Whenever involved in a situation where you are injured because of the actions of someone else, it is very important to find the very best personal injury attorney. This might be the difference between having the finances needed to successfully recover and having to deal with the repercussions of what happened for a very long time.
What you should always remember is that insurance companies can so easily hire very skilled lawyers who would protect their best interests. Hiring professionals like Cellino Law to stay in your corner means you would have protection against those shady practices of the insurance companies. The skills and experience of the attorney you hire will become pivotal when it comes to how much compensation you are going to receive.
We should understand that most people injured have no idea how to find the best person to represent them when dealing with the insurance companies and when going to trial. As a result, it is quite common to see people choosing injury attorneys by simply looking at ads. This can be the worst mistake you ever make.
To make the best choice, you need to go through a good research process. There will be several lawyers you could consider in your community. Choosing the one you meet with is only the first step to take. After, you need to know how to discuss your case and actually make the final choice about who you will hire.
Here are some of the most important things you want to consider so you could choose the very best personal injury lawyers to represent you.
Use Sources That Offer Ratings for Personal Injury Attorneys
One of the simplest and fastest things you could do to locate really good personal injury attorneys is to take advantage of resources where lawyers are rated. This is especially useful if the reviews are left by other lawyers.
While there is no official system used to rate personal injury lawyers, what other professionals say about the work they do can be very useful to figure out who is good and who is not. Some options you could check out are:
- Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry – The website presents reviews written by other lawyers for over 1 million specialists. Short biographies are also presented and we are talking about a resource that is trusted in the world of law. If you use the site, look for the “AV” rating since it means the law firm or the lawyer has very high integrity, experience, expertise, and professional excellence.
- Best Lawyers In America – These are also lawyers selected by peers in 57 categories, which do include medical malpractice and personal injury.
- Superlawyers – This annual list presents the most outstanding lawyers in seventy practice areas. Only those who are the very best, the top 5% in every single state will be presented here.
Learn How Many Cases Are Referrals Coming from Other Attorneys
Another great way to find the best personal injury attorneys where you live is to discuss it with the other top lawyers. This is why it is such a good idea to find those lawyers who are highly recommended by other specialists, as we already highlighted.
In every single profession or field, professionals already involved in the industry stand out as the best ones to make recommendations. This is why when you already worked with an attorney, you can always ask them if they are aware of a very good professional injury attorney that can be recommended. Although the attorney you initially talk to does not practice injury law, there is a good possibility they have some colleagues who do.
The idea here is to learn about how many of the cases handled by the considered personal injury attorney were contracted thanks to a referral from other lawyers. This is practically proof that the one you consider is regarded as being a very good professional by their peers.
Stay Away from Lawyers Sending Solicitation Letters
There is, unfortunately, a growing number of lawyers practicing personal injury law who hire people to gain access to traffic accident reports. Then, they send solicitation letters to victims. In the letters, they say that the law firm is ready to give them free legal representation to win an injury settlement. One accident victim can easily receive dozens of such letters from different law firms. In fact, some lawyers send a solicitation letter to every single accident victim in the state. And there is a good possibility they will send more letters after the initial one. Some even have staff members call victims to ask if the solicitation letter was received.
The big problem with these law firms is that they always operate on a very bad system. Simply put, they handle a high volume of cases and want a fast turnover. It is very difficult for such a firm to attract some referrals coming from other lawyers or even from satisfied clients. That is actually why they send out so many solicitation letters.
When you choose your injury attorney from a solicitation letter, you most likely do not conduct a good research. This means you are setting yourself up for failure.
Fortunately, in many US states, rules do exist that stop the lawyers from sending these solicitation letters. However, this is not the case in all. As a result, you might receive these letters after you are involved in an accident. Do not respond to them and if the attorneys get pushy, report them.
Only Choose Personal Injury Attorneys Who Offer Free Consultations
The standard in the industry is to offer a free initial consultation. This is because personal injury cases can be very complex and there is a need to first determine if a case exists or not. As a result, the injury attorneys who are professionals always offer the same things, like:
- A free initial consultation
- Zero payments when the case is not successful
- The lawyer comes to your hospital or home to talk to you
Whenever you discuss your case with a personal injury attorney who wants to be paid to consult you, it is a clear red flag you need to find someone else. Since the lawyer does not respect industry standards, they cannot be trusted.
