A personal injury attorney is one that specializes in personal injury cases. Finding a personal injury lawyer is easy, but finding a good personal injury attorney is going to take a little work on your part. You are going to need to do a bit of research, talk to friends and acquaintances who have been represented by a lawyer in their own personal injury claims. But, don’t just take a few people’s advice, you need to contact lawyers you have dealt with in the past and ask for a referral from them, check your local bar association and do some checking online.
There are a ton of personal injury attorneys and you need to find the best personal injury attorney you can. If you are unsure of an attorney’s credentials, you can check them out at your local State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral Service. Find them online, just type in your “State” and “State Bar Directory.”
Another good source for checking on an attorney’s rating is Martindale.com, you can type in an attorney’s name or the name of their firm and see how their peers have rated them. The ratings are “based on evaluations by other members of the bar and the judiciary in the United States and Canada. The first review to establish a lawyer’s rating usually occurs three years after his/her first admission to the bar.” Very helpful site.
Another thing, watch out for personal injury lawyers that come to you first, if they were any good, they wouldn’t be needing to flag down business, they would already be swamped with work, don’t you think?
Finding The Best Personal Injury Attorney For You
Try to find at least three or four personal injury attorneys, meet with each one of them to discuss your claim. No matter how good the first attorney you meet seems, don’t just hire him on the spot, finish your research, meet with all of them on your list. Then choose which one you got along with best and which one seemed the most knowledgeable and experienced with your specific injury case.
During your initial consultation, ask the attorney how many personal injury cases they have handled, ask for details of similar cases they have won in the past. Hiring an experienced lawyer is well worth it.
When you sit down with each lawyer, to discuss your claim and possible ways of handling it, bring copies of all your documents, police reports, medical records and bills, insurance company correspondence, income loss information, witness statements if you have them and anything else that you think might help your case. Each potential attorney needs as much information as he can get to make a good assessment of your injury case, and what the odds are of winning. It may seem monotonous to tell your story to several attorneys, but that is the only way you are going to be able to pick the best attorney out of the ones you have selected.
What Do Personal Injury Attorneys Charge
Most personal injury lawyers do not charge for the initial consultation, but always ask and if they do have a fee, go find another attorney. Personal injury attorneys are a dime a dozen and you don’t need to pay for meeting with them to discuss whether or not they will take your case. If they think your case is worth pursuing they will want you as a client.
Personal injury attorneys usually work on a contingency, that means that whatever the monetary judgment is in a case, they get a portion of it. Some will require a lump sum if you are awarded a lump sum and others an installment plan, when you get your monthly check, they get their portion. Also, the percentage they charge can differ from attorney to attorney, so doing your homework could keep more money in your pocket.
Since most work on a contingency basis, that usually gives them the incentive to work hard on your case. It makes sense, because the larger the award they can get for you, the larger their payoff would be too. On the other hand if they lose the case you don’t get paid and neither do they.
Remember, this is your personal injury and you need to find the best legal representation you can. You may only get one chance at this and if you lose, you lost a lot. Sure you could appeal the decision, but why go that route, that would be tons more work. It would be difficult to get another attorney to take on the appeal for free and in my opinion appeals don’t usually work anyway. The best thing to do is to do it right the first time and find yourself the best personal injury attorney that you can and give it your best shot!