Choosing an attorney for your case can be a difficult task. Here are a few basic steps to follow and questions to ask to find an attorney who is right for you:
1. You should look for an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases.
If you were charged with a crime, you wouldn’t want to hire someone who doesn’t specialize in criminal defense, such as a real estate lawyer, to represent you. Likewise, if you have an injury case, you shouldn’t want a lawyer who specializes in an unrelated area of law to represent you. An attorney who specializes in your particular type of case is likely going to have a better understanding of how to properly handle it, which will allow you to get a better result. For example, my practice is devoted to representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases because I have extensive experience in this area and have an in-depth understanding of how to handle these types of cases. As a result, when someone calls me about a problem in a different area of law, like a divorce or a criminal matter, I refer those people out to attorneys who specialize in those types of cases.
2. Ask any lawyers you are considering if they have handled a case like yours before.
For example, a personal injury attorney who only has experience with car wrecks may not be the best qualified to handle a case involving a defective product or medical malpractice. I have extensive experience in a variety of personal injury areas, including car and trucking accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, and premises liability. However, some personal injury attorneys do not have such a diverse background and may have never handled a complex case involving medical malpractice or a defective product.
3. What kinds of results has the lawyer obtained?
Results are not only a good indication of whether a lawyer has been successful, but they can also be a good indication of the types of cases a lawyer has handled. For example, a lawyer who can only claim small results either has not handled big cases or has not been successful doing so. If you have a significant case with large damages, you should hire a lawyer who has a track record of obtaining large results.
4. Will the lawyer return your calls?
One of the most frequent complaints that clients have is that their lawyers don’t return their calls. Try your best to find out if the lawyer will return your calls because communication between the lawyer and client is vital to the success of your case. A word of caution is order about the personal injury firms that advertise a lot on the radio and TV. Many of those firms utilize paralegals and legal assistants to handle many aspects of their clients’ cases. The end result is that the case does not get a lot of attention from a lawyer. This means that when you call the firm, you will likely have a difficult time actually speaking to a real lawyer, or if you do speak to one he or she will not be as familiar with your case. I have a boutique practice and give individual attention to each of my clients’ cases and am always accessible.
5. Is the lawyer willing to go to court?
While most cases settle, your lawyer must be willing to file a lawsuit and go to trial if necessary. You would be surprised how many lawyers do not even want to file a lawsuit, much less go to trial. A lawyer who is not willing and able to take your case to court will not get you the best possible result. I routinely file lawsuits and am willing to go as far as necessary to get my client the best possible result, even if it means taking the case to trial.
6. Last but not least, are you comfortable entrusting the lawyer with your case?
Your case is very important. You should make sure that you trust and have confidence in the lawyer who is going to be responsible for handling something that is so important.