Finding an attorney is as easy as a few clicks on your phone, thanks to the internet. All you need to do is run a quick Google search for “personal injury lawyer near me,” and within a few seconds, you’ll have a list longer than you can manage.
Of course, that’s where it gets difficult. With so many options, how can you choose the best personal injury lawyer?
Next time you find yourself sifting through a gargantuan list of attorneys, try implementing a few of these tips to quickly narrow down the winners.
Depending on the size of your case, the size of the law firm may matter. If you’re going up against a big corporation, you may want the resources and power of a large law firm to help you win your case.
A bigger law firm will most likely require higher fees, so be sure to ask about the average cost of a case relevant to your own to avoid going over budget.
Understand How Attorney Fees Work
There are different types of attorney fees that you should know about before finding a personal injury lawyer. Let’s look at the types of fees you may come across when consulting with an attorney.
A flat charge covers your case from start to finish, no matter how many hours it takes. Lawyers often charge a flat fee for bankruptcy and divorce cases or document drafting.
Lawyers that charge a contingency fee don’t expect any payment unless their client recovers financial losses in court.
Some attorneys charge an hourly rate which is later billed to the client based on how many hours were spent working on a case. Often times, attorneys charge an hourly rate when working with large corporations or businesses during litigation.
A success fee is a partial contingency fee, part hourly rate. This fee is dependent on how successful the lawyer is.
Usually, the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) will set an amount that should be recovered that the lawyer is expected to recover in court.
If the lawyer succeeds in recovering the set amount, the plaintiff will pay a bonus to the firm. If the lawyer doesn’t recover the set amount, the plaintiff will only pay the billed hourly rate.
A percentage fee is often part of a large case, where a lawyer takes a percentage of the final amount recovered from the case.
Fee Tip: Always get your fee agreement in writing to avoid conflict later on.
There are other fees that you may be required to pay for that are also important to understand and know about upfront:
- Printing and copying charges
- Filing fees
- Long-distance call fees
- Postage or overnight delivery fees for your documents/evidence
- Any fees related to a court reporter or witnesses
- Travel and transportation expenses
Check with the American Bar Association
The most reputable place to check for an attorney in your state is most likely the American Bar Association. On their website, you can easily drop down under each state to search for lawyers.
This service can help you navigate trusted and certified lawyers without all the hassle of digging through endless Google searches. The site also has resources for you to better understand personal injury law if you need more information before going to court.
Choose a Few Options & Research
Before you pick up the phone and call an attorney, take the time to look through a handful of websites before you make a decision. If there is more than one attorney at the firm you are considering, be sure to look at each lawyer’s education and background.
At least 3-5 years in personal injury work is ideal. You’ll also need to ensure that the attorney you choose can practice law within your area.
If you’re unsure or want more information on how an attorney works, you can look for them on other online channels like social media to help you better understand the way the tick before inquiring about their services.
Call and Consult with Lawyers
Before you decide to go with one lawyer, you should spend some time calling and asking questions about the law firm and your case. Things like success rate, hourly rates, and expectations for your case, if it is time-sensitive, are important to ask ahead of time.
Asking questions should help you downsize your list and allow you to set up consultations with the attorneys you are most interested in working with.
Set Up Consultations
Set up consultations with your attorney allows you to meet face to face. You may be expected to pay a consultation fee at your meeting, so be sure to ask before you schedule a consultation with a handful of attorneys.
Any other questions you may have can be answered during your consultations. Feel free to take notes so you can compare the pros and cons of each lawyer before you make a final decision.
Here are some questions you can ask if you’re not sure what to expect when talking to a potential lawyer:
- Who is your typical client?
- Do you have any other certifications or specialties that could help with my case?
- Do I have any other options before we decide to go to court?
- How do you bill your clients?
- Will anyone else be handling portions of my case? (If paralegals or assistants are helping, you may be able to get a billing reduction)
Review Your Notes
Always review your notes to compare the demeanor, pricing, and availability of each attorney you interviewed. You should always take into consideration the way your attorney treats you during your consultation to help you understand how they will treat you later on during your case.
Decide on a Personal Injury Attorney
These tips will help you choose a personal injury attorney with ease. Understanding how attorneys work, how much they charge, and how they treat their clients will help you find the best lawyer for your case.