In 2019, over 81,000 personal injury cases were filed in the US. This is a dramatic 30% increase in these types of lawsuits over the previous year!
Were you recently injured in a car accident or workplace accident? If so, how can you know when to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Whether you’ve retained lawyers in the past or this is your first time seeking legal aid, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. First, take a deep breath. Then keep reading for seven easy-to-follow tips to help you find the best personal injury lawyer in your area.
1. Consider Areas of Specialty
“Personal injury is a broad term that covers many types of legal cases. Car accidents and workplace injuries are the most obvious ones, but there are many others too.
For example, some law firms specialize in wrongful death, maritime law, dog bites, or medical malpractice. Other lawyers are skilled at handling product or premises liability lawsuits.
The point is: You need to find a lawyer that’s skilled in handling your type of case.
As you begin your search, look for a firm that specializes in your type of injury. Some firms such as Sadaka specialize in more than one area of personal injury. If that’s the case, be sure to research which lawyers in the firm handle your case type so you can schedule a consultation with the appropriate attorney.
2. Ask for Personal Recommendations
If you’ve never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit before, your best bet is to start by asking for referrals.
Have any of your family members, colleagues, or neighbors recently been injured and hired a lawyer? If so, were they happy with their services, fees, and the eventual outcome of their case? You may not have to search very far at all if someone can recommend a good personal injury lawyer in your area.
What if you don’t personally know anyone who’s used a personal injury lawyer? There are other resources you can go to for recommendations. Your CPA, financial adviser, or even other lawyers can all be valuable sources of information. They likely work with local lawyers and might be able to recommend a reputable firm.
Another often-overlooked resource is your company’s EAP (employee assistance program). You may be eligible for free or discounted legal aid through the company you work for, so find out what options are available to you.
3. Take Your Search Online
If your quest for a personal recommendation has come up short, the next place to search is online. Your state or local bar association’s site is a good place to start.
A well-known and respected resource is the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. It includes detailed biographies of virtually every lawyer in the United States and Canada, as well as law firm ratings and peer reviews.
As you compile a list of potential candidates, be sure to check the actual attorney’s (or their firm’s) website. It should provide a clear and detailed overview of the services they provide. If there are any reviews posted on the lawyer’s personal site or page, it’s a good idea to cross-check them on a third-party site (just in case).
4. Double-Check Credentials
Speaking of cross-checking, don’t take anything listed on a personal website at face value. Most lawyers are on the up and up, but it never hurts to do a little fact-checking before you pick up the phone.
Check with the state bar or the Law Directory mentioned above. Make sure that any education or accolades the lawyer lists are factual. If the firm claims to have won a well-known case, double-check those facts as well.
This is also the time to read third-party reviews from real clients who have worked with the lawyer. Did they have a good experience? One poor review doesn’t automatically mean you should write them off, but beware of a pattern of bad reviews.
5. Schedule Consultations
Once you’ve narrowed your list to two or three candidates, it’s time to start making calls (or using online contact forms). Most law firms offer a free consultation to discuss your case, so take advantage of that offer.
From the moment you first make contact with the office, pay close attention to their communication style. Are they quick to respond to your inquiries, and do they provide detailed answers? Or do you have to wait a long time to hear anything, only to get vague responses?
The way you’re treated before the consultation is a good indication of what it will be like to work with the firm. If there are any red flags that pop up, don’t ignore them.
6. Prepare Interview Questions
When you meet your potential lawyer, either in-person or via a video chat, have a list of questions ready to ask. These might include:
- What’s their current caseload like?
- How much experience (and how much success) do they have with cases similar to yours?
- How are their fees structured?
- Will you work directly with the lawyer, or will there be others involved in the case?
- Are there any extra costs or fees to be aware of?
Pay close attention to their answers, as well as things that might go unsaid. In general, the lawyer should make you feel comfortable and be willing to listen patiently to your concerns.
If anything seems “off” about the lawyer or their office, cross them off the list and keep searching. It’s never a bad idea to go with your gut, especially when making a decision as important as this one!
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
It’s normal to feel shaken and unsettled after an accident. If your injuries were severe, you may also be dealing with ongoing physical and emotional pain while you recover.
Even if you feel overwhelmed by the thought of how to find a personal injury lawyer, it’s worth your time and effort. Use the tips outlined above to begin your search for the best personal injury lawyer in your area.
Soon you’ll be on your way to legal victory and (hopefully) a full recovery!
Did you find this article helpful? Keep browsing our blog or use our Lawyer Search feature to begin your journey.