I was just injured and need to speak with a personal injury attorney. How do I find an attorney and what should I be looking for?
Author: Attorney Jason Macri
A simple drive down I-95 with your radio tuned to the local station will ensure that you are absolutely bombarded with advertisements for personal injury attorneys. Approximately one in every five billboards will contain an ad for a personal injury attorney and roughly 25% of the commercials on the radio will either be from a personal injury law office or a doctor’s office operating as an “attorney referral service.” With all of these ads bombarding you from every angle, how will you know which personal injury attorney to choose?
The first thing you should do is look for an attorney who specializes in personal injury as opposed to an attorney who only spends part of their time handling injury cases. You definitely don’t want to hire an attorney whose main specialty is construction law to handle your injury case. Because personal injury is such a specialized area of the law with a multitude of potential traps and pitfalls, it would be in your best interest to hire an attorney who is aware of all the various tricks that insurance companies and their defense lawyers have up their sleeves.
Second, hire an attorney who has a sufficient amount of experience handling injury cases. You will want to hire someone that has handled injury cases for a significant period of time so that they have developed the experience necessary to handle an injury case from the start of the case all the way through trial. Some lawyers have handled an injury case in “pre-litigation,” meaning before the filing of a lawsuit, but have not ever taken a case to trial. Unfortunately, that attorney lacks the experience necessary to completely handle an injury case. Make sure that your lawyer has handled all aspects of an injury case so that the attorney is never confronted with a situation that they have never experienced.
Third, make sure you personally speak with the attorney and get along well with the attorney prior to hiring that person. You would be surprised how many people call me and tell me they hired an attorney but never actually spoke with the attorney and have no idea what the person is like. Keep in mind that the attorney-client relationship is not entirely different from any other relationship that you may have. You already know that in your personal life, it is extremely important that you trust your significant other and that you enjoy communicating and being in the presence of that person. Choosing a lawyer is no different. It is important that you trust your lawyer and generally enjoy communicating with your lawyer. If after speaking with the attorney for the first time you leave with the impression that you really didn’t like the person, don’t hire that lawyer! Move on and speak with some others. Eventually, you will find a lawyer that you enjoy speaking with, who has all the necessary experience and comes across as trustworthy. Once you find that, you know that you have found the proper lawyer for you.