Updated: August 31, 2016. If you’ve been involved in an accident and have sustained an injury, you need a personal injury lawyer. Are you wondering how to find a personal injury lawyer? Wrong question. You should be asking how to find the best personal injury attorney for your case. You’re in luck: this article teaches you to find the best personal injury attorney in 3 easy to follow steps! Before getting to that, let’s talk about why it’s so important to find the best personal injury lawyer. If want to learn how to find a personal injury lawyer, this page is for you!
Importance of Choosing the Best Personal Injury Lawyer
Picking the right personal injury lawyer is absolutely critical. Let’s take a case that’s worth on average $100,000. That means an average lawyer would obtain a $100,000 settlement. A really good lawyer could probably get upwards of $150,000. A below-average lawyer would probably only get $75,000.
Think about that. A really good personal injury lawyer could DOUBLE YOUR SETTLEMENT compared to a below-average lawyer. That’s why choosing the right personal injury attorney is the most important decision you’ll make after being injured in an accident.
But how do you know who’s good and who’s not? Follow these three easy steps to find the best personal injury attorney for your case.
Step 1: Start Finding Personal Injury Lawyers Near You
The goal of this step is to come up with a list of about 10-15 good personal injury lawyers or law firms that specialize in personal injury cases that are located in your area.
To do this, I recommend starting with Google. Search for “personal injury lawyer” or “personal injury attorney”. You’ll get both organic results (non-paid) and paid results (i.e. advertising). You can use either to make your list. Just make sure that they have an office located near your.
Google is the best place to start because its expensive for a personal injury lawyer to show up in the top 10 search results or to place ads on Google. The fact that a personal injury lawyer is on the first page of Google results or can afford Google ads means they have a large marketing budget. For this step, a personal injury attorney with a large marketing budget is the kind of personal injury lawyer we’re looking for.
Large budgets means that the personal injury lawyer is making money, which means he or she is winning cases. That’s what we want.
Want to get moving on finding injury lawyers? Feel free to start searching using the Google Custom Search Box below. I recommend you get as specific as possible. This will help narrow the results. For example: “mesothelioma attorney near me”, “personal injury lawyer Los Angeles”, “slip and fall attorney Riverside”, or “how to find a personal injury lawyer“, etc.
What about asking for a referrals?
If you’re looking for a good personal injury lawyer, the advice most people give is to ask around for a referral. However, this is not a reliable method for finding injury lawyers who are the best for your case. Here’s why referrals aren’t a reliable way of finding injury lawyers:
First, people can only refer you to a personal injury lawyer they know or have heard of. Remember though, our goal here is to find the best personal injury lawyer, not just any old personal injury lawyer or even a good personal injury attorney. What are the chances the person you’re asking for the referral knows or has heard of the best personal injury lawyer in your area? Probably not that good. You might get lucky. But the likelihood is that the referral you receive is going to be an average to below-average personal injury lawyer.
Second, you can’t trust when someone says something like “Attorney Joe got my neighbor a $200,000 settlement, he must be a good personal injury lawyer.” Was $200,000 actually a good outcome? Maybe the case was really worth $500,000 but Attorney Joe missed a deadline and was forced to recommend settlement for much lower. Who knows? That’s why you can’t trust referrals from people, or even other lawyers. Most of the time, they just don’t know.
There is one exception, however. I would trust a referral from a lawyer who specializes in personal injury defense. These attorneys spend their careers defending insurance companies and corporations against lawsuits. They know exactly who the best personal injury lawyers in your area are. And they can also tell you who to stay away from. So, if a close friend practices personal injury defense, go ahead and trust their referral.
Otherwise, collect 10-15 personal injury lawyer names from Google and move to Step 2 of how to find a personal injury lawyer.
Step 2: Courtroom Success of Personal Injury Lawyers
In Step 1, we used Google for finding injury lawyers and identified 10-15 of the best personal injury lawyer and firms in your area. Remember, because we used Google, this list is roughly a list of financially successful personal injury lawyers in your area.
Step 2 is about finding out which ones are successful in the Courtroom. Being a profitable law firm doesn’t necessarily mean that a personal injury lawyer is good in the courtroom. Some financially successful firms are run like mills. They generate great fees for the lawyers but so-so results for the clients. We want to weed these personal injury lawyers out.
We are going to do that by researching our 10-15 names a bit more.
We’ll first find out whether a personal injury lawyers has received any honors or awards for courtroom excellence.
Start with the America College of Trial Attorneys. This organization is by invitation only. The College conducts a lengthy and rigorous investigation of each attorney. If a personal injury lawyer belongs to the College, he or she is an ace in the courtroom.
Then go to the The Litigator Awards, which is run by the Trial Lawyer Board of Regents. These awards go to the personal injury lawyers with largest verdict and settlement achievement. So the personal injury lawyers on this list have handled cases worth multi-million dollar, or more.
After that, head back to Google. Use the Google News search function. Enter the personal injury lawyer name plus terms such as “verdict”, “settlement”, “lawsuit”. Just play around with it a bit. See what you can dig up.
Now rank the personal injury lawyers from Step 1 based on the results of your research from Step 2. You don’t have to rank them in numerical order if that seems too difficult. But you should be able to slit them up into 2-4 groups (Tier 1, Tier 2, etc.).
Okay, so far we’ve used Google for 1) finding injury lawyers and 2) ranking those personal injury lawyers based on results. Now, let’s move on to Step 3.
How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer Step 3: Interviews
Now you’re going to start meeting with each personal injury attorney. Preferable at their office. Most should give you at least a 30 minute no-cost consultation. You do not need to meet with them all. But I would personally meet with at least three. Start with the top of your list.
Make sure that to tell them that you are only interviewing personal injury lawyers at this point and that you do not plan on signing a retainer agreement. A trustworthy personal injury lawyer will understand this and will welcome the opportunity to discuss your case with you.
This step is more art than science. There are many different ways to successfully represent an accident victim. One fantastic personal injury lawyer might represent clients one way, and another might do it completely differently.
Here are some topics you should bring up:
- How many staff members will be working on my case?
- How many attorneys will be working on my case?
- What kinds of cases do you usually handle?
- There are many kinds of personal injury cases — auto accident, slip and fall, dog bite, medical malpractice, sexual abuse, etc. — and most personal injury lawyers end up focusing on just a few. If a personal injury lawyer doesn’t take on many cases of a particular category, he or she won’t have the necessary network of experts and consultants needed to maximize your recovery.
- What percent of your practice is personal injury? (Should be over 75%)
- Will the attorney be available by phone?
With respect to the contingency fee agreement, here are the most important parts:
- What percentage fee will you take?
- Will the percentage be applied to the gross recovery, or the net recovery (after costs)?
- Net recovery is better for you
- Will there be a deposit required for costs? If so, how much?
- Will I be required to reimburse you for costs if there is no recovery?
- The answer should be no.
You might be tempted go for the personal injury lawyer who charges you the least (smallest percentage). But remember, sometimes you get what you pay for. It may be worth it to pay a premium fee to a premium personal injury lawyer.
Good luck! I hope you found this article on how to find a personal injury lawyer useful!!
Use the Google Custom Search Box below to find a personal injury lawyer near you. I recommend you get as specific as possible. This will help narrow the results. For example: “mesothelioma attorney near me”, “personal injury lawyer Los Angeles”, “slip and fall attorney Riverside”, or “how to find a personal injury lawyer“, etc.
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