Hiring a personal injury attorney is imperative if someone else’s negligence caused your injury and you need representation. An experienced attorney can make the process less stressful. But how do you do it? (You really cannot sue if you are injured.)
- Research potential candidates
Find someone with the necessary personal injury experience.
They may have experiences with cases similar to yours.
They may have experience handling claims with many insurance companies and experience litigation in your type of case and the injuries for which you seek compensation.
- Know what to look for in a law firm
Years of experience
- See testimonials and read opinions
Testimonials and testimonial videos can give you an overview from real clients
Feedback can help you anticipate what your experience with the firm will be like
- Analyze your candidates
Have they had clients like you before?
Do they think you could have a successful case?
What are the fees for a case like this?
- Understand the costs
Finding someone with a fee structure that suits you is imperative.
A contingent fee may be better for those on a budget.
- Hire the best team of lawyers for you
If you are not 100% sure, proceed with signatures on a shortlist and get answers for unanswered questions
You may not have a perfect phone conversation and that is normal.
Trust your research and instincts, move on with the representation.
- Sign the contract
The contract must determine the representation clauses and the fee structure that was initially agreed.
Please read carefully and ask any questions you may have.
Never sign a contract that you do not fully understand or that you are not comfortable with.
A personal injury attorney is someone who specializes in cases where someone is injured, and where they can help the injured party explore their rights to fair compensation for those injuries.
If you’ve suffered a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence, it’s natural for you to feel that someone else should pay for it — the problem is, you don’t know where to start to hold that person accountable. You need to hire a personal injury attorney who will know your options and handle the legal process for you. But whom to hire?
The United States is full of personal injury law firms competing for the business of injured accident victims. Some firms are highly promoted, while others quietly rely on word of mouth referrals and recommendations to attract clients. An Internet search will return hundreds of thousands of results at least. So how do you choose the best personal injury law firm available for your case? Here are three general steps you have to follow when you hire a personal injury lawyer.
Step 1: Understand what your case involves
To find out if an attorney is right for you, first understand the basics of why you need an attorney. Different attorneys focus on different areas of law, and if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, your claim is in the area of personal injury. You would not hire a business attorney to defend you in a criminal case. Similarly, you don’t want to simply hire any family member or friend with a lawyer’s license unless that person has the necessary personal injury experience. Many people make the mistake of hiring someone they know, or someone who has a friend or family member who might know, even if they are not the right lawyer for the job.
The type of accident is a significant variable in personal injury cases. It is not in your best interest to hire an attorney who only handles car accident cases if you suffered a slip and fall injury at Walmart. Handling an auto insurance claim is VERY different from taking on corporate giants like Walmart and their insurers.
It is also important to consider the lawyer’s experience with the type and severity of the injury. Some personal injury firms prefer to take hundreds of cases involving relatively minor injuries because they do not have the knowledge of medical diagnoses and treatments that involve serious or catastrophic injuries. If you suffered a serious or catastrophic injury, be sure to check with your attorney if they have had experience with cases like yours.
Even if someone practices personal injury law, they may not have the experience and resources to handle a wide variety of personal injury claims, from a typical car accident to a catastrophic semi-trailer truck case, or a claim for slip and fall due to serious injury. Some larger personal injury law firms have both the ability and the skills to handle a wide variety of these types of cases, but you should be sure to research that firm before hiring them. The advantage of hiring a large firm is that you have more resources and potential behind your claim. However, be careful and make sure that company doesn’t have a reputation for treating the customers “like a number.” Sometimes, The best option is to hire a large law firm, but one that offers high levels of individual service. This way, you get the best of both worlds – greater resources behind your case and personalized team care.
Finally, understand that there are different ways to seek compensation in personal injury cases. Insurance companies may offer to pay some claims, while others may require going to court. You need an attorney who is experienced in handling claims with many different insurance companies, as well as litigation experience in your type of case and the injuries you need to file a lawsuit — one who is not shy when it comes to facing corporate adversaries. and large insurance companies, and one that knows all the negotiating tactics necessary to successfully resolve a claim.
Step 2: Know what to look for in a lawyer
Countless law firms handle personal injury cases, so consider the following factors that separate the best personal injury attorneys from the rest of the pack:
- Years of experience – It’s just a fact that newer attorneys are not as experienced and may not know as many “insider secrets” as the attorneys who have practiced personal injury law for decades. However, a newer attorney working at a company that provides the support and training of experienced attorneys should be fine.
- Reputation – Lawyers who are respected in the community and have a positive reputation will often be better than lawyers who have earned a less stellar reputation. A positive reputation will often mean a trustworthy attorney who will commit to your case. In today’s “Internet age”, there is no reason not to investigate!
- Disciplinary Record – Lawyers who do not meet deadlines, do not keep clients informed, or do not act ethically may find ethics complaints filed against them with their law school or licensing agency. Using the state bar association or the licensing agency’s website, look for any complaints, suspensions, or disqualifications from the attorneys you are investigating.
- Availability – if your injuries prevent you from going to a lawyer’s office, see if the lawyer will visit you at home or in the hospital. Look for a firm that has team members available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These are sure signs of dedication by the firm to their clients, as well as a good “infrastructure” of operations.
- Winning Results – It doesn’t matter how many cases an attorney has handled if the attorney doesn’t consistently achieve good results for clients. Pay attention to past client reviews regarding past case results — while not a guarantee, it can provide a good indication of what a particular attorney might accomplish for you.
Step 3: View testimonials, read comments
What better way to know about the services of a lawyer than from the words of the clients? Clients are not required to write testimonials for their attorneys and often choose to do so because they appreciate the help they received. Reading testimonials or even watching testimonial videos can also give you a better idea of the experience you may have with that attorney or law firm.
