How to find a good personal injury lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you might be looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you with your case. A good personal injury lawyer will help you build your case and fight to get the damages you deserve by negotiating a good settlement or taking the matter to trial if necessary. A good personal injury lawyer will focus on your case so you can focus on recovering from your injury. But how do you find a good personal injury attorney to help you? Read on to find out.
What to Look for In a Personal Injury Attorney
Before you start looking for a lawyer, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Personal injury as a primary practice area.
Law, like medicine, is a specialized field, and the majority of attorneys take cases in just a few main areas of practice. This allows them to get the experience and deeper knowledge they need to be more effective for their clients. Just as you’d go to a heart specialist for heart troubles, you should go to a personal injury lawyer for help with your personal injury case. This may sound obvious, but it can be tempting to ask a friend or relative who is an attorney to help you with your situation for free, even if they have no background in personal injury. But think twice before doing this. An attorney who isn’t experienced in personal injury may not have what it takes to get you the damages you deserve to compensate for lost wages, bodily injury, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages. The end result could be financially devastating to you as well as a waste of time. When fighting a personal injury case, work with someone who dedicates a significant amount of their time to personal injury.
A good fit for your case.
Within the practice of personal injury, many attorneys build their practices on just a few types of cases, and you should work with one with experience handling cases like yours. “Personal injury” is a broad category which includes slip and fall cases, premises liability cases, car accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, nursing home abuse, wrongful death, and the list goes on. Some of these may seem so similar it wouldn’t make a difference – for example, car accidents vs. motorcycle accidents – but it can actually make a big difference to work with an attorney with experience in one over the other. They will know what it takes to build a strong case of that particular kind.
Years of experience.
Experience in personal injury matters. Ideally, you should work with an attorney who has at least 5-10 years of experience handling personal injury cases like the kind you need help with.
Most personal injury claims are settled out of court. This saves everyone involved time, stress, and money. However, sometimes it’s necessary to take the case to trial in order to get a more favorable outcome. If this happens, you want to know that your attorney has experience litigating in court and has a good track record of favorable outcomes for their clients. Plus, attitude is important – some lawyers dread going to trial, while others welcome the chance to fight for their clients in court. That’s what you want.
Bonus: other related experience.
Some personal injury lawyers have experience in other areas that can be valuable to you. One example is attorneys who now represent individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents who used to work on the other side, for auto insurance companies. They’ve seen firsthand what insurance companies will do to deny or reduce compensation paid out, and they understand what makes a compelling case from the insurance side. While this kind of experience shouldn’t be on your “must have” list, it’s something to be aware of as you conduct your research.
Work with an attorney who has a good reputation among your friends and family, their past clients, and/or the legal community. An attorney with a good reputation will have more favorable reviews than unfavorable ones online, may hold positions of responsibility in community or legal associations, and may have received recognition and accolades. For example, attorneys of The Carolina Law Group have been listed among the Legal Elite, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40, and Super Lawyers Rising Stars, among others. Accolades like these show that the attorney is recognized and respected by their clients, their peers, and their profession.
One of the biggest complaints people have about their attorneys is how hard it is to get a hold of them. While you’re going through one of the most stressful experiences of your life, trying to recover from an accident and get much needed damages, you need to know that your attorney is concerned about you and moving your case forward. Look for a lawyer who makes it a priority to keep the lines of communication open. Here at The Carolina Law Group, we make sure to keep our clients up to date on the status of their case through regular contact with their case manager. Plus, we actually give our clients our personal cell phone numbers so they know they can contact us if they need to, which is very rare in our profession!
Good support staff.
You shouldn’t expect to work exclusively with your attorney 100% of the time. It’s common practice to work closely with other members of the support staff, such as paralegals. That’s why it’s important to find a law firm with a team you like and trust, as it can make all the difference between a pleasant experience and a stressful one.