Following a serious accident, you need a personal injury lawyer to help you seek compensation for your injuries. However, you may not know how to find one. You want the right personal injury attorney for your case: a law firm with a proven history of success who is dedicated to maximizing your compensation. How do you find the right personal injury attorney for your case?
Starting Your Research
When you need to find a personal injury attorney, try some of these methods to start creating a list of attorneys in your area who may serve your needs.
Ask for recommendations from friends and family members. Do you have friends or family members who needed to deal with personal injury claims in the past? Talk to them about the attorney that they used. Ask the following questions:
- What did you like about the attorney? How did the law firm you used handle your case?
- What did you dislike about the attorney?
- Would you recommend that I use the same attorney for my case?
Use a legal search website. Sites like Avvo and Justia can provide valuable information that will help you locate a personal injury attorney in your area. Often, you can use the search features to break down the search by your state, city, and the type of law practiced by a given firm. Once you have performed a general search, you can also browse through the lawyers listed to view past ratings, client reviews, and other information about the attorneys.
Do a Google search. When you perform a Google search, you will get a list of many of the personal injury attorneys in your area. Keep in mind, however, that a simple Google search will tell you only which law firms have invested the most in SEO, not necessarily which attorneys have the best track record or the best record with their clients.
Narrowing Down the Personal Injury Attorney for You
Once you have a list of personal injury attorneys in the area, start narrowing down which personal injury attorney will represent the best fit for you and your case. Consider some of these key strategies.
Evaluate the website for the type of law the firm covers. Personal injury attorneys often cover a wide range of injury types. Some firms, however, choose to specialize in certain subsections of personal injury law. Consider your specific personal injury case and what you need the attorney to cover. Subsections of personal injury law include:
- Medical malpractice
- Auto accidents, including pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and big truck accidents
- Product liability
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability accidents
You want an attorney with specific experience in the type of injury you suffered. Ideally, you want an attorney who has worked with—and successfully acquired compensation for—those types of injuries in the past. The law firm can then bring that experience to the table when dealing with your specific claim.
Take a look at reviews on the website. What have other clients said about the attorney? While most attorneys choose to publish the best of the reviews that they receive, the reviews they choose to display will help tell you what the law firm considers most important. Does the firm prioritize customer service? Do the attorneys provide caring, compassionate legal advice? Does the firm focus on hard-hitting legal strategies to help win each case?
Look for reviews on the website. Take a look at the law firm’s social media page and search My Business listing. The star rating offered by reviewers will give you a good starting place for many law firms, but keep in mind that those star reviews may not reflect the actual capability or experience of the attorney. Make sure you take the time to read the reviews. Consider the following:
- Read the most positive reviews to see what other clients liked most about the attorney. These positive reviews will reflect the most satisfied clients and give you an idea of what the law firm does best.
- Read the least positive reviews. What do dissatisfied clients actually have to say about the law firm? Do you notice a string of similar complaints, or do reviewers seem to complain about different issues? Consider how many negative reviews the firm has, as well as what those reviews look like. A few negative reviews, for example, could result from a lost case or other considerations.
- Check for ratings without reviews. One-star ratings without a review or only a brief, generic comment should raise a red flag: those are often false reviews created by disgruntled people who lost against the firm or who have personal issues with the attorney.
Set up a free consultation. Many law firms offer free consultations to clients who want to know if they have found the right attorney. During your free consultation, you will learn what you should expect from your specific claim and develop a better idea of whether the attorney is a good fit for you. Ask:
- Who, specifically, within the firm will handle my claim?
- Can I speak with a client you have worked with in the past?
- How many cases do you currently have? Do you have adequate time to invest in my claim?
- How much do you think I should expect from my claim? Keep in mind that you should consider the average amount suggested to you if you talk to several attorneys. A high outlier could indicate false confidence or an attorney lying to you to get your business.
- How do you handle payment?
- Do you have an idea of how much my claim will cost? An attorney may not give you a solid answer, but he or she can often give you a general idea of what to expect in terms of cost during that consultation.
- Do you usually have to go to court, or can you often settle out of court for injuries like mine?
The sooner you contact a personal injury attorney, the sooner you can start seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries. By choosing the right personal injury lawyer for you, you will find it far easier to navigate your claim.