What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car accident then you need to hire a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to assist you is one of the most important steps in successfully making a claim, filing a lawsuit, and receiving fair compensation for your injuries. But how do you know which lawyer is right for you?
Always meet with a few different lawyers, whether in person or on the phone. Then, consider the following criteria before deciding who to hire.
Signs of Professionalism
The right personal injury lawyer is actively practicing and up to date on the latest laws. You can confirm that a lawyer is doing these things by checking out the following:
- State Bar: Licensing and Certification
Always confirm that the attorney is indeed qualified to practice law in your state. You can also check if they are certified as a personal injury specialist. Many states have specialist certifications for lawyers that have (1) practiced for a certain number of years, (2) passed an exam, and (3) received positive peer reviews.
- Ratio of Practice
What percentage of the lawyer’s practice consists of personal injury? How much time do they spend on a different area of law? You’ll want to hire an attorney who practices personal injury consistently enough to be aware of the most current laws.
In evaluating a lawyer’s personality, you’ll want two consider the following:
- Attitude Toward Their Work: What is their attitude toward their work? How long have they practiced? Why do they do it? Try to find a lawyer that is passionate about practicing personal injury law.
- Attitude Toward You: What is their attitude toward you? Indifferent and dismissive? Or concerned and patient? Are they taking the time to listen to you? Are they empathetic to your situation?
In most personal injury cases, you don’t jump right to the lawsuit without first pursuing a claim. In fact, many states mandate that your case must go through settlement negotiations and mediations before ever going to trial. This is because lawsuits are expensive and can sometimes take years to work their way through the court system. An ethical lawyer will always try to help you settle your personal injury claim out of court first. Be wary of trial-happy lawyers, they may not have your best interest in mind.
Many PI lawyers work on contingency fees. This means that the lawyer is paid a percentage of the settlement (usually 33 1/3%). If the lawyer does not achieve a settlement for the client, then the lawyer doesn’t get paid. If a firm charges a fee unusually higher or lower than this average, be warned.
Taking the time to research and meet with various attorneys is an important part of the process. You should feel confident in moving forward with filing once you’ve found the right lawyer who meets all your criteria.