The Checklist: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer can be a daunting task. After all, it can be difficult to know who is best-suited to represent your needs. But with a checklist in hand, it can be a lot easier. Heres a comprehensive guide to selecting the personal injury lawyer thats right for you.
First and foremost, its important to look for experience. You want to make sure the lawyer you choose has lots of experience and a successful track record representing clients. Find out how many cases theyve won, and inquire about their reputation in the courtroom. Have they ever gone up against powerful adversaries, and won?
Second, assess the lawyers communication skills. Its important that your personal injury lawyer is able to keep you and your case informed as it progresses, while also being responsive to your inquiries. Ask what communication methods they use, and how often.
Third, look for empathy and compassion. Youre hiring a professional to represent your interests, not someone who simply wants to rack up cases. Make sure you feel comfortable and respected by the lawyer youre ultimately choosing.
Fourth, dig deeper into the lawyers credentials. Are there any specialized certifications or awards? Is your prospective lawyer in good standing with the state and local Bar Associations? Find out if theyve published any papers or articles on the subject.
Fifth, make sure the lawyer works in the personal injury field specifically. That might sound like a given, but youd be surprised how many lawyers try to pass themselves off as personal injury specialists, when in reality they don’t have much experience in the area.
Sixth, enquire about fees. Ask how theyll structure your retainer, and if there are any additional costs that might come into play (such as any expert witnesses, etc). It’s also a good idea to find out what percentage of any eventual settlement or judgment will they deduct for their fee.
Finally, trust your gut. Don’t be afraid to say no to a lawyer if you don’t feel comfortable. After all, youre the one whos entrusting them with your case.
Specialization and Expertise. Its important that the personal injury lawyer youve chosen has both the experience and skillset to successfully represent your claim. What kind of specialized practices and areas do they specialize in? Make sure the lawyer has a great understanding of the laws relevant to your case, and the ability to spot any potential issues.
Research and Preparation. A good personal injury lawyer should know the facts of your case and be able to build a strong legal argument. Ask them how they go about preparing for cases, and find out what resources they plan on consulting. Are they familiar with the other sides legal team? Who will be in charge of uncovering any sources of evidence?
Courtroom Acumen. How skilled is your lawyer in the courtroom? Do they prefer to litigate or settle out of court? Are they familiar with the judges or members of the court that could possibly hear your case? Grade your potential lawyers comfort level in a courtroom setting.
Continuity and Communication. Do you feel comfortable speaking with your lawyer? Can they easily explain and elaborate on their advice? Once the case has started and the lawyer is actively handling your claim, how will they handle communication? How often will they reach out to you, and in what manner?
Negotiating Strategies. If youre planning to approach a settlement out of court, you want to ensure that your lawyer is experienced in negotiations. Your lawyer should have a range of tools and tricks up their sleevenot just a one-size-fits-all option. Ask them what strategies they typically use when negotiating claims.
Pre-Litigation Strategies. Have you decided not to pursue litigation? If so, what strategies will your lawyer use to secure a settlement? Are there any procedural steps theyll take to ensure you can get the compensation youre entitled to, without going to court?
Trial Strategy. If youre headed to trial, make sure your lawyer is prepared to play the game, as well as score big. Enquire as to how they will prepare for trial, what arguments they will use, and even what actions they might take in order to build a strong case.
Teamwork. Dont forget to ask who else will be involved. How big is their legal team, and who are their members? What kind of experience and expertise do they possess? How does their team complement each other? Make sure your lawyer has a family of experts on board.
Though the checklist is comprehensive, its by no means exhaustive. Dont ever be afraid to ask questions. After all, its your future at stake! Rely on your own personal judgment to make the right decisionyou know best what you want from your legal representation.