The vast majority of Americans will eventually need the legal services of a personal injury attorney in 2019. When one party injures another due to negligence, the injured party has the right to seek recovery for the damages. A personal injury attorney can be a fantastic asset for handling any type of civil claim for damages against another party, but it is vital that potential plaintiffs take time to research and interview different personal injury attorneys before agreeing to representation.
Verify the Attorney’s Background
Start compiling a list of possible attorneys who may represent your case. Look online at their websites and try to glean as much information as you can about a firm before scheduling a consultation. Most personal injury firms offer free case evaluations to potential clients, but they have no obligation to do so, and some firms may require small fees for initial consults. Check the attorneys’ listed qualifications on the website and search online for official records to verify their claims. Also, search for the local bar association and other legal resources to ensure a potential lawyer has not been professionally disciplined or sued for legal malpractice.
Look for Recommendations and Endorsements
If you are wary of firm websites and marketed ads for attorneys, you may want to check the local bar association to look up an attorney who might be well-suited to your case. A representative of the bar association could recommend an attorney who has extensive experience with your type of case. Another great method for finding the right personal injury attorney is to ask friends, families, and coworkers about lawyers they have worked with in the past. If your family member had a similar legal issue and a good experience with a particular attorney, you may want to add that attorney to the top of your list of potential legal representatives.
Prepare for a Consult
If you decide to take advantage of a free consultation offer or book an appointment for an initial case review with a local firm, make sure you prepare. Bring all the documents, evidence, and other materials related to your case but also prepare a list of questions for the attorney. Ask several questions to gauge the attorney’s level of experience and confidence in your claim.
- How long have you practiced this type of law?
- How many cases similar to mine have you won?
- Do you think I have a strong case?
- How do you bill your time?
- What type of damages do you think I could secure from winning my case?
These are just a few examples. Be sure to take time to come up with several more questions specific to your case or questions that pertain to aspects of your case that remain unclear to you.
Meeting a Potential Lawyer in California
Once you narrow down your list of possible attorneys and attend a few consults, you should have the information you need to choose the best attorney for your claim. Ultimately, choose an attorney who makes you feel confident about your claim. If the attorney seems to brush aside your concerns or seems too eager to take your case without getting the full story, these should be red flags that the attorney may not have your best interests in mind.
Finally, consider an attorney’s billing practices before agreeing to representation. The complexity of a case and the time required to see it to completion are two of the most important factors in determining the cost of legal fees. If an attorney uses a traditional hourly billing structure on a relatively low-value claim that still demands a fair amount of time and attention to resolve, the client’s legal fees could possibly exceed the client’s recovery amount.
Many personal injury attorneys offer contingency fee billing, which can be very advantageous for clients facing substantial claims or those who have limited resources. Ultimately, taking time to find the right personal injury attorney not only increases a client’s chances of winning a recovery but also often leads to more recovery than a client could have managed on his or her own.