When injuries are minor, a case is straightforward, liability is not disputed, and the at-fault party’s insurance company is cooperative, you may be able to settle a personal injury case on your own. Those situations are rare, however, due in large part to insurance companies being for-profit businesses. Therefore, in most cases, choosing an experienced and successful personal injury lawyer is your best chance at securing a favorable outcome.
7 Things To Look For In A Personal Injury Lawyer
A simple Google search is proof that personal injury attorneys abound. So what is the secret to finding the lawyer who has your best interests at heart? The following tips will help increase your chances for a successful outcome.
Ask your friends and family network
Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool around. Ask friends and family if they know of an experienced personal injury lawyer who gets results. Even if the people you speak to have never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit, odds are they know someone who has and will have a referral for you.
Vetting lawyers through people you trust is invaluable compared with choosing a random lawyer or two online and hoping for the best.
Check-in with a lawyer you know
Do you have a lawyer in your close family or group of friends? Have you used a firm you trusted in the past? Does your company have an attorney they trust? While each of us has our own niches, attorneys do quite a bit of networking with each other. If you know a trustworthy lawyer, odds are s/he can refer you to a quality personal injury law firm, which is a top-notch referral from a fellow industry professional.
Check their peer review ratings
Peer ratings tell you quite a bit about the lawyer’s track record and the kind of reputation they have from industry colleagues and professionals. Examples include:
Keep in mind that small practice lawyers may not have a rating yet or may not appear on peer-reviewed sites, which are more tailored for more prominent, corporate firms. That said, it’s always worth a check. No reviews are better than bad reviews.
Use vetted online attorney referral services
There are several reputable third-party referral services you can use to find a personal injury lawyer. For example, Nolo.com provides a list of lawyer referrals, categorized by practice type (personal injury, family, estate planning, etc.), state, and county.
Local attorney associations also offer referral services. If you live here in the Bay Area, visit your county’s bar association, which is easy to find via your preferred search engine. Most county bar associations list their members online or have an online contact board to put you in touch with lawyers who match your needs. You can also call the individual county bar associations and ask them for referrals.
Now it’s time to interview your personal injury lawyer
Never stop with a single referral, recommendation, or website visit. You’ll be forming a partnership with the lawyer, which involves sharing personal and often traumatic information about your personal injury case and the preceding accident or event. You need to choose a personal injury lawyer you feel comfortable with and trust, but s/he must also be experienced and have a recent, impeccable track record.
To continue searching for a personal injury lawyer, select the top three to five candidates and then use their free consultations to conduct interviews.
Learn more about their training and experience
You’ll want to learn more about the personal injury attorney’s training and experience. Here are some areas you should ask about:
- How long have they been in practice?
- Why did they choose that area of law practice?
- What percentage of their practice is dedicated to personal injury law (the more, the better, directly correlating to their experience)?
- What types of cases do they handle on a daily basis?
- Do they typically represent plaintiffs or defendants?
- What are some of the cases that stand out to them?
- Will they be handling the case, or will they likely pass it on to someone else? If it’s the latter, who? And, can you speak directly to that lawyer?
Giving the attorney an opportunity to speak to their experience gives you a good idea of what kind of person they are. Then, after three to five interviews, you’ll have a better sense of who you trust and who makes you feel the most comfortable.
What’s their track record?
The media makes it look like most lawyers spend their days arguing in a courtroom, which is generally not the bulk of a personal injury attorney’s day-to-day practice. The best lawyers prefer to represent their clients well behind the scenes, obtain a settlement that honors their situation, and minimize the stress to their client that comes with the legal process as much as possible. That said, s/he should be willing to take your case to court if needed.
In either scenario, you’re looking for a personal injury firm that has an impressive success record. You should never choose a lawyer that is not willing to go the distance and take your case to trial if needed.
Schedule A Consultation Today
Are you currently searching for an attorney to represent your personal injury lawsuit? Reach out to Burneikis Law and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We specialize in personal injury lawsuits and focus on supporting our clients through both the psychological and practical issues that follow a traumatic injury or accident.