When it comes time to file a personal injury case, these steps can help you find a qualified and experienced attorney who can help you prepare your case for success and the maximum recovery available.
Step 1: Ask for References.
Have your loved ones or trusted colleagues hired a personal injury attorney? Do you have any recommendations? It never hurts to ask. There may be people in your circle who have already worked with a lawyer and can provide you with some helpful ideas when you need one.
Step 2: Check The Website Of The Attorney Or Law Firm.
Search online for local personal injury attorneys and look at some websites. Focus on attorneys and firms that handle cases like yours.
Remember, personal injury law is a broad field, and not all personal injury attorneys handle all types of claims. Your best options will be attorneys who routinely represent people in cases like yours.
Pass 3: Investigate The Attorney’s Situation At The State Bar.
Once you’ve found several options, check the profile of each attorney at the state bar association. This step can help you:
- Verify the credentials and specialties of an attorney.
- Find a lawyer who speaks a specific language.
- See if a lawyer has ever had official censures or complaints.
Step 4: Read The Comments Online.
Look on an attorney’s website, as well as third-party review sites, such as Google, Facebook, and industry sites, such as Avvo. These reviews can further inform you about the experience you can expect when working with a particular attorney.
For example, reviews can reveal more about how responsive, compassionate, and helpful an attorney can be throughout a case. Testimonials can also give you an idea of an attorney’s track record of success.
Step 5: Have A Consultation With Your Top Three Options.
Research can tell you a lot about different attorneys, but it will never show you the whole picture. The best way to really get a feel for a particular personal injury attorney is by meeting and speaking with them during a consultation over the phone or in person. This meeting can help you get:
- The answers you need about your claim and the lawyer
- A clearer idea of the attorney and how they will interact with you in the future.
Good personal injury attorneys generally offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by taking advantage of this free meeting to meet the attorneys you are considering.
Step 6: Talk About Your Expectations.
When you meet with attorneys, clarify your expectations upfront. This includes expectations about:
- How will your case be resolved
- When or if you are willing to strike a deal
- The frequency and type of communication you prefer for your case
- Anything else that may concern you
If an attorney cannot meet these expectations, it is best to know in advance so that you can find an attorney who is on the same page as you.
Step 7: Check A Lawyer’s Specialties And His Or Her Record Of Success.
During your consultation with the attorney, ask about their specialties and:
- How long have you handled cases like yours
- His track record of success with cases like yours
- Your professional opinion on the case and the likely outcome
You will want to choose an attorney who specializes in your type of case and is experienced in successfully resolving cases like yours.
Step 8: Ask Questions.
Make a list of questions before you meet with an attorney so that you can get all the answers you need during your consultation. Some helpful questions to ask include (and are not limited to):
- Will you handle my case to resolution or will you pass my case?
- What will you do to start my case?
- What are your fees and when should you pay?
Step 9: Test The Lawyer’s Callback Response.
After meeting with attorneys for an initial consultation, reach out to your best options and see how quickly they respond to your call. You should look for a lawyer who will answer you and your case, and this step is a good test for that.
Step 10: Review The Contracts.
Ultimately, you must choose an attorney who:
- Have experience and a history of successful resolution of cases like yours
- Be sensitive and communicative
- You trust and with whom you feel comfortable
Once you select the attorney who meets these requirements, be sure to review your contract carefully so there are no surprises about the terms of representation.