Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have a complicated or very serious personal injury case it may be wise to contact a personal injury attorney. Someone who is specialised in personal injury cases will be able to give you the best educated advice. However, it is important you choose a lawyer with lots of necessary experience and who you can trust.
In this article we will discuss the best ways to find a good personal injury lawyer and ensure they are the best option for you and your case.
Get as many referrals as possible the more the better. Once you have some referrals check them out before you pick one. To do this it is a good idea to meet each of them individually. Be prepared for some lawyers to refuse to work on your case. Some lawyers won’t take cases on if they believe they will not receive enough of a pay-out.
Ask people you already know and trust
The best places to get referrals from are friends and acquaintances who have been represented already by a personal injury lawyer. These are people you already trust and will have no obligation to the lawyer.
Still always ensure you meet any lawyer who you might wish to represent you before you decide. You need to be able to get on and work with this person and it will only make the case more stressful if you clash.
If you know another reputable lawyer who normally specialises in another field it is likely they will know if a good personal injury attorney. It is common practise for lawyers to refer cases to one another.
The same goes if another lawyer refers a personal injury attorney to you – always check them out yourself first. They may be the best personal injury lawyer in the world but if you can’t work with each other it will make the case harder than it needs to be.
A lot of local bar associations do referral services, a list of lawyers and their specialities. If you choose an attorney through a referral service, always ask about the requirements for lawyers who are on the list. There is a huge range of standards in the lawyers on these lists.
Some bar associations’ list lawyers which have certain qualifications and a certain amount of experience. Others will list any attorney in good standing with the state bar who maintains liability insurance.
Follow this link for the New York State Bar Association lawyer referral service http://www.nysba.org/lawyerreferral/.
The first meeting
When you have some options lined up it is important to meet with them all before making your decision. Most attorneys won’t charge for this initial meeting but check before you turn up just to be sure. If a lawyer tries to charge you just for an initial meeting to decide if they want to take your case, take your business elsewhere.
Take any relevant documentation for your case to your first meeting including medical documents, police reports, bills, correspondence with insurance company etc. These will give the attorney a good picture of the whole case.
There will also be things you need to find out from your potential lawyer. Here is are some important things you may want to find out during your initial interview:-
- How long the lawyer has been practising for
- The amount of personal injury cases the lawyer generally deals with compared to other types of cases
- Whether the lawyer usually represents defendants or plaintiffs. This is important as they are completely different and require different ways of thinking and working
- If the lawyer you are meeting will be working on the case or passing it on to another possibly less experienced lawyer in the office. If there will be more than one lawyer working on the case ask to meet them too
When you have gone through the details of your case, the lawyer should be able to estimate how much your case is worth and how difficult the case could be. Following this you will need to tell the lawyer how to go about getting you the money. For example:-
- A settlement with as few costs and as little hassle as possible
- A higher amount than the insurance company offered as soon as possible
- As much as possible, no matter how long it takes