Imagine, like millions of people over the course of a year, you’ve just been involved in a car accident. You’ve slipped and fallen. Workplace negligence has led you you crush your hand…
In all of those situations, you’ve been left hampered, both physically and mentally, through no fault of your own. What should you do next?
For many, next steps mean contacting a personal injury lawyer, and frankly, we couldn’t agree more with that move.
A quality accident lawyer can take the pressure of a lengthy legal process off your shoulders. They can also improve your case outcomes substantially which can mean the difference between you having the money you need to support your lifestyle or having to make serious compromises.
If you believe in the efficacy of lawyers but aren’t sure how to hire them, keep reading to take in our complete hiring guide.
Understand the Need for Expediency
Before we dive into the steps you should take when hiring a personal injury lawyer, we want to impress upon you the need for expediency.
Every moment you’re managing your injury case without legal help, you’re opening yourself up to mistakes. Evidence pertaining to your case is also getting cold which could hurt a lawyer’s ability to assist you should you choose to bring one on later.
All of that to say that the best time to hire a personal injury legal representative to manage your case was yesterday. Now is a close second.
Prioritize Getting Medical Care
Some things in life are more important than settlements. Your health is one of those things.
Before you start hopping on phones with lawyers, get to safety and seek primary medical care. Only when you’re stable should you start on your legal search.
Start Seeking Referrals
With your primary health needs managed and expediency on your mind, your first formal step to hiring a personal injury lawyer is pulling in referrals. There are several places where legal referrals exist.
Here are the places we recommend you start your search:
Friends and Family
A trusted referral is the best kind of referral and who is more worth trusting than the people you love?
If you have a friend or a family member that has had to engage legal services in the past, we recommend asking them if they can give you the name of the professional they used. So long as that professional manages personal injury cases, they’re worth putting on your shortlist of potential lawyers.
If you don’t have friends or family members that can push you towards legal leads, take to the internet. As we’re sure you know, there are several review websites online that you can explore consumer feedback on.
When it comes to assessing legal team’s feedback, we like using Google and Yelp as our primary review platforms. As a rule of thumb, look for firms that have 10 reviews or more, one review from the last 3 months, and a 4-star review average or higher.
Some areas have community organizations that advocate on behalf of accident victims. Many of these groups are oriented towards workplace accidents but may be able to help you outside of that context.
Engage with these groups to see if they have legal professionals they recommend. Finding professionals through community referral networks could lead to better terms when you go to hire the attorney you were pointed to.
Your City Hall could also be a treasure trove of information when you’re seeking a personal injury lawyer. Talk to whoever is in charge of business affairs and ask if they’re aware of any lawyers.
They’ll almost certainly have a name or two to share.
With your shortlist of referrals in hand, your next order of business will be to separate the good from the bad. You’ve likely done some of this via assessing your lead’s online reputation.
In this step, you’ll take things a step further by considering the following:
How Long Has the Firm Been in Business?
The longer your personal injury lawyer has been practicing personal injury law, the better they’ll be able to manage your case. This isn’t always true but from a rule of thumb perspective, experience means excellence.
Prioritize the law firms you have noted that have the most experience managing cases like yours and filter out firms that are just starting out if you can afford to.
What Is Their Track Record?
As you assess lawyer’s reviews and dig deeper by pushing into their websites, can you discern how many cases they’ve fought successfully? Some legal teams will post their win-rate on their website. Others won’t.
The ones that do tend to have more to brag about than lawyers that are coy when it comes to flaunting their success so consider that when you’re deciding which attorneys might be worth contacting.
What Forms of Injury Do They Specialize In?
Specialty is one of the most important factors you’ll want to consider when you’re engaging a prospective attorney. After all, if you’re trying to win a car accident case, do you want an attorney whose caseload is 98% dog bites?
If possible, always prioritize an accident lawyer that makes their living winning cases that are just like yours. Finding an attorney like that isn’t always possible depending on your market but if they’re available, move them to the front of the line.
It’s time for all of your vetting work to pay off! With your lawyer list culled, pick up the phone and start meeting with legal professionals.
As you speak with prospects, consider:
How easy was it to get on a lawyer’s calendar? How much time were they able to give you on the call? Did they push you off to a paralegal?
All of these questions will give you a sense of how vested your lawyer will be in your case if you choose to hire them.
Obviously, you want to hire a lawyer that’s as capable of investing as much time in your case as possible.
Receptiveness to Questions
You should come to your legal meeting armed with as many questions as possible. Your lawyer should be ready to answer those questions as openly and as honestly as they can.
If you’re feeling like your lawyer is falling short when it comes to openness and honesty, find another lawyer.
Communication is meaningful when you’re weighing legal options. A lawyer that’s not making you feel heard or feels like they’re short when speaking to you is not somebody you want to hitch your legal wagon to.
The best lawyer in the world that you can’t afford isn’t a lawyer that’s worth wasting time considering. The good news with a personal injury lawyer is that most work on contingency. That means they’ll only get paid from the proceeds they’re able to make you.
How much they’ll charge you on what they earn will vary. In some cases, they’ll charge 33% while another lawyer might charge as much as 40%.
Get a sense of what the lawyers in your market are charging based on your calls and give an extra edge to those that seem less vested in taking away your accident earnings.
You’re going to be spending a lot of time working with your personal injury lawyer. As you speak with them during your initial meeting, do they strike you as the kind of person you’d want to work with day in, day out?
If they do, that’s great news! Hire that lawyer confidently. If a lawyer doesn’t seem like someone you’d feel comfortable working with long-term, move on.
While comfort might not seem like something important at the moment, as cases drag on, that sense of comradeship you’ll hopefully have with your attorney will go a long way.
Pull the Trigger and Get Protected by a Personal Injury Lawyer
We’ve just walked you through several factors that can help you find the perfect personal injury lawyer, fast. Our final bit of advice to you is to stop reading and start doing if you’ve been the victim of an accident.
As we mentioned at the top of this guide, expediency means something when lawyer shopping. Make that expediency a priority and get the legal help you need, now.
Still feeling fuzzy on sourcing an injury attorney? While you’re thinking it over, we invite you to explore more of the insightful content we have available on our blog!