If you’ve experienced a serious personal injury that required medical treatment or time missed off work, and/or caused substantial pain, suffering or life-altering outcomes, you might be in search of a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for your case. Knowing how to find the right personal injury attorney is crucial to a successful claim and ensuring that you get the most for your damages. Choosing a lawyer you’re comfortable with – in terms of both work experience and personality – is so important, not just for the outcome of your case, but for your well-being throughout the claims process.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, avoid getting overwhelmed or delaying finding an attorney. The statute of limitations sets a time limit on how long you have to file a claim, so use these tips to get started on a personal injury lawyer search.
Ask for Personal Injury Attorney Referrals
Contacting attorneys whom your friends and family trust is a great place to start. You’ll want to make sure any referred lawyers practice in the state where your personal injury occurred. Even if no one close to you knows a personal injury lawyer, many lawyers belong to professional organizations and have wide networks of other lawyer professionals, and they may be able to refer you to a personal injury lawyer who can help.
You can also ask your employer for referrals, since some employers may offer discounted legal services through an employee assistance program.
Some personal injury lawsuits may last several months to several years, depending on the severity of a case. You may be working closely with your lawyer for an extended period of time, so you want to make sure you’ve consulted with several candidates so that you can feel confident in your choice. If you’ve only received one or two solid referrals, you might consider perusing the American Bar Association’s lawyer referral directory for guidance for more candidates.
Make Sure Experience Matches Up with Your Case
Not all personal injury cases produce the same experience. Responsible personal injury lawyers will be willing to answer any questions you have for them. Don’t be afraid to make good use of interviewing them. Ask potential attorneys questions like:
- How long have you been practicing in personal injury cases?
- Do you work more with plaintiffs or defendants?
- What is your winning percentage for cases like mine?
- What certifications or education do you have that relates to my case?
- How open will communication be throughout my case?
You should also ask potential personal injury attorneys if anyone else would be working on your case besides that individual. You should be comfortable with the size of the team that would be working on your case and with the experience of every person handling it. Some law firms may pass on details of your claim to interns or junior attorneys. Sometimes, working with a larger firm is a benefit because there will likely be more resources available to designate to your case. Be sure to ask about the personal involvement of whomever you’re interviewing to make sure you’re comfortable.
Personal injury lawyers should offer up a free consultation, since they should only want to take on cases they think they can win. After a call with the law firm that you feel comfortable with, ask to meet in person. A lawyer’s personality should put you at ease. You need to feel relaxed enough to be completely open and honest about the details of your case with your personal injury lawyer.
Visiting the law office also helps you realize if you’ll be comfortable with possibly driving to the location frequently, as well as if you feel secure with the office environment and culture at the firm. A face-to-face meeting helps secure your confidence more than just a phone call can.
Consider Trial Experience
You should hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience bringing cases to trial, because some claims may require being handled in court. Ask about trial experience as you’re vetting candidates. You want to hire a lawyer who is prepared to fight for you in front of a judge it that is needed.
Compare Settlement Estimations and Fees
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t get paid unless you do and will typically take a percentage of the settlement as their payment. Ask personal injury lawyers you’re interviewing what type of settlement they estimate they can achieve, and then determine a fee you can expect to pay based on the percentage they charge.
Settlement estimations may also be based on the possible lengths of the case, depending on how quickly you want to settle or how much you want to get. Keep in mind there are never guarantees, and estimates can be large ranges. That’s why other factors like comfort and success record should be taken into account.
To get the most accurate information, the more details you can provide potential attorneys about your case, the better. These include:
- Medical documentation
- Documentation of the scene of the accident and witness statements
- Arrest records or police reports
- Professional opinions you’ve gathered
What you will end up paying shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor when considering personal injury attorneys. Whether or not they can win is more important. If your lawyer doesn’t win, you’ll end up with nothing and may have spent a lot of time on your case.
Get Second Opinions from Former Clients
When you’ve narrowed down your search to personal injury lawyer candidates you think might be a fit for your case, ask the lawyer if they’d be able to connect you with former clients so you can talk to them, too. This is common, and many personal injury lawyers will be happy to connect you. This way, you can ask more questions about what to expect from the process and what working with the lawyer was like, so you can feel completely confident with your choice.
Need Help with a Personal Injury?
If you’ve experienced a personal injury and are looking for an Alabama or Birmingham personal injury attorney, the team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums is here to help. You can call (866) 722-0250 or text (205) 900-4188 to set up a free consultation. We pride ourselves on providing honest and open feedback to potential clients and work with those we strongly feel we can achieve justice for. Contact us online for more information.