After an accident, you may need an attorney to help you get the money you deserve.
In this post, we share our ideas on how to find the best personal injury attorney. See below to get started.
1. Searching Online
When choosing a personal injury lawyer, start by searching via a search engine like Google.
You can search by using terms like “good personal injury lawyers near me” or “personal injury attorney” followed by your City and State. So if you live in Los Angeles, CA, you would simply type, “personal injury attorney Los Angeles CA” into the search bar.
This type of search will usually give you a list of attorneys in your area and a list of legal (and non-legal) directories. See more about those below.
2. Legal Directories
Legal directories are like mini-search engines of their own, but focus only on attorneys. We’ll go over the most popular ones and one non-legal directory, Yelp.
Avvo is one of the more popular attorney directories. Avvo offers a lot of great info including ratings, law school attended, and contact info. More importantly, Avvo tells you if the attorney has ever been disciplined by the California State Bar. Visit Avvo by clicking here.
FindLaw is another popular legal directory that may show up in the search results. FindLaw includes attorney contact info and a bio. FindLaw lacks the robust review system you’ll find in Avvo, but given FindLaw’s search engine placement, we included it in our list. Visit them by clicking here.
Lawyers.com is owned by Martindale-Hubble. They’ve been around for years providing info on attorneys. Lawyers.com provides contact info, client reviews, and peer reviews. You can see more by clicking here.
Although not a legal directory, Yelp has established itself as a go-to location for those seeking an attorney. Yelp includes contact info, bio, and reviews. Visit Yelp them here.
3. Online Reviews
Many of the online directories listed above include personal injury lawyers reviews. When looking at reviews, make sure you don’t just look at the amount of reviews or overall ratings.
Instead, take the time to read the reviews – especially the longer ones. A long review might give you more insight into an attorney.
Another way to find attorney reviews is by using Google Maps. Once you’re there, type “personal injury attorney” and you’ll see results below with reviews.
4. California State Bar Page
No attorney search is complete without visiting their profile on the California State Bar website. On this site, you’ll see their official contact info, educational background, and further detail on their disciplinary history, if any.
How long have you exclusively practiced personal injury law?
Have you taken any cases to trial?
Have you been disciplined by the California State Bar?
Ask for a list of their previous victories – both verdicts and settlements
How much do you think my case is worth?
6. Be Prepared During Your Initial Consult
Prior to meeting with an attorney, take some time to learn a little about personal injury law in your state. For example, most personal injury attorneys will not take a car accident case which solely resulted in property damage.
Additionally, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with tort law and legal terms like negligence.
7. Understand the Fee Structure
Don’t sign a retainer agreement without making sure you understand the fee structure. We’ve all heard personal injury attorneys say, “I get nothing unless you win.” This means they work on a contingency basis. While that may be true, make sure you understand what they get in the event that you do win.
In California, an accident attorney will typically take somewhere between 25% – 40%. However, many attorneys will also require that you pay for any fees incurred throughout the process. Your attorney will charge these fees on top of the percentage. What you’ll want to know is exactly what these fees include. For example, it might include the cost for experts, private investigators, and depositions.
Make sure you don’t get blindsided, as these fees can significantly cut into your award settlement.
The last thing to consider is how well you got along during the initial consultation. Did you find it easy to speak with the attorney? If not, you might want to consider continuing your search until you find someone who is a good personality fit for you.
Did We Miss Anything?
We hope that this guide will help you find a reputable personal injury lawyer in your area. Did we miss something? If so, please comment below.
Reasons Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer:
We put together this infographic dealing with the benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer after an accident. These reasons include:
Medical Issues: A good attorney will work with a team of experts that can properly evaluate your injuries.
Financial Issues: An attorney will help you with the financial issues that inevitably arise after an accident.
Higher Settlements: An experienced attorney can often help you negotiate higher settlements with the negligent party’s insurance company.
Have you been hurt in an accident? If so, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to deal with an insurance company as you seek compensation. Whether you’re seeking benefits from your provider or the at-fault party’s insurer, the company and its defense attorneys won’t be eager to cut you a check.
They’ll try to either deny your claim or drive down its value.
So, how can you know that you’re really getting a fair settlement deal?
Below, personal injury lawyers from across the country have provided their top tips for making sure that victims like you get a fair deal during negotiations. Check them out and keep them in mind if you’re in an accident.
