As a personal injury lawyer, we know that looking for an attorney that is right for you can be a tasking experience. And we are here for you every step of the way. We understand that there are so many questions that people have when it comes to hiring the right personal injury attorney, so we have put together ways to make your search for the right personal injury lawyer less stressful.
Understand WHY You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury attorney is different from all other attorneys because their experience and expertise is in a specific area of law. For instance, if you have been injured due to the negligence of another, if you have allegedly injured another, you will want a lawyer who is well versed in the laws according to your state. Most bodily injury lawyers have experience in the following:
- Trial experience
- Experience in negotiating and mediation
- Experience in understanding medical diagnoses and processes associated with other personal injuries
- In depth understanding of how insurance companies work
Personal Injury Attorney – Researching Lawyer Candidates
Making a list of what you are looking for in a personal injury attorney. The following list will help you search for lawyers that meet your criteria:
- Location: find a personal injury attorney who is licensed to practice in the state you were injured. Staying local is no problem, as Silverthorne Attorneys is a personal injury attorney in South Orange County.
- Areas of Practice: most personal injury attorneys have certain areas of law they focus on. If you have been injured by a defective product, you want to find a bodily injury lawyer who is well versed in the law as it pertains to negligence.
- Reputation: using Google to find your nearest Orange County personal injury attorney is easy – with the internet, it is easy to look for and choose a lawyer with a positive reputation.
- How Long Have They Been in Practice?: depending on the complexity of your case, look for a lawyer that has been involved and won cases that are similar to yours and have had years of experience doing so.
- Disciplinary Record: you will want to see if the bodily injury lawyer you are thinking of hiring has ever had a complaint filed against them, if they have ever been suspended or disbarred. In the state of California, you can go to the California State Bar Website, type in your attorney’s bar number – or name – and see if there are any past or present transgressions.
- Trial Experience: Not all personal injury cases go to trial, most are settled in mediation or with a settlement, but you will want to find a personal injury lawyer who is not afraid to go to trial if needed.
Ask For Personal Referrals
Once you have your checklist complete of the qualities you are looking for in a personal injury lawyer, you will want to ask friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc. if they know any good attorneys that are aligned with what you are looking for in an attorney. Begin the process by looking for personal referrals because these are usually attorneys who have the best reputations and are trustworthy. Never immediately hire a personal injury lawyer just because they were referred to you by a friend or family member. Make sure to go through the rest of the process with them; meeting, consultations, etc. to make sure they are a good fit for your needs.
Google Potential Lawyer Candidates
If a referral was not to your liking, you can take to the internet and find a local accident attorney. Googling potential lawyer candidates have actually proven to be helpful. Make sure you take a look at their website so you get a feel of exactly who they are and what their speciality is. Most websites will indicate areas of expertise, years of practice, social media links, examples of success and testimonials.
Make Phone Calls
You can always make phone calls to call local bar associations and law firms. Talking to someone will help you get specific information and will give you a better indication of their demeanor.
- Call the sate bar association – they have specific lawyer referral services.
- Call the county bar association – just like the state bar association, the county will offer phone numbers for referral services. Going through a county bar associate may help you find a lawyer that is closer to where you are located.
- Contact the law firms directly – Do not hesitate to contact local law firms and ask questions. Most reputable injury attorneys will never charge a fee to speak with them directly. This is a good way to get all of your questions answered and it will give you a good idea of what the law firm is all about.
Make a List of Top Choices
Now that you have done all of the extensive research on the local personal injury attorneys, make a list of your top candidates. Try to keep your list at 10 lawyers, at the maximum. The more attorneys you have on your list, the more time it will take to do follow-up and the less time you will have to spend actually speaking on a personal level with each attorney.
Contacting and Meeting With Top Choices
Before meeting with your top bodily injury attorney, prepare a number of questions you want to focus on, and any other questions you may feel are appropriate during your initial consultation. Some common questions that we see are as follows:
- What are your areas of expertise?
- What is the statute of limitations on my case?
- Have you taken cases on that are similar to mine? If so, how many? What was the outcome?
- Are you the only personal injury attorney that will be working on my case? If not, who else will be working on my case?
