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Choosing Your Lawyer

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the finer points of your case, you’re ready to select a lawyer. This can be intimidating, of course, because you want to be sure you end up with the right representation to help you make the most of your case. By following the steps below, you’ll be able to narrow the field and select the perfect person for you.

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Find Someone Local

There are numerous business to choosing a local attorney to work with. One of the most obvious is that their office will be nearby and they will therefore be more accessible to you throughout your case. But this is far from the most important benefit. Much more valuable is the fact that a local attorney spends all of his or her time working within the local court system. They know the principal players, such as defense attorneys and judges, from years of experience. They know how to work with the existing system to help you get what you need. By choosing a local attorney, in other words, you’re selecting a person familiar with the local court system, and that gives you a great advantage going in.

Ask the Right Questions

At your first meeting with a potential attorney, you have the opportunity to ask all the questions you want. Come prepared for this. Here are a few of the questions you should ask:

  • Have you tried a case like mine before? As stated previously, it’s vital to have an attorney at your back who is familiar with not only your case, but the way cases like yours tend to play out. Ask for examples of similar cases in their history. More on this later.

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  • Have you tried a case like mine before? As stated previously, it’s vital to have an attorney at your back who is familiar with not only your case, but the way cases like yours tend to play out. Ask for examples of similar cases in their history. More on this later.
  • Will you be handling my case? You don’t want to develop strong trust with someone and discover too late that they’re planning to pass your case to a junior partner. Make sure you know who you’ll be working with.
  • What is your fee? Specifically, you want to know if the attorney will be working on a contingency fee, and how much that fee will be—between 33 and 40% is normal, but you can also try to negotiate.

  • When will we go to trial? You should know going in what the approximate timeline of your case looks like, although of course your attorney will not be able to give you an exact trial date at this stage. Remember that you want someone who will take the time to do the job right, not someone who will simply rush you in front of a judge. If your aim is to try and negotiate a settlement with the defendant, you and your attorney should discuss that too.

  • Can you assist with getting me medical treatment?  A good trial attorney should be able to get you the best medical treatment after your injury.  Doctor opinions will drive the value of the case and your ultimate goal should be getting better.  Only go with a trial attorney that understands your medical needs and can address them.

Look for Reviews

Don’t just take your attorney’s word for it that they’re the best choice for you. If they’ve been successful in the past, they will have satisfied clients who can attest to that fact. Check their website for a section featuring testimonials. You should be looking for two things—overall client satisfaction and satisfied clients in cases similar to your own.

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If you’re not able to find any testimonials on the website, ask your attorney directly to provide them. If none are available, that’s a red flag.

Independent Research

Independent research is especially valuable when you’re working with somebody local, because there’s always the possibility someone you know has worked with that person before. Ask around. Put the word out to friends, family, and colleagues that you’re hiring a personal injury attorney. Maybe someone you know can recommend an attorney who helped them get a big settlement or provided a quality personal touch. Or, on the flipside, maybe someone you know has had a bad experience with a local attorney and can warn you away. Take advantage of all potential information sources—the last thing you want is to find out too late. After all, you only have one chance to try your case.

Look at Similar Cases

We’ve discussed at some length how important it is to ensure that the attorney you hire is familiar with cases like yours. But how can you be sure you’re satisfied with their history and that they have enough experience to provide you confidence? The answer is to look at their history of verdicts. If the case went to trial, this is a matter of public record, so you can access the information. Many attorneys will also provide a record of their verdicts as a sort of resume for potential new clients. Ask your attorney to show you verdicts similar to your own case, and consider exploring the local law library to find out how cases like yours are generally resolved in your area.