25 Tips You Can Use to Get the Best Settlement for Your Personal Injury Claim
Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers
Report the accident immediately. A written record of the accident is essential when filing a personal injury claim. Without a written record, the other party could deny their involvement in the accident. Additionally, the insurance company may not treat the claim as seriously if you don’t have any evidence that an accident occurred.
Tip 2 From A Los Angeles Attorney
Aleksey Katmissky – Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
KJ Injury & Accident Lawyers, PC
Don’t lie to the police. When you report an accident or injury to the police, don’t lie or embellish. Instead, tell the police officer what happened without going into unnecessary details. Saying more than is necessary – or stretching the truth – can have serious consequences for you and hurt your ability to file a successful lawsuit.
Document the accident scene. If possible, take photographs and make a video of the entire accident scene. It is crucial to preserve the scene just as it appears after the accident. For example, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident, the property owner could remove the hazard and claim it was your fault that you fell.
Also, try to get the names and telephone numbers of eyewitnesses. Eyewitness testimony can be very compelling in an injury case.
Seek prompt medical attention for your injuries. It is always a good idea to be checked by a physician immediately after an accident or injury. Even if you feel “okay,” you could have injuries you are unaware of immediately after the accident.
If you don’t go to the emergency room from the accident scene, don’t say that you are fine or you are not injured. Instead, merely say that you intend to see your doctor about your injuries.
Delays in medical care could hurt your case. The insurance company may use a delay in seeing a doctor to argue that the accident did not cause your injury.
Report all symptoms to your physicians immediately. Regardless of how you feel or how minor you might believe a symptom is, report all symptoms to your doctors immediately. You could have sustained a severe injury, and the doctor needs to follow up.
Also, your symptoms are noted in your medical records. If your symptoms worsen, there is a record of when the symptoms began after the accident. That information can help fight against claims that the accident did not cause your injuries.
Tip 6 From A Fort Worth Attorney
Jason Stephens – Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer
Follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Don’t stop your doctor’s treatment plan. If you don’t follow up with your doctor and complete treatment, the insurance company may allege that you failed to mitigate your damages. You would not be entitled to compensation for injuries and damages that could have been avoided had you followed your doctor’s orders.
Tip 7 From An Attorney
Keep careful notes about your claim. Throughout your case, document each conversation or interaction you have with the insurance company or other individuals involved in your claim. Note the date, time, and topic of discussion. Make notes about the statements made during the conversation.
Don’t agree to a recorded or written statement without a lawyer. Claims adjusters may tell you that you need to provide a written or recorded statement to process your claim. Providing a statement is generally not in your best interest. Claims adjusters are trained to ask leading questions that elicit responses that can be intentionally misinterpreted.
Anything you say could be used in court. Therefore, it is best to seek legal counsel before giving any statements about the accident or your injury.
Don’t discuss the accident or your injuries with other people. If you discuss the accident with another person, they could be called as a witness at your trial. It is best not to discuss your accident or injuries with anyone other than your physicians and lawyer. Keep in mind: a spouse cannot be forced to testify against the other spouse.
Avoid using social media during your case. Posting online or using social media during an accident case can hurt your chance of recovering a fair settlement. The things that you post online are not private, even if your security settings are set for the highest levels of privacy.
There have been cases where a judge permits defense attorneys to access the accident victim’s social media accounts. Therefore, it is best not to use social media while your claim is pending.
Wait for a complete investigation. Either you or an attorney needs to conduct a thorough investigation to determine how you were injured, who is responsible, and what evidence is available. There could be more than one party responsible for your injuries. It is crucial to identify each liable party to maximize compensation.
Tip 13 From An Oklahoma Attorney
Kent McGuire – Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer
Document your recovery with photos and a journal. You are entitled to non-economic damages as part of your injury claim. However, these damages are not proven through medical records or bills. Instead, you need a detailed narrative about how your injuries impacted your daily life.
Taking pictures of your injuries as you heal gives the insurance company evidence of how long it took for you to recover. Keeping a pain and suffering journal detailing your recovery provides information about how your injuries negatively impacted your daily life and enjoyment of life.
Don’t accept a settlement offer or sign documents without talking to a lawyer. If you sign a settlement agreement, your case will be over. The insurance company inserts language in the agreement that releases ALL parties from ALL future claims. You cannot try to collect more money in the future, even if you discover more damages or other injuries. So, while accepting a settlement check right away might make life easier now, it could ultimately do more harm than good. Discuss settlement options with your lawyer or, better yet, have your attorney handle negotiations on your behalf.
