If you have suffered a serious personal injury, the attorney you hire may make the difference between hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars. Most attorneys want to handle personal injury cases because the right case can be very lucrative. But, without the proper background and experience, the attorney may find they are quickly in over their head. They may either try and bluff their way through or bring in an attorney qualified to handle the matter to assist. The problem here is that if your case gets off on the wrong start, it may be difficult or even impossible to turn it around. Much of the groundwork for a personal injury case is laid in the first few months. So, you should find the best attorney for your particular case right from the get-go. Here are the Top 5 things to look for when hiring a personal injury lawyer.
People choose an attorney for many reasons; and they aren’t always the best reasons. For example, the attorney is close to their home; they have used the attorney before for a real estate purchase, divorce or some other legal matter; they are friends with the attorney or they have a friend in common. These aren’t good reasons. A lawyer that specifically focuses on personal injury is going to be better equipped to handle your case as opposed to a general practice lawyer or a lawyer that typically practices a different area of law.
If a family member or a friend recommends a lawyer that does focus on personal injury, this can be good insight on the lawyer’s reputation and what to expect should you use him. Online presence is another good way to see a lawyer’s reputation. While not all reviews online are honest or fair, reading a good array of online reviews along with the descriptions can give a really good general idea of an attorney and his/her staff.
Additionally, meeting the attorney and his staff for a free consultation is a good way to use your instincts to determine the lawyer’s reputation and how he conducts himself and the office. The staff should be kind, the office should look presentable and well organized. These kind of clues reflect the firm’s experience in handling cases and getting successful verdicts.
With the ultimate goal being a successful verdict, doing research on past case results of the lawyer is an indicator of his or her effectiveness. Some firms showcase their case results on their websites, while others may share with you at a consultation. There are a number of types of personal injury cases, with varying procedures depending on the circumstance and the type of injury. For example, a construction site accident case differs from a motor vehicle accident case. Therefore, it is good to know that the attorney has successful experiences handling a matter similar to yours.
The lawyer you hire should be local. Especially for personal injury claims, it’s best that the lawyer knows the laws of the areas you live in and are familiar with the location where the injury occurred. It should also be convenient for you to go to their office for consultations.
Additionally, some law firms are so big, and handle so many cases, that you might not get the personal attention that you would expect from someone handling your case while you recover from an injury. This is not ideal, because your attorney is not easily accessible.
A good personal injury lawyer should come across as someone who you feel comfortable with representing you. Being a good communicator with you is an indicator they can effectively represent you in court. The staff also should give you a good impression should you go to a consultation. A well communicating staff won’t keep you in the dark concerning the steps and the status of your case. They should be with you from the start all the way to the case’s resolution.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.