Carefully Review Contingency Fee Agreement
Almost all personal injury attorneys will use the contingency fee system. This means you do not have to pay attorney fees until the recovery is successful. Usually, the attorney receives a percentage of the final amount recovered. Obviously, you want to review how much you will pay but there is one extra thing you have to be particularly careful with, case expenses.
Different law firms will handle these case expenses in different ways. Typically, with a car accident, if the settlement is under $100,000, case expenses usually sum up to under $5,000. With serious cases, like medical malpractice, litigation expenses will sometimes even go higher than $50,000. The ongoing litigation expenses will be handled in different ways and you need to know exactly what that means. Some of the common options are:
- The client pays a part of litigation expenses or all as the case starts or does so at an ongoing rate. This is not preferred since the victim can end up faced with serious financial issues.
- The lawyer pays case expenses as they are needed. Then, if the recovery is successful, how much the attorney paid is taken out of the final recovered amount. Basically, this is preferred and the personal injury attorney will receive a percentage of that amount as his fee and the extra they paid for case expenses.
You obviously need to discuss with the personal injury attorney what happens if the case is lost. The best law firms out there will not ask clients to pay anything if the case is lost. This includes case expenses. However, some other attorneys will ask for a reimbursement for the case expenses if the case ends up being lost.
Learn About the Personal Injury Attorney’s Staffing and Financial Resources
A lawsuit can be quite expensive to handle and take to court. This is especially the case when looking at those involving catastrophic or serious injuries. As a very simple example, regular medical malpractice cases often involve several medical specialties. For every single one, there is a need to talk to at least one expert witness. Also, with truck accident cases, you need the help of trucking safety experts and reconstruction experts.
Basically, if there is any possibility that the case is going to become expensive to handle, it is vital to choose a personal injury attorney who has the necessary staffing and financial resources to help you. If the attorney or the law firm cannot pay the thousands of dollars needed during the case building and trial phases, problems will appear. For instance, the attorney might cut some legal corners or you might be pressured so that you agree to a settlement that is much lower than it should be.
A great way to figure out if the attorney has the resources needed to help you is to take a look at the office and how many staff members exist. And you can always directly ask questions about this topic since the attorney has to answer in a legit way.
Analyze the Attorney’s Past Cases
Generally speaking, the personal injury attorneys who have been handling such cases for a long time are much better than others. This is why it is paramount to learn as much as you can about the experience of the considered lawyer.
Experience is directly connected to how much you are going to receive thanks to the skills of the attorney. So, generally speaking, it is a good idea to hire the most experienced attorney you can find. However, there are situations in which you can forgo this assessment. As an example, when the case is simple and not many complications can appear, you can hire personal injury attorneys with a lower experience if they agree to receive a lower percentage of the final recovered amount. The highly experienced personal injury attorneys will always charge more.
Learn About Lawyer Trial Experience
There is this general belief that personal injury cases always end up in trial. In reality, only a few do. As a result, there are several personal injury attorneys who never actually argued a case in court for their clients. You need to know if the attorney handled cases like yours in court in the past or not. Not asking this question can lead to serious problems if the case gets complicated and needs to go to trial.
Another thing you should know is that those personal injury lawyers without trial experience can actually hurt your case. For instance, if the insurance adjuster knows that your attorney lacks trial experience, they will try to push lower settlements as they are aware of the fact your legal representation has this problem. When you hire a lawyer who does not have problems going to court and was successful in the past, insurance companies automatically offer more in their settlements. Basically, the adjuster has to be convinced that if a deal is not reached, the case will go to trial. If your attorney always settles, you lose money without even being aware of it.
Trust Your Instincts
The last thing to understand about hiring a personal injury attorney is that you hire someone who will have a huge impact on how much money you are going to receive. At the end of the day, you want to get as much as possible and this is impossible if you do not trust your attorney.
During your free initial consultation and as you research information about the considered attorney, there might be some red flags that appear. If they are not too serious, you can discuss them with the attorney. If they are, you should instantly look for someone else. Trusting your instincts is one of the best ways to assess whether or not you will have a good relationship with the lawyer or not, which will influence your case, especially if it is a long and serious one.