How to Find an Experienced and Reputable Personal Injury Attorney
We’ve all seen the lame commercials for personal injury attorneys, but you shouldn’t let a few low-budget ads color your view of all such professionals. Many are dedicated to providing injured individuals with the legal assistance needed to ensure that the responsible party pays for current and ongoing medical bills associated with the accident that led to injury. In many cases they go above and beyond the call of duty, working for free (pro bono) until a settlement has been reached. And although they may not be entirely altruistic in their pursuit of justice for their clients, you should know that they probably wouldn’t take your case if they didn’t think they could win. Further, their profit is based entirely on the size of the settlement (they’ll take a percentage) so you know they’ll work hard on your behalf (and their own). The only real question is how to go about finding a professional that can provide you with the reliable and reputable service you want from a personal injury attorney. Here are just a few tips to help you select the right representation.
The place to start, as when seeking nearly any type of service, is with trusted recommendations. You might not think that you know anyone who has needed the services of a personal injury attorney, but you might be surprised once you start asking around. So approach family members, friends, coworkers, and even neighbors. You can reasonably expect that your loved ones and close acquaintances are not going to steer you wrong in this matter. Of course, it could happen that their cases were very different from yours, meaning that the attorneys they used might not be suitable for your needs. But this is a good place to start.
From there you might want to do some research of your own. You can start by looking at online directories, although you’ll certainly want to find those that are selective when it comes to the attorneys they allow to list with them. Free or paid, you want to peruse listings with a directory that has standards or even has a process in place for vetting members. You might also try an old-school approach. You can get listings for reputable attorneys in your area by calling the state bar association or heading to your local law library to peruse listings. Both should provide you with personal injury attorneys that are in good standing with the bar association.
Once you’ve compiled your list of candidates it’s time to get to the nitty-gritty of narrowing your choices down to one, and there are several ways to do this. Although many such services engage in online reputation management, you can still dig up a lot of dirt with a simple Google search (provided there is some dirt to be found). This can help you to determine who is above board…and who is receiving a lot of negative reviews and/or press. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau. But eventually you’ll have to set up consultations so that you can meet with prospective legal representatives face to face. This will allow you to ask for credentials (education and experience), talk strategy, and see if you can find an attorney that you like (or at least one that you think can win your case). When you’re injured in an accident the last thing you want is an attorney that blows you off and gives you the runaround, so finding someone you’re comfortable with is an important piece of the puzzle.