Tip 15 From A Clearwater and St. Petersburg Attorney
Mark H. Perenich – Clearwater and St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyers
Never release your medical records to an insurance company. You may be asked for your medical records or to sign a release for medical records. Don’t! The insurance company is searching for pre-existing conditions and prior injuries.
The company will try to blame your current injuries on pre-existing conditions to avoid paying the claim. Don’t hide or lie about a prior injury or pre-existing condition. Let your attorney handle disclosing that information.
Tip 16 From A New York City Attorney
Craig D. Rosenbaum – New York City Personal Injury Lawyer
Don’t plead guilty to a traffic offense without legal counsel. Pleading guilty to a traffic ticket could make it easier for the other party to avoid liability and even point the finger at you. Establishing that you’ve violated a safety law could give them grounds to base a claim on negligence per se. That would effectively pave the way for them to hold you accountable for their injuries. But, don’t ignore the ticket. Instead, seek legal advice to help you decide what you should do about the traffic ticket.
Document damages and financial losses with records. To recover compensation for damages, you must document the damages with direct evidence.
Evidence may include:
Copies of medical records
Medical bills and invoices
Receipts for payment of out-of-pocket expenses
Statements from your employer
Copies of tax returns and pay stubs
Invoices, bills, and receipts for payment
The more evidence you have of your damages, the greater chance you receive maximum compensation for your injury claim.
Tip 18 From A Miami Attorney
Boris Lavent – Miami Personal Injury Lawyer
Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer
Check your insurance policy. Know what types of insurance you have and the limits for each type of insurance. You could recover compensation under your insurance policy for some damages. Once you’ve exhausted your policy limits, you can then discuss the possibility of filing a claim or lawsuit against a liable third party.
Never settle an injury claim while receiving medical treatment. You need to complete your medical treatment before settling your case. Until you complete your treatment and your doctor releases you, there is no way to know if you sustained a permanent impairment or disability, which could increase the value of your damages.
Tip 20 From A Gainesville Attorney
Steven A. Bagen – Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer
Steven A. Bagen & Associates
Know when the deadline for filing a lawsuit expires. All states have statutes of limitations that set deadlines for filing personal injury claims. However, the deadline may differ for certain types of claims, such as medical malpractice, wrongful death, and product liability.
Make sure that you discuss the deadline for filing a lawsuit with an attorney. If you miss the deadline, the at-fault party nor the insurance company have to pay you for your damages.
Don’t forget future damages. If you sustain a disability or impairment, you could require ongoing personal and medical care. As a result, you may not be able to work, or your earning potential could be diminished.
These damages may be included in your settlement demand. You may need to consult with medical experts and financial professionals to calculate the correct value of future damages.
Tip 22 From A Boston Attorney
J. Tucker Merrigan – Boston Personal Injury Lawyer
Don’t accept the first offer from the insurance company. You are not required to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, regardless of what the claims adjuster states. You have the right to counteroffer and negotiate a fair settlement. If the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, you may want to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.
Ask for justifications for low settlement offers. Ask the claims adjuster to provide a written statement explaining the reasons for the settlement amount. Then, reply to each reason with an argument why the amount should be higher.
Tip 24 From A Fort Walton Beach Attorney
Paul Brannon – Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
Brannon & Brannon
Emphasize pain and suffering damages. You are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering experienced because of the accident.
Don’t give in to pressure. Don’t allow the insurance company or another party to pressure you into accepting a settlement offer. If you are unsure about a settlement offer, seek legal counsel. You have the right to talk with a lawyer before accepting an offer to settle a personal injury case like a car accident.
One Last Tip – Know When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Some individuals can settle a personal injury claim without a lawyer. However, it is wise to talk with a lawyer, even if you don’t hire an attorney.
Knowing when to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your case is essential. There are things that you may not be able to do to investigate your claim. If you have any doubts about the value of your damages, the damages you can recover, deadlines, fault, or liability, think about reaching out to a personal injury lawyer for help.
Therefore, you need an attorney who has substantial experience, skills, and resources. Your lawyer needs to conduct investigations, hire expert witnesses, and do everything necessary to gather evidence proving negligence and liability.
Deciding which Oklahoma City personal injury attorney to hire can be confusing. Below is a guide for finding the personal injury attorney that is right for you.
