It is no problem finding personal injury attorneys. If you go online or look through your city or county’s yellow pages, you will find hundreds of attorneys who practice personal injury law, and many will have impressive ads extolling their success and the types of cases they have handled. But how do you choose the right personal injury attorney for you and your case?
Your Type of Case
Not all personal injury cases are alike. In most accident injury cases, a responsible party must have had a duty of exercising caution or reasonable care toward the injured party and somehow breached that duty. Depending on the type of case, however, there are different rules for proving liability and presenting damages.
If you are injured in an auto accident, you should choose an attorney experienced in this area. A slip and fall accident should be handled by a lawyer who practices premises liability law. Although most personal injury attorneys handle different types of personal injury cases, it is best to retain one who has years of experience in your type of case.
For example, a medical malpractice claim, work injury, or a product defect suit usually demands the skills and knowledge of an attorney who exclusively practices in this area. There are complex issues of proof, causation and different filing and other timelines that are best handled by an attorney who has the experience of having successfully prosecuted cases like these.
Successful personal injury attorneys typically possess well-honed reputations earned from years of experience, success in trial, satisfied clients, and the positive reviews of peers. Personal injury attorneys with great reputations may translate into additional value for your case since defense attorneys and insurance adjusters know that they risk a jury verdict that is well above what they are willing to pay and, in any case, are facing a worthy adversary who will be well-prepared.
While not all excellent personal injury attorneys have tried numerous cases, or any at all in some cases, a record of success at trial is usually a good indication of a personal injury attorney you may wish to retain. Over 90 percent of cases are settled before trial. Most trials are expensive affairs and take months or even years of extensive preparation in accumulating documents, filing motions, finding and deposing witnesses and experts, researching the law, and preparing clients for arbitrations, depositions, and for trial. Consequently, lawyers on both sides will try to persuade their counterparts to reach a reasonable compromise.
But attorneys with trial experience not only have the reputation for having the confidence to try a case, but are usually the types who are well-prepared and have successfully negotiated hundreds or thousands of cases to their clients’ satisfaction.
Do not underestimate your potential attorney’s personality. Personal injury attorneys who take a sincere interest in your case, will promptly return your phone calls, keep you apprised of your case’s status, are honest with you and show respect, will usually give your case the attention and focus it deserves. Being comfortable with your attorney gives you peace of mind and the confidence that your claim will have a satisfactory outcome.
Do your due diligence before choosing a personal injury attorney and meet with him or her in-person before making this very important decision.