- How long do you predict my case will take before it is resolved?
- What is your fee? Do you charge on a continent fee basis?
- How will you keep me informed of the progress of my case?
- How often have you gone to trial for similar cases? Have you ever gone to trial?
- Have you ever been disciplined, suspended, or disbarred by an ethics committee or state bar association?
- Does your law firm carry insurance?
- What is the process of how you handle a case? Will you adhere to my wishes in regards to how I want the case to proceed?
- How confident are you in my case? Do you think that I have a good case/are you confident that you can get me a satisfactory settlement?
These are of course only a few suggestions that we may want to ask your injury lawyer. You may come up with other questions that you may need your bodily injury lawyer to answer for you.
Acquire as Much Documentation of the Case as You Can
Before your initial consultation with your personal injury attorney, write down as many facts as you can in regards to your case. The very first thing your accident attorney will ask you at your initial consultation is about the details of your case so they can gauge its likelihood of success. Be as detailed as you possibly can – even minor details are important. When you arrive to your first consultation, your accident attorney will want to see the following:
- Written statements of anyone who witnessed the accident
- Medical records, including but not limited to bills, diagnoses, test results, etc.
- Arrest records, issued citations, toxicology reports – if applicable
- Professional opinions from experts in fields of crash site reconstruction – if applicable
- Pictures taken by you or anyone else at the scene of the accident.
Sit Down Face to Face with Your Top Choices
After you have prepared your list of the most qualified accident attorneys, gathering all of the information about your case, contact each attorney and ask for an in-person consultation. Most attorneys do not charge for consultations, some may charge a small fee. Make sure to ask the lawyer’s office in regards to a fee prior to the consultation.
- Note that you do not have to hire the accident lawyer on the initial consultation. Hiring a car accident lawyer is a huge step and you always want to make sure you choose the right one for you. Always feel free to sit down with as many lawyers as you need in order to find the one that fits your needs.
Making Your Decision
As a personal injury lawyer, we know that making the decision to not only hire a personal injury attorney but also who is going to represent them to the best of their ability. We know that making the decision is difficult for anyone.
Following-up with Top Candidates
After you have had consultations with each of the potential candidates, think about how each consultation went and decide if you have any further questions or if you remembered something that needs follow-up. If you do, never hesitate to call them to follow-up with them with your questions.
Before making your final decision, think about the candidates you met with. Take into consideration the following:
- Positivity about the case
You will be spending a great deal of time, in person, over the phone, and communicating through email, so make sure your experience with your attorney is a positive one. The ideal candidate will make you feel comfortable, will always be available to answer any questions or concerns, will have outstanding and reputable credentials, and will have an overall positive outlook on the outcome of your case
Feeling Comfortable with Candidates Fee Structure
Before you make your final decision about the personal injury lawyer you hire, make sure they are transparent with you when it comes to how their fee is broken down. Look over and think about each attorney’s fee structure in detail before you make your final decision. Each attorney is going to charge differently – make sure you are comfortable with the way the fee breakdown is presented
- A lot of injury attorneys will charge on what is called a contingency fee. This means that they do not collect on their fees until they win your case. The average contingency fee is about 1/3 of the case’s winnings. This rate may be more or less depending on the lawyer you talk to.
- On the other hand, some lawyers will charge you on an hourly basis – this is less likely, but there is a small percentage of injury lawyers who will charge hourly rates.
However the accident attorney you choose decides to charge, make sure that it fits your needs and that you feel comfortable with the amount they are asking for.
Hiring the Top Choice Accident Attorney
Once you have done all of your research, you are ready to hire the personal injury attorney you think will represent you to the best of their ability. Once you hire your car accident lawyer, make sure you receive and sign a written fee agreement. The agreement will layout exactly what your lawyer will be doing for you and how much their fees will be. Always read over it carefully before you sign anything. Make sure your personal injury attorney files the case on time and does their due diligence.
Personal Injury Lawyer Silverthorne Attorneys
Hiring a personal injury attorney does not need to be a struggle. If you have been injured and are in need of a bodily injury attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your case. Consultations are free!