Every year, over 150,000 Americans die as a result of injury. 3 million more suffer non-fatal injuries, with many of these injuries causing lifelong pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has experienced an injury due to someone else’s negligence, it’s only natural that you’d feel that they should pay for it. But holding the person at fault responsible is easier said than done. That’s where a personal injury attorney comes in.
Personal injury attorneys represent injury victims in civil court. Their work is to help people who’ve suffered physical, psychological, and economic harm as a result of another party’s wrongful or negligent actions.
But with about 48,590 personal injury attorneys and attorney businesses in the US as of 2021, how can you tell which lawyer will serve you best? Here’s a guide to help you hire an attorney you can trust.
Opt for Lawyers Who Focus Exclusively on Personal Injury Law
It’s very likely that your search for personal injury lawyers will start online. During your search, look for attorneys who specialize in personal injury law. That’s because such attorneys are better versed with this field and its many specialized rules and practices.
An attorney who handles personal injury cases only as part of their many other legal fields can be a jack of all trades whose quality of representation may be in question.
Determine Experience Level
Knowing your potential attorney’s extent of training and legal experience is a good way to tell whether they’re the right person for the job. Find out how long they’ve practiced. Generally, you want to work with an attorney who’s been in the field for over five years.
You could also ask how many clients with cases similar to yours they’ve represented in the past. What’s their success record? What’s the biggest compensation they’ve won for a client in the past?
Such questions give you a good idea of the possible outcome of your personal injury case.
Ask Whether the Attorney Will Personally Represent You
It’s no use hiring an excellent attorney if they only intend to assign your case to someone else. Some attorneys will run numerous TV commercials promising to fight for you but never really try your case.
If the attorney you’re talking to has no intention of personally representing you, look for someone who will.
Opt for a Lawyer Who’s Ready To Take the Case To Trial
Up to 96 percent of all personal injury cases never make it to trial. But who knows whether yours will be one of the 4 percent of cases that do?
That’s why hiring an attorney who has never seen the inside of a courtroom is a huge mistake. Such a lawyer will most likely pressure you to settle for much less than you deserve.
Keep in mind that insurers can be extremely aggressive. As soon as they find out that your lawyer never takes cases to trial, they’ll start to make ridiculous offers. Most will make little effort to settle your claim at all.
Hire a lawyer who’ll not hesitate to bring your case before a jury if it comes to that.
Ask About Resources
Many personal injury cases charge on a contingency basis. That means your potential attorney won’t charge you a dollar until your case is concluded and you’ve won a settlement. For this reason, the attorney’s legal practice needs to have sufficient resources to prepare your case and see it to its conclusion.
Note that a serious personal injury case can be quite expensive to prepare. Chances are multiple experts will need to testify, from medical professionals to accident reconstructionists to life care planners. Hiring such experts can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You want an attorney with a line of credit and assets that can sufficiently fund what it takes to fight with an insurance company.
Ask About Professional Memberships
Top lawyers often are active members of both state and national trial attorney groups. A lawyer who collaborates and learns from other personal injury attorneys is usually well versed with the latest in the industry. That includes the latest underhanded methods that insurance companies are using to trick victims of personal injury.
Inquire Whether You Can Talk to References
Sometimes, an attorney may be hesitant to reveal their previous clients due to confidentiality issues
However, most reputable attorneys will have no problem referring to some of the clients they’ve represented in the past. If your potential attorney does have references, ask them to give you a list and follow up to find out what they have to say about the lawyer.
You can also learn about what previous clients think about your potential attorney by visiting their website. It’s very likely that some of the attorney’s previous attorneys have left comments on the website about their experience with the attorney.
If most of the lawyer’s previous clients say good things about the lawyer, it’s a good indication that you too will have a positive experience working with them.
On the other hand, background research that reveals shady details about the personal injury attorney, such as a previous scandal, is a huge red flag.
Talk To the Right Personal Injury Attorneys To Aid Your Case
When looking for legal representation for your personal injury case, it’s important to talk to several personal injury attorneys before you make a decision. Always know which qualities to look for during your interview. This way, you know that the person you’re hiring is the right fit for the job.
Were you or your loved one a victim of personal injury? Contact us today to learn how our experienced attorneys can help.