There are so many personal injury law firms. It can be overwhelming to choose the right one for you. Some have many billboards or commercials with their faces and where to call. Some have a big presence online. Others don’t advertise at all, but have a loyal clientele. You have likely encountered many different personal injury lawyers, but here is how to know which firm is for you.
To find the best attorney you need to know what you are looking for. Then you can use your many resources to find different firms. Once you have a list of firms, limit down your options. Call and meet with your potential attorneys. In each of these phases there are specific things to look for in order to select the best firm for you.
Know your needs
The best way to select a personal injury law firm is doing a bit of research. Before even looking for firms, know what you need. Did you get into a big car accident? Are you looking to sue for medical malpractice? Were you injured because of an unsafe work environment?
Where are you located? Personal injury law firms should be located near you. This helps all parties stay in contact. But most importantly, legal firms should understand the specific laws of your state. Some personal injury laws can change depending on your location, so it is best to choose a firm in your geographic area.
Most personal injury firms will have experience with trials and negotiations. They should also understand medical injuries and negligence laws. Know what your specific needs are, so you can look for firms with experience in your case.
Personal injury law firms are different than other firms because they are always specialized. If you know what you need, you can find a law firm that has experience in that field.
Research your options
Once you know what you need, start looking for firms. You can find plenty of personal injury law firms searching online, or asking friends and colleagues. If someone you know had a good experience with a firm, ask for a reference. Keep in mind your personal needs and a few other factors listed here. This will help narrow your search.
Specialization: Personal injury firms specialize in what kinds of cases they defend. Check what the firms experience is in dealing with your kind of case. See what kinds of cases the firm is known for. A firm with lots of experience in your particular case will have the best chance of winning your case.
Personal injury law firms also either specialize in defending the person injured, or the company or person that did the injuring. Make sure you are looking for firms that defend people who have been injured.
Professional Experience: Similar to specialization, check out what kind of experience and how much experience a firm has in handling your type of case.
The best personal injury law firm for you should have lots of experience providing legal services, and specifically working cases similar to yours. Look at how long they have been in the business, and look through some of the cases they have worked on.
Personal injury cases often go to court, so look for firms that have experience defending in the courtroom.
Part of experience also means a track record of successful cases. With more experience, a firm is more likely to be able to win cases. Attorneys at well established firms are likely to have experience navigating traps and loopholes in the law. They will be best equipped to guide you through the process as well.
Approval Rating: Use the internet to find ratings of law firms. Look at the reviews previous clients have made about a firm or their attorneys either on their professional website or on other platforms. High approval ratings are a good indicator that the firm has a good reputation with the people they work for.
If you are looking into a firm based on a personal recommendation, your contact probably has a high approval of the firm. Either way ask them specifically what they like about the firm, so you have a clearer idea of what kind of a firm they are.
Personal Background: It can be helpful to understand the history of the law firm an the attorneys who work there. If a firm was established with a mission and values that align with yours, this is a good sign. Most firms will describe their main values online or in person. Pay attention to what their priorities are. It is important to explore several firms so that you can put a firm’s a values into context.
Part of a firm’s personal back is the education and credentials of their attorneys. Lawyers and attorneys do not need formal credentials to be able to represent you in court. However, it is best to have an attorney who has studied law. Pay attention to which credentials an attorney has before deciding if you want them representing you. Some reliable credentials include a bachelor’s degree, or a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited university.
References: References are important indicators of how an attorney is viewed within their own community of professionals. Attorneys will either provide formal references, or they will share associations they belong to. Individual references are useful in understanding an attorneys politics or personal history. Looking into the associations a firm is part of helps assure they are well-respected and well-established in their field.
Meeting with a Firm
Once you have decided on a firm you want to work with, you will need to contact them. When reaching out, here are some details to pay attention to in making sure they will be the best firm for you.
Accessibility: Attorneys can get very busy working on cases, so your initial contact might be through an assistant. You should be able to ask them most questions you need to know before working with an attorney. However, it is standard procedure to meet with your attorney at least once in person before working with them. Respected attorneys will not charge for the first consultation. You should ask how accessible your attorney will be during the case itself, or if you will be mostly in contact with one of their assistants.
Part of accessibility also includes geography. Where is the firm located? Are they located near you? Will you be able to visit the main office when necessary.
Because of the nature of personal injury cases, you may need to consider your physical ability to access a firm. If you are unable to move, where will you meet your attorney? Different forms of access are important to consider.
Trust your Feelings: One of the most important factors when meeting with a firm is how you feel. You should be able to trust your personal injury firm completely. You should feel comfortable talking with your attorney about your case. You should feel they will prioritize your case, and that you are not being judged in any way. Most importantly, you must feel you can personally trust the lawyer working your case.
Ask the Right Questions: Meeting with a personal injury law firm for the first time is not the time to be shy! Ask a lot of questions. By asking questions will know exactly what kind of a firm you’re working with. This will make it easier to trust them as well!
Some important topics to ask about include:
- specialization of cases
- experience in court
- success rate
- how long the process will take
This is also your chance to ask any other questions you may feel are important to you.