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How to Pick a Personal Injury Lawyer Choosing the right lawyer can make an immense difference in the result of your personal injury claim, which makes picking out the right lawyer a vital decision. Majority of lawyers who concentrate on personal injury law represent only one side of these cases – either the plaintiff (the injured person) or the defendant (the person entity that allegedly caused the injury). Word of mouth and personal recommendations are often the best place to start searching for a lawyer. Web resources are also a good starting point for creating an initial list of candidates to consider. Whittling It Down Regardless of where you found your prospects, you’ll want to trim down that list to three or four using the following criteria:
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> Biographical Information – Learn about the lawyer’s background. Does it seem like he has expertise in your type of personal injury claim? His profile should give you a picture of the nature of cases he usually handles (and which side). If it seems hard to tell, you can always call the office and ask. Check for other information that you can in these lawyers’ websites. The more you know about them, the better.
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> Professional Associations – Determine whether the lawyer is part of any national, state or local trial lawyers’ associations. > Location – If you have a working relationship with a lawyer whose practice is based in another area, ask for names of some good local prospects. > Professional Standing – Get in touch with your state bar association or check out their website to see if the lawyer you are eyeing is in good standing. Conflicts of Interest Does the lawyer represent anybody who might be affiliated with any of the parties you are planning to sue, or anybody who may have an interest in the result of the case? After you’ve narrowed down your list of prospects, inquire about an initial consultation . There’s no need to strike a lawyer off your list if he can’t meet you on short notice. Remember, if a personal injury lawyer is busy, he must be good. Money Issues Most personal injury claim scenarios allow you to hire an attorney on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that the lawyer will be get a portion of any court award or settlement you receive – typically around a third – and if you don’t receive anything, neither does your lawyer does get paid legal fees. In any case, you have to read the contract before signing it, and understand that you may still have to pay for costs associated with your case (which are separate from legal fees), like expert witness fees, court stenographer fees, etc.