Nobody ever wants to find themselves in a situation where they need to hire a personal injury lawyer. However, life happens – and it often happens very fast. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of an injury situation that requires legal intervention, it’s imperative that you find the best attorney for the job. The question is, where do you start?
How to Find a Good Personal Injury Lawyer
Just like there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there’s more than one way to find a good personal injury lawyer. Here are the most common options:
- Your personal network. Start by gathering referrals from your own personal network. Talk with friends, family members, coworkers, and even neighbors. Rack your brain and try to come up with someone who has been through a similar situation in the past. (For example, if you’ve been injured in a car accident, think about someone you know who has also been injured in a car accident.)
- Other lawyers. You might not know a personal injury attorney, but do you know any attorneys? (Business attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, real estate attorneys, etc.) Lawyers know other lawyers. Even if it’s not their area of expertise, they can typically get you in touch with someone who is a respected personal injury attorney.
- Google. Don’t underestimate the power of running a Google search to find a good attorney in your area. For example, if you search for Tampa personal injury lawyers, you’ll likely find Matthews Injury Law. Law firms that rank well typically have a solid reputation and clout –though, be sure to read reviews.
- Referral services. There are a variety of lawyer referral services available online. (Most local bar associations have one.) While these definitely aren’t the first place to look for an attorney, they can be useful for gathering a few initial names.
Generally speaking, you’re going to have better results finding an attorney via one of these avenues than simply calling the phone number you see on the loudest TV commercial or bus stop ad. Your patience will pay off.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
Even if you get a referral from a trusted friend, it’s important that you do your due diligence and evaluate each and every option that comes across your desk. Here are some specific factors to pay attention to:
- Experience. You don’t want an attorney who is fresh off passing the Bar Exam and just learning the ropes. You need an attorney who is skilled, experienced, and has an established track record.
- Specialty. Not all personal injury attorneys are created equal. While they should all be capable of handling your case, you want someone who is specialized in your area. For example, if a truck hit you while you were walking on the sidewalk, you want an attorney who has handled lots of trucking accidents and pedestrian injury cases.
- Results. It’s one thing to take on a bunch of cases. It’s another thing to actually win those cases and get large payouts for clients. Ask an attorney about their past results (including cases they’ve lost – if they’ll share). An attorney can talk a big game, but if the results don’t back them up, this is a concern.
- Reputation. Attorneys and legal professionals are part of a tight-knit community in your area. If a lawyer has a good reputation, it’s something they’ve earned. If you’ve done a good job of tapping your personal network and researching different options online, you should end up with an attorney who has a pretty solid reputation.
Not all personal injury lawyers are created equal. Pay attention to each of these factors as you try to get a comprehensive understanding of each attorney’s “profile.”
Making the Right Choice
Take your time when hiring a personal injury lawyer. This is not a decision that you can afford to rush. The attorney you choose will have a direct impact on the direction of your case (and the size of your claim. Once you whittle your list down to two or three options, set up an initial consultation with each and discuss your case. This will help you get a feel for how they’ll handle your case.