If you have been injured in an accident, your choice of a personal lawyer is paramount. Not all personal injury lawyers are created equal, and a bad choice could cost you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how serious your injury is. Here are some tips on how to choose a personal injury lawyer:
- Make sure you hire someone who has a background in personal injury law. By hiring a specialist, you will improve your chance of winning compensation substantially.
- Hire a personal injury lawyer who is willing to accept your case on a contingency fee basis (the lawyer does not get paid unless and until you receive money) and advance all of the expenses involved in your case up front. Depending on the seriousness of your injury, these costs can range from a few hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars or more. The court filing fees, deposition costs, expenses for medical records, and fees for expert reports and testimony can add up quickly. A personal injury lawyer who refuses to make such an investment in your case is either not a very good lawyer or doesn’t believe enough in your case.
- During your initial consultation (which should be free), your personal injury attorney will listen to the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident. Do not be afraid to ask questions. You want to know everything there is to know about the process, including an approximate timeline, and how much the lawyer feels your case is worth. While the lawyer will not have a crystal ball, a good personal injury lawyer will not be afraid to give you a tentative time line and ballpark figures.
- Try and hire someone who can work with you as soon as possible. If you want to make a personal injury claim, you’ll want to get it done quickly, especially if money is an issue. Someone who will do the job swiftly and thoroughly is ideal, especially if you have medical bills piling up and a low income on which to survive.
- Look for the lawyer’s qualifications, and see if they’re genuine. A good lawyer will always have the relevant qualifications and credentials, as this will distinguish them from some of the more dubious legal professionals operating.
- Determine whether you can get along with the lawyer before hiring him or her. Trust your instincts on this one. Only a very small percentage of cases go to court. Most are settled through negotiations. A friendly and good negotiator is a huge asset in a lawyer. If you get along with the lawyer, most likely, others will too.