There are a lot of personal injury attorneys out there to choose from. How do you know you went with the right one? Below is a simple guide for choosing the right personal injury attorney. Above all else, make sure that you get along with your attorney, they have the experience and knowledge necessary to handle your case, and they will work their hardest to ensure a favorable outcome.
What Type Of Injury Claim Do You Need Help With?
Personal injury encompasses a wide range of accidents and incidents, and not all attorneys have experience handling all of these types of claims. For example, one law firm may be adept at all types of traffic collisions (car crashes, bike crashes, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian injuries, etc.), but have zero experience assisting clients with medical malpractice claims, which are another type of personal injury claim.
Communicating With the Client
One of the most important things to look for in an attorney is their ability to communicate with you, the client. If an attorney seldomly calls or emails their clients with updates, if it takes more than a few days for them to respond to questions, or if they regularly go months without informing the client about their case, chances of a successful outcome are slim. You may win a settlement, but it will be less than what it could have been because the attorney probably had more on their plate than they should have, which is the reason for the lack of response to their client’s inquiries.
Additionally, it is your right to know what is going on with your claim. Your attorney should have enough compassion and understanding of the situation you are in and care enough to answer your calls and emails and to spend the necessary time addressing your concerns and explaining what the next step will be.
Work With An Attorney Who Has A Clean Record
There are a lot of attorneys out there that barely scraped their way through law school, or—even worse—have committed questionable acts throughout their years of practice. In California, there were over 17,000 open cases of license fraud against California attorneys and non-attorneys, 180 disciplinary charges, 97 recommendations of suspension, and 600 open cases of unauthorized practice of law. All of these were found in 2020 alone. The California Bar administers the state’s disciplinary system, and the record is public. You can conduct your own search of an attorney’s disciplinary history here.
What Type of Resources Does the Attorney Have?
Your goal is to win as large a settlement or lawsuit verdict as possible. Not all law firms have the ability to do this. While you might reach a reasonable settlement by going with Lawyer A, you could have won a much larger amount by going with Lawyer B. Of course, the difficult part is determining which law firm is more capable, better staffed, and better connected within its field of practice. This can be difficult, especially if you do not have any past experience with attorneys and the lawyer in question was not recommended by a friend or family member.
To start out, consider the law firm’s size, the number of years they have been around, the individual experience of the attorney you will be working with, and the professional connections that the law firm has: doctors, expert witnesses, law enforcement, private investigators, etc. Large firms are not necessarily better than small legal practices, especially if the firm had dozens of offices and spends millions on advertising because that type of marketing price tag will inevitably come out of your pocket.
How Are Fees Paid?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. They do not get paid unless you win your case. In this scenario, the attorney would likely take one-third (33%) of the award. As such, if you win your case for $100,000, the attorney’s fee would be $33,333. If it cannot be settled out of court and it goes to trial, the fee usually increases to 40 percent. But in addition to this normal cut, there are other expenses related to personal injury claims that you should be aware of. These include court filing fees, administrative expenses, and information gathering expenses including expert witness fees. You should discuss with the attorney how these will be paid.
Read Client Reviews
According to various studies, 94% of diners are influenced by online reviews, and 97% of people claim to read reviews about local businesses before making purchasing decisions, according to Small Business Trends. If you would not eat at a restaurant with bad reviews, why would you hire an attorney to handle something much more important than how your steak is cooked? Read an attorney’s client reviews to get a sense of how their cases turned out and whether or not the attorney had good communication with the client.
Find Out if Your Attorney Has Won Cases In The Courtroom
Less than 10 percent of personal injury cases go to court. Typically, it is in neither party’s interest to drag the matter into the courtroom. It is more expensive for the at-fault party’s insurance company, and it is more time-intensive, stressful, and emotionally taxing for the plaintiff. But sometimes arguing your case before a judge is necessary if the other party refuses to budge, or if you and your attorney feel that a much higher amount can be won in court than settling. As such, it is vital that your attorney has real courtroom experience.
For one thing, if your attorney, deep down, knows that he or she will fare poorly in court, they have less bargaining room to reach a higher settlement. Secondly, if your case does go to trial, there is no room for error. You could end up losing it all if your attorney is unprepared or inexperienced in the courtroom. Make sure that your personal injury attorney has a good track record of winning cases in court.
Contact A Glendale Personal Injury Attorney At Ourfalian & Ourfalian
No matter how much online sleuthing you do, you cannot judge an attorney’s character or experience without meeting them. Choose an attorney who truly cares about you. Contact the Glendale personal injury attorney at Ourfalian & Ourfalian today at (818) 550-7777 to schedule a free consultation.