If you’ve been in an accident in which you weren’t at fault, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to financial compensation. However, you will need legal help to navigate the court system if you want to go down this route.
Most people don’t have experience hiring a lawyer outside of business and family law issues, and therefore don’t know how to find a personal injury lawyer. If you’re searching for someone to represent you, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Go Hyper Specialized
Personal injury is a broad, complex category of law. Common types of personal injury cases lawyers encounter include medical malpractice, vehicular accidents, animal bites, workplace accidents, and more. Given this wide variety, you should ideally find a lawyer specializing in the type of personal injury you suffered.
If you’ve been in a car accident, seek out lawyers and law firms specializing in vehicular accidents. If you’ve been injured because you were sold and used a defective product, a specialist in product liability will be able to help you best. By opting for someone who has experience in the exact type of personal injury you suffered, you increase your chances of getting an advantageous result in court, as your lawyer will be prepared for anything they might encounter during the case.
Listen to Word of Mouth
Do you know someone else who has been in the same situation that you were in and won their personal injury lawsuit? Consult them about which lawyer they hired to represent them and whether they would recommend that lawyer to you.
If you have friends who are lawyers in other areas of the law, they may be able to direct you to an experienced law firm. Alternatively, look at legal papers and journals – if a law firm has been featured in Los Angeles daily journal, they are likely skilled at winning cases and should be someone you approach. Additionally, you can also check the public record for successful personal injury cases similar to yours and reach out to the lawyers featured in them. Since you have confirmed they have a winning record, you can have confidence that you’re approaching the right person.
Consider Your Budget
Hiring a lawyer costs money. However, all law firms do not cost the same. Some firms may charge a flat rate, while others charge an hourly rate. Additionally, some firms may charge a contingency fee instead of asking for payment upfront. This means that you only have to pay your lawyer if your case is successful.
If you choose to opt for a lawyer who charges a contingency fee, they will take a percentage of your final settlement. This percentage is usually 33-40%, though you may be able to negotiate this rate lower. This choice is a great option for people who are on a limited budget and cannot afford an upfront payment to their lawyer.
Additionally, check to see who is expected to bear the additional costs and expenses of your case. Expenses include sourcing medical records and police reports, paying for expert witnesses, and more. Usually, lawyers will be willing to pay for these fees and then deduct them from your share of the final settlement. However, some lawyers may require you to pay for them as and when they arise, and you will have to consider whether or not you can afford to do so.
Finally, speak to your lawyer about fees to be paid should you decide to fire them before the case’s conclusion. Sometimes, you may not be satisfied with your lawyer even after doing the legwork before making a hire, or you may feel they are not doing enough to help you win in court.
In such a situation, you may choose to move on from your lawyer. However, you will have to settle the fees you have already incurred for their services, including any fees and expenses. Make sure you know what you will need to pay if you do terminate your lawyer and take that into account when making a hire.
Don’t be afraid to shop around – you don’t have to commit to the first lawyer you meet. If you have the time and ability, it’s recommended that you speak to at least three attorneys before making a final decision.
Looking around will allow you to feel fully confident when you do make a hire. Additionally, by consulting with a lawyer before hiring them, you can get an idea of what working with them long-term will be like. You can determine whether your personalities mesh and if you can get along with them.
Choosing the perfect personal injury lawyer can feel intimidating, especially given everything that is contingent on your lawsuit. However, these tips should make finding a lawyer much easier, so you can get started on your case as soon as possible.