Top Things to Look for When Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer

by mollyp on February 4, 2013

Automobile accidents, dog bites, construction accidents, and other types of injuries can leave innocent people with severe injuries. The resultant medical bills and physical pain can negatively affect one’s quality of life; if the injury was significant, it may impair the injured party’s ability to perform work. If the injury was incurred as a result of another person’s negligence, seeking compensation through the courts may be necessary.

Most attorneys, from West Palm Beach personal injury attorney to New York injury claims lawyer, will agree that finding the right legal representation can mean the difference between a judgment awarding damages and a dismissal at the initial stages of a trial. Locating and retaining the right lawyer is not always simple. Fortunately, clients can look for certain qualities to help them determine which legal representative will best serve their interests.

1. Quality References

References from other people are a positive indicator of an attorney’s ability to produce results for clients. Professional references from other attorneys are the best type. Many attorneys will make agreements with other attorneys who specialize in other fields to refer clients to them if approached by a client with a legal problem that requires an attorney with expertise in that area. Most attorneys are unwilling to stake their professional reputations on unproven or incompetent colleagues; hence, they will only provide their clients with quality leads on other attorneys. Personal references from other clients can also be a positive indicator of an attorney’s success. You can also check online review sites for attorney profiles and ratings.

2. Experience

Experience is important in selecting an attorney. Experienced personal injury attorneys understand how to achieve favorable settlements, how to present their client to juries and the court, and how situations are likely to resolve. Also make sure your representation is experienced in handling the specific type of case you are involved in; an automobile accident and a slip and fall case are very different.

3. A Reasonable Caseload

Clients want attorneys who will represent their interests and obtain the maximum possible award or settlement. To do so, attorneys must be available to the client 24-7. If an attorney is too busy servicing other clients, the attorney will be unable to handle the new client’s case. A busy and unethical attorney may agree to take a client’s case in the hopes of getting a quick settlement, but be unable to pursue a clients’ case if the defendant is not prepared to settle. This can leave the client in a very poor position at a crucial time. Finding an attorney with a low or moderate caseload is a positive indicator that the attorney is at least capable of representing the client’s interests.

4. Quality Communication Skills

The ideal personal injury attorney will keep you updated on the progress of your case and provide sound legal advice when contacted. The attorney should be capable of understanding and addressing the client’s concerns at all stages. If an attorney cannot adequately explain important concepts and the litigation process to you or if the attorney is unusually difficult to contact, clients should immediately consider seeking alter representation. An attorney like this may not have your best interest at heart and could cost you a victory in the courtroom.

5. Reasonable Rates

This is an often overlooked part of selecting an attorney. Personal injury attorneys may be compensated either by the hour or on a contingency basis. Even if the lawyer collects a percentage of the award, they may still expect the client to advance certain costs or pay them as they are incurred. Only some attorneys will personally float these costs and recover them from the award or settlement. If a plaintiff lacks the resources to pay exorbitant legal fees, they should research legal aide in the area and lawyers who do pro bone work. Before hiring an attorney, determine when the attorney expects the client to pay for discovery costs and filing fees.

Retaining a quality personal injury attorney is no guarantee of success. Outcomes in personal injury cases are subject to the whims of the presiding judge and often the willingness of defendants to settle. However, a qualified attorney can help the plaintiff avoid the most common pitfalls and represent the plaintiff’s interests in demand letters, the pleading, settlement conferences, and court litigation. Finding such an attorney may require a little bit of web and word of mouth research and multiple consultations, but the effort will be reflected in your results

Writer Molly Pearce is also a free-lance artist and activist, particularly concerned with human rights. West Palm Beach personal injury attorney firm, Steinger, Iscoe, & Green is a legal team composed of 26 lawyers and 120 support staff members with extensive litigation experience in a variety of personal injury case types. A proven track record can give peace of mind in an injury case and this team has won millions for it’s clients in settlements and verdicts.


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