After a major accident, you may feel overwhelmed by medical bills, physical injuries, and other stressful developments. The last thing you want to do is figure out how to file a personal injury lawsuit on your own. Filing a lawsuit is complex in the best of circumstances. If you are already suffering from a major injury or illness, navigating the legal system would be almost impossible to do on your own.
Once you decide to hire a personal injury attorney, the next step is figuring out how to find the best personal injury lawyer available. Choosing the wrong attorney could end up costing you significantly when it comes to your financial restitution. In addition, an inexperienced lawyer could end up losing the entire case. To have the best chances in your case, you need to find the best personal injury lawyer possible.
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How Can You Find a Good Law Firm?
If you are searching for the best personal injury attorney near me, there are a few things you can do to narrow down your search. To start with, you should figure out the qualities you want in an attorney. Then, you should compile a list of law firms and see which ones have these qualities.
There are 439,740 law firms in the United States. Out of the 800,000 to 1 million lawyers in this country, about 48,570 lawyers specialize in personal injury cases. In order to find a good lawyer, you have to narrow down this list of potential attorneys to people who have the experience, location, and price range you need. To get started on your search for an attorney, you can use the following tips.
Ask Your Friends
A lawyer’s reputation is one of the most important things they possess. Word-of-mouth referrals are the best way to find a lawyer because they allow you to learn about the lawyer’s reputation from someone who has personally experienced their services. You can start your lawyer search by talking to your friends, colleagues, and family members about their experiences with personal injury attorneys.
While a personal referral is a good start, you should still consult with several different attorneys. You need to find someone who works well with your personality and communication style. Because of this, you should always talk to a lawyer before you hire them.
Search Online Directories
An easy way to find a good lawyer is by looking online. You can use Google, Yelp, and Facebook to find local attorneys. In addition, AVVO and similar legal directories are a great place to learn about law firms. Even if you are just looking for attorneys in Florida, you will find 9,039 lawyers listed on AVVO.
Whenever you find an attorney on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, you should look at their customer rating. You can read through their reviews to see what a typical customer’s experience is like. If you find an attorney on AVVO, you can also see what their professional rating is.
The legal profession is unique because you can see peer reviews of each law firm. Martindale-Hubbell first opened up more than 130 years ago, and the organization has been rating lawyers ever since. Because Martindale-Hubbell only accepts peer reviews, you get to hear what other lawyers think of a specific law firm. Whether you use AVVO or Martindale-Hubbell, you should only search for personal injury attorneys who have achieved a perfect score.
Check Referral Services
Local bar associations will generally offer referral services. Through these referral services, you can find lawyers based on their specialty, location, and experience. In Florida, you can go to the Florida Bar’s website to find a directory of local attorneys.
While the Florida Bar and similar directories will show you local attorneys in your area, there is a major drawback to using these sites. In most areas, any lawyer who has passed the bar is included in the directory. You will need to use AVVO or a similar rating service to figure out if they are a talented attorney or not.
Do Attorneys Have to Take Your Case?
After you have gone through all of the work involved in finding a personal injury attorney, you may be told that the attorney does not want your case. This can happen for many different reasons. If the law firm is already busy with other projects, they may not be interested in taking on more work.
Additionally, the attorney might not want to work for a contingency fee. In personal injury cases, most lawyers are paid the amount you eventually receive in compensation. If your settlement is likely to be small, the lawyer may not want to take on your case. Some attorneys may prefer upfront payments instead of contingency fees.
Lawyers may also be uninterested in taking on a case if they think the chances of winning are low. If the evidence is murky, it will be harder to prove your case. An attorney is only paid if they win when they work for a contingency fee, so they may not want to risk putting in a lot of effort for nothing.
Even if the case is supported by clear evidence, there are other reasons why they may be uninterested in your case. For instance, you can only get a settlement if the other party has money or other financial resources. If you were in a crash with an uninsured motorist or a transient, the defendant is unlikely to be able to pay for your damages.
Before you get your heart set on hiring a certain attorney, you should take some time to talk with them. Your initial consultation will give you a chance to see if you both have a good rapport. More importantly, the attorney will be able to tell you if they are interested in taking on your case or not.