Do you want a lawyer who is from all areas? Testimonies may indicate that they were focused and efficient.
Do you want personalized and dedicated attention? Many clients write about how an attorney made them feel throughout the process.
Taking the time to read an attorney’s testimonial testimonials can give you a good or bad feeling about how they can help you.
Similarly, be sure to read reviews online. Reading former customer reviews can sometimes be one of the best ways to anticipate what your experience will be like.
Don’t let some bad reviews take you away from a good lawyer. Look at the content of the opinion: Did the evaluator look like someone with personal interests, unreasonable expectations, or even a disgruntled employee or competitor posting a false review? (This happens more than you think) Be sure to see if the law firm responds to opinions as they are published. If you answer, what do you think of the answer? Do they seem to care about their customers’ opinions?
Step 4: Questions to ask
After talking to friends and family for recommendations, do a Google search and use web legal directories to find different attorneys in your area, carefully research each option and narrow your list down to a few top candidates. Contact these attorneys and discuss your situation with your team, making sure to ask any questions you have about the attorney, their team, and your particular case.
You should prepare the questions you want to ask ahead of time, as you don’t want to lose your way and forget about them during the conversation. You will want to analyze what happened to you and how the law firm is prepared to help you. Some common questions for this meeting may include:
- Have you handled a case like mine before? If so, was it successful?
- Do you focus on one area of law or do you handle many types of cases?
- How long do I have to initiate legal action?
- How long does it take to resolve a case like mine? Is there a range?
- How will my case be assigned and who will I be working with?
- How quickly does your office return calls or emails to keep me up to date on the status of my case?
- What is the fee agreement to handle these types of cases?
- Do you think I have a good chance for a successful case?
To provide the best possible answer to your questions, please provide the attorney team with as much information as possible about your case. It helps if you can gather information and documentation before the consultation so you can give details about your accident and injuries. If possible, you should have important documents and information available. Documents and information such as medical records, information about witnesses to the accident, photos you took of the accident scene, police reports, and other important information can be helpful in making the consultation as productive as possible.
Taking the time to discuss your case and concerns with a law firm can give you an idea of whether or not they will partner with you. During the conversation, if the law firm representative speaks quickly, skips over important matters, or tries to rush you out of the box, that may indicate what to expect throughout your case. On the other hand, a representative who takes the time to make sure you understand what is happening, carefully explains your rights and options, shows empathy and patience, and treats you as one person can leave you more confident that you will receive a response, personalized representation during your case.
Selecting the right attorney is a personal decision — and also a very important decision. Make sure that your initial consultations are completely free and that you are not required to hire the lawyer or firm. Make sure the legal team has taken the time to answer your questions and evaluate your possible claim. Don’t let anyone waste your time by simply telling you what you want to hear — seek an honest evaluation of your case.
Step 5: Understand the cost
One of the biggest hesitations that accident victims can have about hiring an attorney is the potential cost. After all, you’ve heard that law firms charge hundreds of dollars an hour or even $100 for a short phone call! You don’t have to worry about money every time you pick up the phone with a consultation for your attorney. Instead, you need to find an attorney that meets your needs with a fee structure that you are comfortable with.
Some attorneys charge for agreements that can be confusing, and you should always feel free to continue consulting until you fully understand what the attorney expects of you financially. You need an attorney whose fees are appropriate to your financial situation following an injury — not to make things more stressful!
If you are low on money and looking for the most cost-effective way to hire an attorney, find a company that accepts cases that are based on contingent fees. A contingent fee agreement means you pay nothing unless the company succeeds in obtaining compensation for you. Under a contingent fee agreement, all the work that attorneys do to prepare and process your insurance claim is free. Pursuing a lawsuit is free. You will pay absolutely nothing unless you have a successful resolution.
When you receive compensation, part of your payment will cover your attorney’s fees and costs. Your contingent fee agreement should detail in writing how much of your payment will go to your attorney, and you should always feel comfortable with that amount. At no time should you pay anything out of pocket or pay money in advance.
Contingent fee arrangements benefit everyone in the situation. You don’t have to worry about paying an attorney. You can file an injury claim, even if you don’t have the money to pay for it. Also, your attorney is only paid if you do, so your interests align with those of your attorney. This also marks a sign of your lawyer’s trust in your case – lawyers are unlikely to take bad cases in a contingency because there is nothing for them.
Step 6: Sign the contract
By following the steps above, you should narrow down your options to the personal injury attorney who considers the best option for you and your case.
When you select a law firm that agrees to take your case, you will need to sign a contract. The contract must establish the representation clauses, as well as the fee structure that was initially discussed. Please read this agreement carefully and feel free to ask questions about the terms of the contract. As any lawyer will tell you: never sign a contract that you are not comfortable with or do not fully understand! Once you sign the contract, your new personal injury attorney and their team can start working to get the compensation you deserve.
Consult a personal injury lawyer in The Woodlands for more information today!
When you don’t know where to go to talk about your rights, call a personal injury attorney. That’s the first step in getting the compensation you need after suffering an accident injury.
Find the personal injury attorney that’s right for you. Each person is different and people will have different preferences when it comes to their legal representation and experience. No matter your values or attitudes, never choose a personal injury attorney lightly.
Perhaps nothing is as useful as talking to the legal team and getting a real idea of who they are and how they will treat you. Find a legal team that carefully reviews the details of your accident, injuries, and losses and can provide information about your rights and options. Find someone who makes you feel as comfortable as possible and who will protect your interests at every step of the legal process.