is the lawyer? You can learn a lot about the attorney’s overall responsiveness just by scheduling your consultation. How long did it take for the attorney to contact you? How long did you have to wait for an appointment? Ask the lawyer how long it usually takes to respond to emails or answer a phone call.
How does the lawyer prefer to communicate? Think about how you prefer to receive communication from your attorney. Some prefer communication by phone, which at first glance looks like a more personal approach. Others prefer communication via email or text message. Consider your injuries and any new limitations when considering your preferred style of communication. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury in your accident, you may want to receive primarily written communication so that you can review this information later if needed.