How to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are searching for the best personal injury attorney near me, you have already taken the first step toward hiring a personal injury lawyer. From finding the right practice area to going to an initial evaluation, there are several steps involved in discovering the right law firm. Because you will be spending months or years working with your lawyer, you should make sure to find someone who is a good fit for your personality and unique situation.
1. Determine the Right Legal Specialty
Do you know what area of law you need? If you have been injured in a car accident, you probably need a personal injury attorney. Likewise, personal injury attorneys can help with medical malpractice and product defect cases. Because each legal specialty is unique, you need to find someone who has experience in your specific area.
2. Search for a Licensed Attorney
The next step in hiring an attorney is to find someone who is licensed in your state. You can check your state’s bar association or online legal directories. In addition, you can ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations.
3. Look for Clean Records
Other than reading through a lawyer’s reviews and ratings, there is another way to tell if you have a good attorney. Many bar associations will include disciplinary actions in an attorney’s online listing. In Florida, the Florida Bar operates the Attorney/Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP). Through ACAP, you can see if a lawyer has gone through disciplinary problems. You can also report problems you have had with attorneys in the past.
4. Consider the Firm’s Size
Depending on the size and complexity of your case, the firm’s size may be important. You should also consider the firm’s experience types and age. You will also want to find a firm that has experience working with the medical professionals and expert witnesses your case needs.
5. Read Through Reviews
Once you have narrowed down a list of prospective attorneys, you should read through their reviews. While fake testimonials are a major issue online, there are some advantages to checking out online reviews. Negative reviews are particularly illuminating because companies do not pay for negative reviews. To avoid this problem entirely, you can also use Martindale-Hubbell to get unfiltered peer reviews and ratings.
How Can You Tell If The Law Firm Has A Good Reputation?
Reputation is everything. Some say it is the only thing. A law firm’s reputation can be determined with a little research. Check to see if Martindale-Hubbell gave the firm their coveted “AV” rating, which is established by a peer review. You can also research the firm through the professional search engine AVVO for their rating. Look for personal injury law firms with a perfect score. Other Internet resources include Google, Facebook and Yelp. Those portals have places for customer ratings that you might find beneficial. Review Shiner Law Group on Google Reviews.
6. Get an Initial Consultation
At this stage, you need to narrow down your list of prospects as much as possible. Ideally, your list should have between three to five law firms on it. Once you have this list ready, you can call each firm and arrange an initial consultation.
During the initial consultation, you can talk to the attorney about your case and get a better understanding of their personal style. Most law firms offer case evaluations for free, so you should take advantage of this service. All you have to do is fill out an online form to get your evaluation set up.
A case evaluation is a lot like an interview. You and the attorney will ask each other questions to see if you want to work together. Their answers will determine if you want to move forward with them or talk to a different law firm. If you are uncertain about what to ask, you can try using some of the following questions.
- Do you have enough time to focus on my case at the moment?
- If you are unable to work on my case, who will handle it?
- Do you have experience trying this kind of case?
- What were the outcomes in your past cases?
- Do you generally settle cases like mine or take them to trial?
- Have you worked on similar cases in my county or city?
- How will I be expected to participate in my claim?
- How comfortable do you feel about going to trial?
- What do you think my case’s outcome will be?
- What is your contingency fee? Do you have other expenses?
- If my case loses, will I be responsible for any of the costs?
- How will you inform me about what is going on with my case?
- What is your success rate in the courtroom? What is your negotiation history?
7. Analyze Your Legal Options
After you have met with all of the prospective attorneys, you should compare their answers. You can also check online reviews as well. Since you do not have to decide right away, you should take a few days to think over your decision.
8. Sign on With an Attorney
Once you have picked an attorney you like, you can sign a contingency fee agreement. This agreement will outline any fees and terms. After this document is signed, your attorney can immediately start working on your case.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney
While each client, case, and attorney is different, there are a few qualities that you should look for in your legal firm. You need an attorney who has the right education, specialty, and experience. Otherwise, you may not achieve a favorable outcome in the courtroom.
