How to Find a Personal Injury Attorney
Credit: Opensource

In the event that you are dealing with a particularly serious personal injury claim due to an automobile or other accident, you will almost certainly need to have the advice from a personal injury attorney. However, it is important to choose the right person to represent you.

There are many different types of attorneys that deal with specialized situations like motorcycle accident, traumatic brain injuries, accidents involving commercial vehicles, and accidents associated with home ownership claims, so you should not simply turn to just anyone for help.  

Here are several ideas for locating an attorney that has expertise representing seriously injured people in personal injury claims.

Locating Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

Friends and Acquaintances

One of the best ways to find a personal injury claim attorney is to consult with friends or co-workers who may have been represented by an attorney in their own claim. If the friend or coworker says positive things, place the lawyer on your short list of people to eventually consult.

Online Lawyer Directory

There are online directories that you can use to enter the details of your and provide your location which allows an attorney to call you about your case.  These types of sites have information on many different types of lawyers so be sure to filter to your needs.

Make sure that the site provides a comprehensive profile for each particular attorney. You need to research that person’s experience in related cases before you decide to proceed. These types of sites require confirmation of an attorney’s credentials and that they are I good standing with the bar association.

Referrals for Other Types of Attorneys

An alternative place to seek a recommendation for a qualified personal injury lawyer is through other attorneys you know that work in other fields. Lawyers commonly refer cases out of their fields of expertise to one another, and most lawyers will know another person who deals with personal injury cases. Again, add referrals of this type to your short list of potential attorneys to interview at a later date.

Local Bar Association

The majority of local bar associations have recommendation programs where the names of lawyers are organized by area of expertise. Before you decide to select an attorney through a referral service like this, ask about their requirements for including a lawyer on their site, not to mention just how thoroughly the lawyers are screened. Also, verify that they have the legal authority to practice law in your state.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?

As soon as you have narrowed down your options check the lawyer's track record on specialized online websites like Martindale-Hubbell that score attorneys based on their ability and past success rates. Additionally follow-up with your State's Bar Association to confirm the attorney is in good standing.

Next, arrange to have a consultation with each one to discuss your case and how they would proceed.

The majority of attorneys will not charge anything for an initial consultation and if you come across one that wants a fee for that first meeting, look elsewhere. Most lawyers work on a contingent fee where they do not get paid unless you receive money through a settlement. In most cases, the attorney fee will be range between 30 to 40 percent of the amount of the final payoff.[1]

Be sure to bring copies of all your documents that relate to your case. This can include items such as the police report, any medical or hospital bills, any information related to being out of work and loss of income and everything that has been received and sent to your insurance company.

However be ready for rejection. A lot of attorneys will not take cases if they fall below a certain possible payout settlement.

Questions to Ask During the Consultation

How to Find a Personal Injury Attorney
Credit: Opensource

When discussing your case with a lawyer, there are some questions you need to ask to get a better idea of their experience and how they will proceed going forward.

  • How long have they been practicing law in this area?
  • Is this their primary area of expertise?
  • Do they represent plaintiffs and/or defendants?
  • Will the person you are meeting with be handling the case or will it be passed along to one of a pool of lawyers within the firm?

The last two bullet points are extremely important. Ideally, you want to hire a personal injury attorney that has primarily represented plaintiffs. Someone that has represented both may think in terms of the insurance company and not realize it.

Also, you want to make sure the person you are meeting with and questioning will actually be involved in your case and they are not pulling a bait and switch on you, putting forward their most experienced attorneys only to pawn it off to someone with less experience.

Get a Sense of What the Case Might be Worth

Once you have reviewed the specifics of your case, you can usually get some sense from the attorney about how much they believe the case may be worth, and just how difficult it may be to get the insurance provider to pay that amount of money.  While no personal injury lawyer can tell you exactly how long it will take to process your case, or how much you could make exactly, they should be able to give you a ballpark figure on both.  This is when you should let the lawyer know which of the following you want him or her to do for you.

  • Get a predetermined settlement amount for you with as few expenses and as little frustration as feasible.
  • Get a sum more than what the insurance provider has offered as soon as possible.
    Get as much as possible, regardless of how long it takes.
  • If you feel confident with the lawyer's expertise, and at ease with his or her idea of how to continue with your case, odds are that you've found an attorney you can work with.

Final Thoughts

Getting injured in an accident can be painful and stressful enough without having to fight insurance companies or defendants for a fair payout. Insurance and trucking companies have lawyers and other representative that deal with this kind of situation every day so you are immediately at a disadvantage.

Hiring the right personal injury attorney is critical to getting the settlement you deserve through being involved in an accident that was no fault of your own.