Injuries happen. They’re rarely anticipated, but they always leave pain and friction in their wake. If you want to mitigate the negative consequences and fallout of an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, hiring a good personal injury lawyer is the best place to start.
6 Tips to Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
There are thousands of personal injury lawyers spread out around the country – likely hundreds in your state. And at first glance, they all seem pretty similar. How are you supposed to select the right ones?
While there’s no secret formula, there are some tips and tricks that should help you make a more informed selection. In particular, we recommend keeping an eye out for the following traits:
Almost every attorney you discover online or through a referral network is going to have a long list of seemingly impressive credentials. It’s just the nature of the industry. (You don’t become a lawyer without having an impressive resume.) But what you really want to look for is actual experience.
Experience is what separates the young lawyer who just passed the bar exam from the attorney who has worked with thousands of clients over a period of two decades. While the young attorney has to cut his teeth somewhere, you don’t want it to be at your expense.
- Proven Track Record
Experience alone isn’t enough. You also want to study the personal injury lawyer’s track record. In other words, do they win a lot of cases? What percentage of their cases are settled versus go to trial? What are the average and mean settlements for cases similar to yours? These are valuable questions worth exploring in greater detail.
Consider the lawyer’s niche. Obviously a personal injury attorney is going to cast a wide net, but you want to make sure that he or she is regularly taking on clients who have situations that are similar to yours.
In other words, if you’re in a car accident, you want an attorney who really focuses on car accident victims. If you’re hurt in a slip and fall accident at work, you need an attorney who has dozen and dozens of slip and fall cases just like yours. This is where real value is built!
- Willingness to Fight
There are plenty of attorneys out there who would prefer for all of their clients to quickly settle with the other party so that they can make a quick buck and move on without all of the time commitment and other challenges. Read through attorney websites, set up consultations, and look for signs that an attorney is fine fighting cases and going to trial.
Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. is a great example of a firm that does precisely this. In fact, their website even spells it out: “Our law firm doesn’t look to quickly settle cases. If the insurance company refuses to fully and fairly compensate you, or if the other party makes an offer that falls short of your objectives, our attorneys will be ready to fight for you at trial.”
- Sensible Fee Structure
Don’t go enter into a client-attorney relationship with a personal injury attorney until you’ve discussed fees. Failing to address this element could leave you paying more than you had initially planned.
Most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means they get paid when the settlement or verdict is complete. Generally, speaking this number is somewhere around one-third of the settlement or judgment (plus expenses incurred).
- Positive Gut Feeling
Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of trusting your gut. And this goes both ways!
If you have a bad feeling about someone, there’s probably a reason for it. Even if you can’t pinpoint the exact cause, it’s smart to trust your instincts.
If you have a good feeling about someone, lean into your intuition and go with this individual (assuming everything else checks out).
Don’t Settle for Anyone But the Best
When it comes to something as serious and significant as a personal injury, nothing good can come from making a rash decision or sudden choice. You shouldn’t settle for anyone but the best. Use the criteria outlined in this article and carefully filter your options until you find a solid choice that helps you obtain a positive outcome. Good luck!