Once you have decided to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer, you must then begin the real work of finding one that is suitable for your case and skilled enough to recover the damages that you are owed. This decision may be one of the most important ones you make following a serious injury. Personal injury cases are often complex even though only about 4% make it to trial, so retaining the services of a good attorney is vital to a successful outcome.
Find an Attorney with the Right Specialty
Not all personal injury attorneys specialize in the same types of cases and every personal injury case is unique. When researching attorneys, be sure that the firm you are considering is appropriate for your particular case. Although many attorneys will be willing to take on a variety of cases, it will be in your best interest to choose an attorney that has experience dealing with cases similar to yours. If your case is the result of a motor vehicle accident, for example, be sure to find an attorney that specializes in motor vehicle cases.
Research, Research, Research
The first step to choosing a personal injury attorney is to research attorneys that serve your area. Build a list of names from billboards, TV commercials, and recommendations from friends or coworkers who may have used personal injury attorneys in the past. The goal here is not to find the attorney that you will ultimately hire, but rather to build a long list of options. Once you have your list, make use of sites to read reviews and ratings of the lawyers and firms on your list. Instead of settling on a single attorney or firm by using these tools, reduce your list down to a few lawyers that seem promising.
Once you have a short list, you will want to begin building a list of questions that you can use to interview your potential attorneys. Remember that the attorney you hire will be representing you and you want to make sure that you hire a professional who will have both your best interests at heart and the experience to recover the damages that you are owed. You should make a list of questions to ask to each of the lawyers on your short list so that you can compare their answers in order to determine a lawyer that is best for your case.
Although the questions you ask should be specific to your case, there are a few basic inquiries you will want to make:
- Do your cases often go to trial? Remember that most personal injury cases do not go to trial, so if a personal injury attorney tells you that their cases mostly go to court you should ask for more information.
- Have you tried many cases similar to mine? If you were injured on the job and a potential attorney tells you that they have never before pursued a workplace injury case, you should seriously consider going with another attorney. Whatever the circumstances of your case, be sure your lawyer has some experience dealing with similar injury cases.
- What fees will you be responsible for? Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. If an attorney is not working with a contingent fee, you should determine exactly what will be owed and how much you will be responsible for paying if you lose your case.