There’s a lot to take into consideration when you’re looking for representation in a personal injury claim. You’ve seen countless firms and personal lawyers in commercials and on billboards, but there’s only so much you can get from a smiling face and a catchy slogan.
You want to know how to find a good personal injury lawyer, but where do you start? How do you pick representation that you know will champion your case to the best of their ability? There are many avenues to research, but we’ve narrowed the criteria down to a few choice starting points.
When you’re looking for ways to find the right personal injury lawyer to partner with, take a look at this comprehensive guide.
How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer: Research and Reputation
When you’re researching how to find the right personal injury lawyer, your work may not start with a search engine. If you’ve maintained a good working relationship with an attorney in a previous case, even if it isn’t related to personal injury, you can call them for a referral. It’s likely that they’ll know of other attorneys that share the similar goals and work ethic you admire.
If you haven’t retained any legal professionals lately, it’s possible that someone in your network has. Go through your circle of family members and friends to see if one of them has had a positive experience with a personal injury attorney. If they haven’t, check to see if they’ve had an experience with any other kind of representation that they can contact for a referral.
Both of these tactics can help you to make a list of possible candidates. It’s better to have more options, as some attorneys could be unable or unwilling to take new cases, and others might not be a good fit personality-wise.
You can also go online and search deeper into your possible candidates. There are plenty of review sites out there that can give you a glimpse into what it might be like to work with a given firm or a particular lawyer. Are they responsive when a client calls in with a question? Did they take care of all of the appropriate paperwork and meet deadlines along the way? The insight of past clients can help you to know what to expect when you work with a legal representative.
Do your homework upfront so that you won’t have any surprises later on.
Know What You Want From Your Personal Injury Lawyer
To know how to find the right personal injury lawyer, you have to know what you want. Law is incredibly specialized. Some lawyers may focus more on malpractice, for instance, while others may primarily take cases relating to vehicle accidents. Certain lawyers work primarily with single claimants, while others work with businesses and larger companies.
The same is true of the resources that different attorneys may be able to offer and the policies they have towards taking cases. Some may have partnerships with medical professionals that can help you to get treatment. Certain firms will work on a contingency-fee basis, which means that they’ll only charge legal fees if they win your case — but this isn’t true for all of them.
You’ll likely be looking for a lawyer who has experience in personal injuries. Assuming that you’ve scheduled an initial consultation — many attorneys offer them free, but you’ll have to check — you may be at a loss about how to examine their background and general fit.
Let’s say that you’ve found a lawyer who looks perfect on paper. They’re experienced in the type of case you’re dealing with, they handle fees in a way that you find to be reasonable, and your aunt/brother/cousin’s dog-walker swears by their work ethic. You’ve gathered all of the right documentation, and now, it’s time for an in-person consultation.
Still, despite the amount of work and research you’ve put into the process so far, there are still key elements you have to look out for when you want to know how to choose the right personal injury lawyer.
Say that the receptionist answered your call after a full minute of waiting and spoke in a way that indicated a near-perpetual eye-roll. That’s not great. Did you wait in a messy office to see an attorney dressed like they were fresh out of a Jimmy Buffett concert or one that couldn’t go five minutes without checking his phone or staring out the window? These are also bad signs.
These are exaggerated examples. But if you wouldn’t put up with behavior like that at any other business, you definitely shouldn’t put up with it when you’re picking legal representation. A lawyer can decide whether they’d like to take your case or not, but ultimately, you are the one hiring them.
So when you have an initial consultation, you should make sure that you don’t leave that session with unanswered questions. They should be able to answer things like:
- How likely is it that my case will go to trial?
- Who in the firm will be working on the case?
- Roughly how long will it take to resolve?
- How much is the case worth?
Beyond that, your potential personal injury lawyer is still a human being you’ll need to work with. So aside from their qualifications, you should assess their personal qualities. Are they friendly? Do they explain legal processes in a simple and clear manner? Do you get the sense that they actually care about the claim you’re bringing to them?
When you’re searching for how to find a good personal injury lawyer, it’s appropriate to trust your gut. There could be someone that has everything you need on paper, but if you wouldn’t want to share an elevator with them, there’s a big chance that a jury will feel the same way. You may be working with this individual or team for quite a while, so it’s important that you can feel completely comfortable with their approach and the advice that they offer along the way.
Take the time to learn what you can from the resources available to you, and you can confidently move forward with a personal injury attorney.
The Quick Take from Firm Founder, Michael Pines
A quick summary of questions to ask yourself and prospective attorneys from senior personal injury attorney & firm founder, Michael Pines:
- Where are the attorneys you are considering located? Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. is in San Diego, only, while many of our competitors have offices all over. We’re local and our past clients in this great community appreciate that.
- When looking at reviews – consider quality vs. quantity. Fake reviews or reviews written by employees do exist. So really reading reviews and getting a sense of the quality of reviews over an extensive period of time is important.
- Know who is going to handle your case. Many firms have “case managers” instead of lawyers. In fact, some of these outfits will never allow an attorney to speak to the client, or, they’re hard to get a hold of.
- Does your prospective attorney have ample experience handling personal injury cases? As a former insurance attorney, I’ve learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. That inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to our clients injured in car accidents.
- Know your attorney’s education background. Where your prospective attorney went to school could play a role in their experience level. At Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC., all of our attorneys graduated from top rated law programs and are ABA approved.
- Does the firm charge you if there’s no recovery? Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you owe us nothing until there is a fair recovery.
- Does the firm allow a free consultation with an attorney before you hire them? At Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC., you’ll be able to speak to an attorney on your first call.
- Review the retainer agreement. The retainer agreement is the document between you (the client) and the law firm. Some firms may have unfair fees buried in the paperwork so you always want to review this agreement thoroughly.
Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side.
If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines