You may consider hiring a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been injured in an accident. Choosing the right lawyer for your case is vital, and there are many factors to consider when making this decision. We look at the seven things you should keep in mind when looking for a personal injury lawyer.
1. What Fees Do They Charge?
One of the first things you should ask a personal injury lawyer is how they charge fees. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case.
Most personal injury lawyers will take a percentage of the final settlement amount. Still, others charge a flat hourly fee, plus any additional expenses for filing fees, such as for crash reports. Which one is a better fit for you will depend on your case. For example, if you have a relatively straightforward case that won’t take long to settle, you might end up keeping more compensation by paying an hourly fee for the time your attorney has spent on your case. For more complex cases where multiple parties may be liable, and each is disputing who’s at fault, you may be better off working with a firm that takes a percentage of your settlement.
You shouldn’t take a law firm’s fee structure at face value and base your decision to hire them on how much they charge. Instead, you should see it as one of several factors. If your attorney has considerable experience with your type of case, they may charge a higher fee. Still, you may also have a much greater chance of success than hiring a cheaper and less experienced lawyer.
Ensure you understand an attorney’s fee structure before hiring them.
2. Do They Specialize in a Particular Type of Case?
Not all personal injury lawyers are created equal. Some specialize in car accident cases, while others might specialize in medical malpractice cases or slips and falls. When you’re looking for a lawyer, ask if they have experience handling your type of case.
3. What Is Their Trial Experience?
Only a handful of personal injury cases fail to settle during negotiations. Even then, if a case proceeds to trial, you face a lengthy wait before your day in court, and pre-trial negotiations are often successful. That said, if for any reason your case goes to trial — such as if the insurance company fails to budge from an unfair offer or you want a larger settlement and your attorney believes you have a strong case — hire a lawyer who has experience trying cases in front of a jury.
You also want to check if your chosen law firm is prepared to go to trial. Some firms may pass litigation matters to another firm, which means another attorney will represent you in court and may charge a higher contingency fee.
4. Can They Practice Where You Are?
If you live in a different state than where the accident happened, you’ll need to make sure the lawyer you choose can practice law in that state. While many federal laws govern the U.S., each state also has its own legislature, and lawyers must pass the bar exam in the state they want to practice to represent clients.
You might be recommended to a great car accident lawyer in South Carolina with a track record of success, but if you’re in Texas, you’ll want to hire a reputable attorney in your state, such as a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio.
5. Have They Handled Cases Like Yours in the Past?
No two accidents are the same. Even two accidents with near-identical facts will affect victims in different ways — one may walk away with a broken arm while another may tragically die in the accident. That said, there will usually be an overlap between your case and others a lawyer has handled.
Make sure you ask a criminal defense lawyer if they’ve handled cases similar to yours in the past. If you’ve sustained a head injury in a car accident, you’ll want to find an attorney who has previously secured settlements for traumatic brain injury victims. If an intoxicated driver caused your accident, ensure the lawyer has experience with cases involving driving under the influence (DUI).
6. Do They Have Testimonials or Reviews?
When looking for the right personal injury lawyer, one crucial thing to consider is whether or not they have testimonials or reviews from past clients. Don’t rely alone on written testimonials on a firm’s website — look at verified reviews on third-party sites such as TrustPilot and Google Reviews. This can give you an idea of what their previous clients thought about their services and whether or not they would recommend them to others.
7. Do You Feel Comfortable with Them?
Finally, choosing a personal injury lawyer you feel comfortable with is important. You’ll be working closely with your lawyer throughout the process, so finding someone you can trust is essential.
Your attorney may look great on paper and reassure you in an initial consultation that they will give their all to your case, but when you dig into their online reviews, you might find that they are hands-off with their clients and fail to keep them updated on the progress of their case. If you want to hand over the entire process to your lawyer and focus on your recovery, they might be a good fit for you, but if you prefer to be kept in the loop and want your attorney available should you have any questions or concerns, it might be worth continuing your search.
When looking for the best personal injury lawyer for your case, ensure you keep these seven things in mind. With the right lawyer on your side, you can get the compensation you deserve.