It is difficult to find the best personal injury attorney for your case. There are so many injury lawyers out there. Which one is the best one for you?
You don’t want to waste time hiring an injury lawyer because you could lose out on important benefits.
This article will help you avoid analysis paralysis and find the best attorney for your case.
1. Know what you want out of your personal injury attorney.
When seeking a personal injury attorney, communication is crucial. The most frequent area of dissatisfaction among clients and attorneys alike is communication. Your goal is to find an injury lawyer who values open dialogue. Open communication is key in ensuring your case succeeds.
Texting has made communicating with your lawyer instantaneous. You can send your lawyer property damage photos, medical bills, and get case updates. But not all lawyers text with their clients. Ask lawyers you are considering hiring if they are comfortable texting with clients.
Some lawyers avoid speaking with clients. Some lawyers hide behind an army of paralegals and legal assistants. Before you sign a contract, make sure you have direct access to the managing partner. If the law firm can’t promise you a direct line to the managing attorney, you may not get the service you want.
Bigger is not always better.
When searching for the right personal injury attorney, caseload is an important factor. It is possible for a single attorney to handle hundreds of cases. It is not possible to handle hundreds of cases well. A smaller law firm may have a lighter caseload and provide more attention to its clients.
A personal injury lawyer’s pedigree is not the only factor you should consider. But a lawyer’s education and experience can both determine how well they handle your case. There are 196 law schools in the United States. Law schools are competitive and the best schools only admit the best students. Look at a lawyer’s education and experience before you hire them.
2. Know the specific type of personal injury attorney you need.
Every personal injury situation is unique and each case is different. Not every personal injury lawyer has experience handling trucking cases. Not all injury attorneys have handled negligent security cases. Most have handled car accident cases.
To leverage the most out of a personal injury lawyer, look for one who has experience with cases like yours. Start your search as narrow as possible. For example, if you slipped and fell at a grocery store, look for an attorney who has sued that store in the past.
3. Interview several personal injury lawyers: ask them these questions…
Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. Many find it helpful to speak with several lawyers before making their decision. Take advantage and get some free advice. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is a big decision. Don’t feel bad about interviewing several.
The free consultation is a time to gather information about your case. It is also a time to interview the attorney. Ask questions that will give you the best idea of whether your case will get priority.
- How many cases do you currently have on hand?
- Where exactly are they located (not just advertised)?
- Do they offer in-person meetings?
- Do they text message with clients?
- Have you handled cases like mine in the past?
- What kind of results can I expect?
Ask about their plan of action and get an idea of how they will handle your specific case.
You should ask what is the lawyer’s average case settlement value. Their biggest verdict or settlement or total revenue since opening up doesn’t matter. Most cases are average. The lawyer’s average settlement value across all settled cases is the best measure of a lawyer’s skill. That said, good luck getting a lawyer to tell you their true average settlement number.
4. Discuss fee percentages before you sign up.
The Florida Bar caps personal injury fees at 33.33% of any recovery before filing a lawsuit and 40% of any recovery after a lawsuit is filed.
Although the Bar caps the fees, there is no rule whatsoever that says attorneys can’t charge you less than 33.33%.
For many lawyers, the fee percentage may be negotiable.
While I don’t recommend low balling every lawyer until you find one to take your case for the lowest percentage, I do recommend that you ask for a reduction in the fee percentage before you sign the fee agreement.
If your case is relatively simple, like a rear-end car accident, then you are justified in requesting a small reduction because there are likely few issues regarding liability.
However, if your case is more complex, you are less justified in requesting a fee reduction.
5. Remember: you have the right to a lawyer of your choice.
In many jurisdictions, you may be able to cancel a fee agreement that you signed within a short period of time. In Florida, it is three days.
After the first three days, you can still change your lawyer.
However, your lawyer may want to get paid for some of the work he or she has done.
You pay for their services, no matter how brief, when your case settles.
You will still need to pay your new attorney too.
However, many lawyers who you hire will pay the fees incurred by your previous lawyer out of his or her percentage share of the recovery.
It is important to ask a new lawyer that you hire how he or she plans on splitting the bill with your prior attorney.
I hope these tips helped and that you feel more confident about hiring a personal injury attorney. Remember, this is an important decision so take your time, do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family. The most important thing is that you find someone who you are comfortable with and who will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.