We’ve put together nine tips for choosing a personal injury lawyer. They’ll help you understand what to look for so that your search is made a little easier.
1. Look at Their Experience: Settlements, Verdicts, and Trial
In personal injury law, there is no substitute for experience. The first thing you want to look at is how many years the attorney has spent in the practice of law.
While most personal injury claims are resolved through private settlement agreements (meaning they never go to trial), it’s still important to hire an attorney with significant hands-on experience in the courtroom.
There is always the possibility that your claim could end up in court, after all. Even if it doesn’t, the insurance company may be willing to negotiate more reasonably if it believes your claim could be a threat to them in court.
In other words, the insurance company will likely be looking into your lawyer’s experience, so you should too.
It’s also a good idea to ask the law firm about their recent outcomes, including both settlements and verdicts. While the lawyer may not be able to share specific details about past cases, you should still be able to get a strong sense of their track record.
2. Consider Their Area of Focus
One of the best tips for choosing a personal injury lawyer is to look for an attorney who handles a lot of cases similar to yours.
If you have a medical malpractice claim, for example, it might not make sense to hire a lawyer who focuses on bicycle injury claims or commercial real estate disputes.
While it isn’t uncommon for personal injury lawyers to handle multiple kinds of accident claims, you should check to make sure they do have significant experience with the type of claim you’ll be hiring them for.
3. Read Their Website… What Do They Emphasize?
Look for law firms that emphasize you, the client.
While attorney websites will naturally need to tell you a little about the attorney, their experience, and their record of success, you may want to look for law firms that position themselves as client-oriented.
You’ll be working with your lawyer and their office extensively. Look for a law firm that values your time, your experience, and the impact that their services will have on your life.
4. Make Sure They Offer Contingency Fee Arrangements
In a contingency fee arrangement, you don’t have to pay the lawyer for their services unless and until he or she succeeds in getting you money. If the lawyer doesn’t succeed, you don’t have to pay anything at all. If you do get money, the lawyer’s total fee will be only a percentage of your recovery.
Contingency fee arrangements make it possible for personal injury victims to fight for justice without upfront financial barriers standing in the way. They make it so that you as the client have nothing to lose. The risk of loss is all on the law firm.
While contingency fees aren’t always available in every area of law, they are standard practice in personal injury cases. If you’ve been the victim of an auto accident or personal injury, look for a lawyer who will take your case on a contingency basis.
5. Consider Their Affiliations, Associations, Memberships, and Awards
While credentials like these can only tell you so much about an attorney, we think they can speak to not only experience but also an attorney’s willingness to stay plugged into the community they serve.
At O’Connor and Partners, for example, we offer a list of bar admissions, published works, professional associations and memberships, volunteer work, prior employment, educational institutions, and other honors on each attorney’s biography page.
6. Look for References and Testimonials
References and reviews can give you an objective sense of what it’s like to work with a given lawyer.
Don’t feel shy about asking for testimonials. It’s one of the best tips for choosing a personal injury lawyer because it lets you hear from someone other than the lawyers themselves.
7. Schedule a Free Meeting with the Attorney
The right personal injury lawyer will offer a confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultation. This is your chance to meet with the attorney one-on-one, get a sense of who they are, and ask the questions you need answered.
Think of it as your opportunity to “interview” the lawyer before making a hiring decision.
8. Ask the Right Questions
Don’t hold back. Walk into your initial consultation ready to ask questions. Your claim is important, and the outcome is at stake. Questions to ask include:
- What is your communication policy? Will you answer my phone calls and emails?
- Will I be able to talk with you directly, or will I mostly be dealing with secretaries, assistants, and paralegals?
- Do you try cases in court? How often? When was the last time?
- What types of financial recoveries have you achieved for clients in the past?
- How frequently do you handle cases like mine?
- What is your experience with taking on large and powerful insurance companies?
- How strongly do you feel about my claim?
9. Choose Someone You Believe In
We began our “Tips for Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer” by saying that there’s no substitute for experience. We’d like to close by saying that there’s no substitute for passion either. Having checked off all the other boxes, at the end of the day, go with your gut.
- Does your attorney believe in you?
- Will he or she fight for you?
- Do you detect passion in their spirit?
- Do you believe they care about what happens with your claim?
These are the questions that can guide you to the right decision.
Free & Confidential Consultation with Our Kingston Personal Injury Lawyers
O’Connor and Partners is a personal injury law firm based in Kingston, NY and providing legal services throughout the entire state, including in: Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Ellenville, the Hudson Valley, New York City, and beyond.
We fight hard to maximize compensation for the clients we represent.
We are proud to offer confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultations to injured people and their families throughout the state of New York. If you choose to hire us after your consultation, we will not charge you a fee unless we get you money first.