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How to choose a lawyer

choose-personal-injury-lawyerIf you have been injured in an auto accident, hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you get the most for your auto insurance claim.

It’s possible to negotiate a personal injury settlement without the help of a personal injury lawyer, but many auto insurance companies will offer lower settlement amounts to persons not working with a personal injury lawyer.

Find a personal injury lawyer

Using our personal injury lawyer directory you can find a number of different personal injury law firms. Each firm is different from another and some may focus on 1 or more different case types.

There’re various types of law firms. From national corporations to a single person operation, each has its pros and cons. Large law firms with many attorneys and hundreds of paralegals and support staff are well established with significant financial backing to help settle your case. Smaller firms with 1 or 2 attorneys can usually provide a more intimate experience where you’re only one of a few select clients that a firm has chosen to work with.

Some personal injury lawyers will not consider taking your case. They may not have sufficient expertise in your specific situation like brain injury or dangerous drug cases, or potential return they may see from winning your case would not be sufficient to cover their cost of working on your case. Never give up though, if one attorney or even several are not willing to take on your case, try speak with others or ask for recommendation. Unless you have no chance of winning your case, you should be able to find a personal injury lawyer.

What to discuss during your initial consultation

The first item on lawyer’s agenda is do to understand specific details that pertain to your situation. Have you been injured, are there medical bills, is there property damage, what is the insurance company involved, a lawyer will need all this information to evaluate if your case is worth pursuing.

Once a lawyer confirms that he or she is willing to take on your case, you can then evaluate the lawyer and his or her law firm. By this time you should understand how quickly they return calls, how friendly or aggressive they are, and whether they care about you and your well being. It is your personal decision based on a gut feeling that can be supported by any referrals that you may find for that lawyer.

Experience

Ask about the lawyer’s experience handling your particular case and whether they took a case to trial. Only 4% of personal injury cases go to trial so some attorneys may spend their entire professional careers without ever going to trial. Depending on your situation, especially ones that involve serious injury, you may want a lawyer who’s had trial experience.

Contingency Fee

Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency fee. That is they get a percentage of a settlement they win for you and they won’t get paid if your case is lost. This is good for you in that you don’t spend any money up front and based on historical data, even after lawyers’ fees, injured persons usually settle for 3.5x times higher amount than if they were to settle their claim personally dealing with their insurance company.

For example, a law firm with 33.33% contingency fee may get $33,330.00 on a $100,000 settlement leaving you with $66,670.00. A less experienced attorney may ask for 25% but settle for $75,000 out of which you’d get $56,250. As you can see, dealing with personal injury lawyers’ fees is doesn’t always mean less is more.

Location

You definitely want a lawyer who is licensed to practice law in your state. It is possible that a law firm that has an office in a different state than yours is licensed to practice in your state as well. It is not always necessary to meet face to face but it is great to have that opportunity if needed.

Most lawyers will visit you at home or hospital if you’re not able to come to their office. Personal injury lawyers also work with investigators and other agents who may be able to visit you more often if you’re located in a remote area.

We’ve specifically made it easier for you to find a personal injury lawyer based on location.

Shop around

Choosing a lawyer is like shopping for a dentist or family doctor. All professionals have gone through the same training and have passed required examinations. It is the small and non-tangible things that separate good lawyers from the best. From the way that they make you feel to the way that they talk with your insurance company can have a huge impact of how your remember you experience. Hopefully your injuries will heal but the memories will stay.

Check with several attorneys, only then will you be able to find a characteristic that only you will seek from your attorney. Speaking with multiple attorneys will also let you have somebody to compare with even if you are already satisfied with your first choice.

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