How To Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for You
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, trucking accident, or as the result of a slip and fall, dog bite, medical negligence, or nursing home negligence, you are going to need an attorney to represent you and fight for the compensation that you deserve. But how do you choose an attorney and know you are getting the right one?
Choosing the right lawyer for you may be a difficult task, especially if you have never been in the situation of needing a lawyer before. Here are some simple steps you can follow to find the right lawyer for you:
- Get referrals from people you trust like family members, friends, coworkers, or other lawyers that you have worked with before.
- Once you have a list of potential attorneys, look them up on the internet. If they have a website, go to their website and look at the information posted. Be particular to look for information about the firm and its attorneys, what type of clients they represent, what kind of law they practice, and past results they have obtained for other clients. Also, look for any reviews that are posted by other clients, and read about the experiences they have had. See if the firm has a blog or social media account where they post current information about personal injury law from an injured person’s perspective.
- Be careful relying solely on the internet. A lot of information about ratings, rankings, and commendations can be misleading. A lot of websites will promote attorneys/law firms or their ratings because they have paid a fee for that particular promotion or rating.
- Contact the lawyer’s office and schedule an appointment to meet with them. When meeting with the lawyer (or lawyers), tell them about your particular situation in as much detail as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, including:
- How long has the lawyer been practicing law, and in particular, personal injury law.
- What percentage of their practice is in personal injury law.
- Who do they represent in personal injury cases- the injured party, the insurance company, or both- and what percentage of their practice is representing injured parties.
- While there are many good lawyers who represent both sides in personal injury cases, be cautious as a lawyer who represents insurance companies may be, consciously or unconsciously, more apt to be critical of an injured party’s claims.
- What type of fee do they charge and how is it paid.
- Most experienced personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they earn a percentage of whatever they recover for you. If they recover nothing, there are no attorney fees. If they do make a recovery, they earn whatever percentage of the recovery that you agreed to.
- What type of expenses do they charge for and how are they paid.
- This can differ from firm to firm, and from case to case. Most personal injury lawyers will advance routine expenses, such as the cost of obtaining medical records, court costs, deposition fees, etc, and deduct the advanced expenses from any recovery that they obtain for you. Others will require a retainer up front to cover a portion of the expenses, while others may bill you periodically for the expenses as they are incurred.
- Who will be handling your case. Will it be the lawyer you are meeting with, or will the file be passed down to a lesser experienced attorney in the firm.
- While it is common for more than one lawyer in a firm to work on a case and to have lesser experienced attorneys handle routine tasks, you want to know who you will primarily be dealing with and who will be primarily responsible for the handling of your case
- Know that you don’t have to make a final decision on the spot. If you feel comfortable with the lawyer and are confident that he/she is the right one for you, feel free to hire them immediately. But most lawyers are not offended if you want to consider your options and/or speak with other lawyers before making a final decision. If the lawyer is offended or pressures you to retain them immediately, this may be a sign that you should consult with another attorney.
The information contained in this blog post is general information, and should not be treated as legal advice. No attorney/client relationship exists between the reader and Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC without a signed Attorney Contract Agreement of Representation. Each case is unique and past results should not be treated as a guarantee of the results in your case.