Checklist for choosing a personal injury lawyer:
How long has the lawyer been practicing primarily in the plaintiff’s personal injury law?
Suggestion: At least 15 years of primary plaintiffs’ personal injury law and very experienced with cases similar to yours.
What is the attorneys or law firms Martindale-Hubbell Rating*?
Suggestion: You want a lawyer or law firm that is rated “A”, “V”.
Does the lawyer or law firm regularly go to trial on their cases?
Suggestion: You want a lawyer or law firm that has a litigation department that is very experienced in trial work and regularly goes to trial on their cases.
Will the lawyer or law firm advance the costs necessary to pursue your case?
Suggestion: You want a lawyer or law firm that will advance the costs and not look to you to repay them if the case is not successful.
Can the lawyer show you testimonials from previous clients?
Suggestion: Ask for testimonials. A healthy list of current testimonials is a sign of satisfied clients and is a good indication that you may be satisfied as well.
How many similar cases has the lawyer successfully handled?
Suggestion: You want a lawyer that has successful experience with your type of case, experience with the type of defendant you are pursuing, experience with the type of law firm that will be handling the defense, and the court that the case my go to trial in if that is necessary.
Will the lawyer provide you a free consultation?
Suggestion: The best lawyers are going to provide a free consultation. The lawyers will not know if they are interested in your case without assessing you and your case. No need to bother with lawyers that do not provide a free consultation.
Do you and the lawyer communicate well? Are your questions answered clearly? Did the lawyer give you practical advice as well as legal advice?
Suggestion: You want a lawyer who answers your questions clearly, provides information, suggestions and insights greater than you asked about and listens to you.
How do you feel about the lawyer?
Suggestion: You want a lawyer you feel comfortable with and that you trust. If you are uncomfortable or do not trust him/her, keep looking.
Does the lawyer appear to care about you and your case?
Suggestion: You want a lawyer who loves representing personal injury clients and winning cases. If you feel confident with the lawyer who scores well on the previous questions, hire him/her.
What to avoid when you need to hire a Personal Injury lawyer
Many people do not know where to find a skilled and qualified attorney who can aggressively represent their case. The following are some common mistakes that people make when choosing a personal injury attorney:
Personal injury lawyer referral from a friend: Your friend probably had a different legal situation compared to yours, requiring different attributes in an attorney, which may not be what you need to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
Finding a personal injury lawyer in the yellow-pages: Yellow pages are impersonal and do not give you the background information that you need to hire a competent personal injury attorney.
Choosing a personal injury attorney because the office is local: Convenience should not be more significant than skill, professionalism, compassion, and the ability to effectively represent your case. You should find an attorney who has all of the qualities that are needed for a successful outcome in your case.
* Martindale-Hubbell has been rating lawyers for over 100 years. It is by far the most widely recognized of all ratings of lawyers. There are two categories of ratings, “Legal Ability Ratings” and “General Ethical Standards Rating”. The “Legal Ability Ratings” are “C” (from Good to High), “B” (from High to Verey High), and “A” (from Very High to Preeminent). The “General Ethical Standards Rating” is: “V” (Very High).
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