When you’ve been injured in an accident, the last thing you want to worry about is who is going to help you get the compensation you deserve. However, you need to know how to choose the right personal injury attorneys for your case so that you are represented appropriately through the entire negotiation process.
How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Attorneys for Your Case
Ask Friends and Family Members for a Referral
You probably know someone who has had to file a personal injury claim in the past and used an attorney to help them do it. This is a great place to start your search for the right personal injury lawyers to handle your case. Of course, not every injury case is the same, so their attorney may not end up being the right one for you, but you will at least be able to interview them to find out.
Additionally, even if your friend’s attorney isn’t the right one for you, they’ll be able to give you referrals to other injury attorneys who may be able to handle your case in the right way. This is an excellent way to have several attorneys to choose from, especially if you are starting from square one. It’s a good idea to contact your friends and family members first before attempting to find a personal injury lawyer another way.
Ask Other Lawyers
Even if you haven’t had any experience with a personal injury lawyer, you may have needed a lawyer for another situation. Of course, not every lawyer is experienced in the realm of personal injury, so rather than asking this person to represent you, ask them for referrals to other attorneys who do have experience with personal injury claims. Lawyers often know the big names in the major legal fields, so they can often point you in the right direction.
Lawyers are used to referring clients to other attorneys, and in fact, it’s the ethical thing to do if they don’t have experience in a particular field. Neither you nor your attorney wants to handle a case they’re not familiar with, even if you’re well-acquainted with each other. You want to be working with an attorney with experience in handling accident cases, and the lawyer doesn’t want to taint their reputation by taking on something they’re not experienced enough to handle.
Use a Directory
The Internet allows you to search for a lawyer through various directories that organize their listings by field of expertise. This method will provide you with a long list of attorneys that could potentially handle your case. Unfortunately, a directory may not provide you with any additional information about the attorneys other than the field in which they practice. This means you’ll have to meet with several of them that you choose randomly before making your decision.
Some directories include user reviews and ratings as well as contact information for the lawyers who advertise through them. Take the time to look through these reviews to see if you can find any that reference a case that is similar to yours. This will help you narrow your choices down before scheduling your meetings. Ratings can also help you determine which lawyers are considered the best in their field according to clients like you.
Contact a Referral Service
Another way to get some names of attorneys who can handle personal injury cases is to contact the referral service for your local bar association. You won’t receive any kind of reviews or ratings through this method, but if you don’t have any other way to get some names of lawyers who have experience in the personal injury field, this is a good place to start. You’ll have to meet them in person before making a decision, though.
The First Meeting
Once you select several attorneys through the above-mentioned methods, you’ll need to prepare for the initial consultation with them. This is where you’ll really get to know if the personal injury attorney is the right one to handle your case. There are several steps you should take to make sure you don’t forget to bring anything up when you’re interviewing your potential lawyers.
Step 1: Write Down a List of Questions
The best way to compare attorneys is to ask them all the same set of questions. This will allow you to eliminate the attorneys who don’t answer them the way you want them to. Some potential questions include the following.
- How much experience does the attorney have in the personal injury field?
- What percentage of the attorney’s practice is made up of personal injury cases?
- Has the attorney ever handled a case similar to yours?
- If so, what was the outcome (settlement or trial award)?
- Will the attorney handle your case personally or will they hand it off to other attorneys or paralegals?
- Does the attorney have previous experience with the insurance companies in your case?
- What is the average compensation the attorney negotiates for personal injury clients?
- How often will the attorney communicate with you about your case?
- What is the attorney’s fee arrangement?
Step 2: Record Your Statement
Before you meet with any personal injury attorneys, make sure you write down your statement of the accident. The prospective attorneys will want to know exactly what happened so they can decide whether or not you have a case or whether they are the right attorneys to handle your case. Having your statement written down will ensure you don’t miss any details that could help your case and will help save time during the initial meeting.
Step 3: Get a Copy of the Police Report
Hopefully, you did file a police report when the accident happened. This is important because it’s an official record of the event and contains information such as witness names, the sequence of events, a description of the events from a third party, and possibly a judgment on liability. If you didn’t file a police report, it makes things more difficult, but not impossible. Try to get written statements from any witnesses to the accident to bring instead.
Step 4: Gather Medical Records and Bills
If possible, obtain your medical records from any providers who have treated you in relation to the accident. If you can’t get these, your attorney will get them for you when you hire them, but it’s helpful to have these at the initial meeting. Bring any medical bills you have received for treatments related to your injuries from the accident so the attorneys can get an idea of the amounts you’re incurring.
Step 5: Gather Your Pay Stubs
Your attorney is also going to want to have information about the amount of income you’ve lost due to the accident. This is going to help them determine what a fair settlement amount may be. You should provide pay stubs from before the accident and from after the accident, especially if you are on reduced duty or hours because of your injuries. If you have yet to return to work, provide documentation of the days you’ve missed.
Step 6: Consider Your Goal
When you come in for your initial consultation, you should have an idea of the goals you have in terms of a settlement. For example, do you want to settle as soon as possible by taking whatever amount the insurance company offers? Or, do you want your attorneys to negotiate a settlement that falls between two amounts? Or, do you want to obtain as much as possible no matter how long it takes? These goals will help shape your attorney’s strategy.
Choosing the right personal injury lawyers to handle your case is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Contact Yonke Law LLC today to learn how we can help you get the settlement you deserve.