Lots of lawyers dabble in personal injury cases. It is fairly common, and an attorney who dabbles might do okay with a case in which liability and damages are clear but not terribly serious. On the other hand, that lawyer will not succeed if the stakes are higher because dabbling does not give you the experience you need to handle a wrongful death lawsuit against a trucking company or a catastrophic injury case where a young person suffered critical injuries that will take years to heal and recover, if at all.
One of the major questions is whether the attorney who does not handle significant personal injury cases has the resources or experience to file a claim in severe personal injury case and see it through to completion. An attorney who handles medical malpractice cases would presumably understand the law relating to medical malpractice cases, have the ability to call expert witnesses, and have access to the resources necessary to successfully pursue a medical malpractice claim. The same holds true for other accident cases like trucking accidents and wrongful death lawsuits.
A personal injury case can involve significant resources. Other than filing the claim, your attorney may need to spend money on expert witnesses. They may also need the help of other lawyers and legal professionals. Before you hire an attorney, you should find out if they have the resources your case deserves.
After finding out if the lawyer has the right resources and expertise, you should also discuss their experience level. You do not want to hire someone who just graduated. Law school is a great guide for practicing law, but you can only learn the intimate details of the profession through years of effort.
Rapport and Communication Styles
If you need a surgeon to remove your kidney, you primarily care about their experience and knowledge. The surgeon’s personality and communication style will not impact whether they can safely operate on your body. In the legal field, personality matters. You will be working with your lawyer for months or years. As a result, you need to find an attorney you can build a rapport with. During your case evaluation, you should see if the lawyer’s communication style meshes well with yours.
You need to find a lawyer who has a settlement goal that is similar to yours. When you go to your initial evaluation, you can ask the lawyer how difficult it will be to get an insurance settlement. The lawyer should be able to give you an estimate of how much your case is worth.
Then, you can talk to the attorney about your settlement goals. For instance, you may want to get a settlement as quickly as you can for a low cost. If your main goal is to get as much money as possible, you may be willing to wait longer for a settlement. You may also want an approach that is somewhere between these two extremes.
Before you hire someone, you need to see if they will help you achieve your settlement goal. Some lawyers are unwilling to settle for anything less than the maximum amount because they are paid a percentage of your settlement amount. Other attorneys want to make a quick buck, so they are willing to settle as soon as an offer comes in. As long as you and your attorney agree on your settlement approach, it does not matter which approach you decide to take.
While some personal injury cases go to trial, many of them settle outside of the courtroom. Because of this, you need to find an attorney who can negotiate a good settlement with the insurance company. Unless your attorney negotiates a better deal, the insurance company will try to give you the lowest settlement possible.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take to Settle?
A straightforward case may take just six months to settle outside of the courtroom. With a more complex case, it can take up to three years to reach a settlement. When you first meet your attorney, you should ask them how long it will take to bring your case to a conclusion. While this figure can end up changing, your attorney should be able to give you a rough estimate.
Discover the Right Personal Attorney for Your Needs Today
After you learn how to find the best personal injury lawyer, you can get help resolving your case. Depending on your unique situation, you may want to settle the case or take it to trial. With the help of a talented attorney, you can determine the best steps for your unique situation.
Over the years, our law group has developed a reputation for helping clients with personal injury cases. Today, we serve clients throughout Florida. Whether you were injured in a car accident or through medical malpractice, we can help you resolve your legal claim. To talk to one of our experienced attorneys and get a free case evaluation, reach out to our team today.
Choosing Shiner Law Group For Your Personal Injury Case
At Shiner Law Group, treat all our of clients with the dignity and respect they deserve. We are serious about our clients’ financial recovery while being mindful of their humanity.
Should you or a loved one suffered a serious injury or was killed in a personal injury accident, we are available to assist you with your legal claim. At Shiner Law Group, our experienced personal injury attorneys work hard to maximize your financial recovery. Speak with a lawyer today to discuss your personal injury case by calling or filling out a free online consultation request.