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An accident can be a very traumatic and overwhelming experience for all parties involved. Peace of mind during this time is important, and one way to achieve this is to seek highly skilled representation in the area of your legal needs. Choosing a qualified personal injury lawyer may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not as complicated as you may think. This article provides three solid tips for locating the right personal injury lawyer for you.
I. Locating a Lawyer
Before you can evaluate a potential personal injury lawyer, you need to locate one first. One of the easiest ways to begin your search is to use your inner circle of family and friends. Ask your inner circle for their personal injury lawyer recommendations. Although we live in the “Internet Age,” referrals are still some of the best ways to find reputable professionals.
Speaking of the Internet, the web is a great tool to locate an attorney. Look for local independent law firms or lawyer sites first, rather than using directories. It’s impossible to know if personal injury lawyers are listed on a directory based on their qualifications, or if they are listed based on their ability to pay the listing fees.
Likewise, be wary of lawyers with a mass client national 800 number approach to marketing. It is a good idea to see where these attorneys reside and whether they even understand your local market or are licensed to practice in your state. As you research the law firms, look for the ones that are AV rated and that have stellar reputations. Going to the firm’s website to evaluate the attorneys and their credentials and representative cases is also an important consideration.
It is easy to find out whether the law firm you are seeking to hire has a good reputation for being knowledgeable and experts in your kind of case. Going to the firm website and taking the time to look at each attorney’s profile to evaluate their experience, passion, case results and skills is a great place to start. Once in the website look around at the cases the firm has done and any testimonials present. Get a feeling for the character of the attorneys and their firm and their commitment to excellence. A commitment to excellence and not just volume will be apparent when you are in the website of a quality firm.
Your lawyer should have trial experience and a proven record of success . An exceptional personal injury lawyer is skilled in constructing a rock solid case, negotiation and litigating a case to trial (if necessary). Ask your prospective lawyer about his or her cases in court and on appeal because many lawyers don’t take cases up on appeal if necessary. Review some cases the law firm has tried if you don’t see them on the firm website.
Caveat: Lawyers who brag about being “settlement experts” often are not equipped to take your case on appeal, as a good lawyer needs to be prepared for trial in order to have the leverage to obtain a good settlement. Settlement may very well be the best thing to do in a given case, and a good lawyer may be able to size things up fairly quickly, but the more a lawyer is willing to prepare for trial the more likely the case will have higher settlement value.
In the area of choosing a lawyer, expertise and reputation are of vital importance. But never forget about the character of the firm, since you will develop a strong relationship with the members of the firm if your case is accepted.