How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case
An attorney is not a “one size fits all” situation. Personal injury lawyers have vastly different skills, experience levels, qualifications, and personalities. Therefore, choosing an attorney based solely on advertisements is not best for you.
Begin your attorney search by asking people you trust for recommendations. It is best if they used the attorney for another case. Direct knowledge of the attorney is extremely valuable.
If you know an attorney that practices a different area of law, you might want to ask that attorney for a referral. Often attorneys are familiar with other attorneys and their abilities. Judges and court personnel may also be excellent sources of recommendations.
The Oklahoma Bar Association has a “find a lawyer” directory that helps people search for attorneys located near them. The directory is not a recommendation or referral to an attorney.
It is a good idea to plan to meet with at least two or three attorneys.
Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so it does not cost you anything to meet with the attorney to discuss your cases. Meeting in person allows you to evaluate the attorney for yourself and obtain different opinions regarding your case. You are not obligated to hire an attorney after your initial consultation.
Before meeting with each attorney, it can help to do a little research online. You can find a great deal of information about personal injury lawyers from their websites, peer review websites, and client reviews. In addition, many lawyers have social media websites that you may also want to review.
Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you meet with a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma City, these questions can help you evaluate whether you want to hire a lawyer.
How much experience do you have handling cases similar to my case?
As stated above, you want to hire a lawyer who practices in the area of personal injury law. However, it is best to hire a lawyer with experience handling your specific type of case.
For example, if you were involved in a slip and fall accident, you want a premises liability lawyer. On the other hand, if a defective product caused your injury, then you want to search for a product liability lawyer.
Even car accident attorneys may have more experience handling certain types of cases. For instance, an attorney may handle car accident claims, but he has very little experience with cases involving commercial trucks or government vehicles.
How much time will you spend on my case?
Some attorneys have such heavy caseloads that they pass the cases to associates or paralegals to handle. While it is good for a law firm to have extensive staff resources, you want to ensure that the lawyer you hire is the person directly handling your case.
What is my personal injury claim worth?
An honest personal injury attorney will tell you that he needs to investigate the claim and analyze your damages to give you an accurate value for your case. The attorney may tell you outcomes of cases similar to your case, but your case is unique.
Search for an attorney who is willing to invest the time necessary to document your damages fully to maximize the value of your case.
How often do you go to trial?
Some personal injury attorneys are known to settle every case to avoid going to court. However, you need a skilled negotiator AND an aggressive trial attorney.
Your case may need to go to trial. If so, having an attorney with experience arguing cases in court gives you a better chance of winning your case.
How long will it take to settle my case?
No attorney can give you a specific timeline for settling your personal injury claim. However, an experienced attorney explains the steps necessary to pursue your case. The lawyer should be able to examine the facts of your case and give you an estimate of a timeline based on what he knows at that time.
Things to Consider When Searching for an Attorney
Some of the important factors that you want to compare when you interview attorneys include:
Ability to communicate effectively
Good listening skills
Experience and education
Special skills, qualifications, and certifications
Adequate support staff
Compassionate and patient
The money you receive for a personal injury claim cannot undo the pain and suffering you experienced. However, it can help pay for ongoing care and reimburse you for financial losses. Make sure you invest the time necessary to find the best personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City for your case.
After an accident in Texas, you’ll only have one opportunity to seek compensation for your financial costs, physical trauma, and emotional suffering. Ultimately, choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you will be one of the most important decisions you make. In fact, your choice of attorney can make or break your case. It can impact how much money you win – or if your case is even a success, at all.
But how do you find the best personal injury lawyer to help you? It can be more difficult than it should be. Law firms advertise on TV, billboards, and the radio. They spend tons of money on marketing to get their law firm websites to rank high on Google search results. They might bombard you with information – but not necessarily the information you need to pick a lawyer.
So, here’s what you really need to know about finding the best personal injury lawyer in Texas.
First – Understand the Lawyer’s Role in Your Life After an Accident
Before you hire a lawyer, you need to understand what an attorney does in your case. Lawyers perform a few vital functions.
Here are some of the most important ones:
Provide Legal Advice and Counsel
As a legal adviser and counselor, your lawyer should provide you with clear explanations of the law. The lawyer should provide an objective evaluation of your case. This includes telling you about any problems in your case and the risk that you might lose.
A lawyer helps you to make decisions by presenting the pros and cons of each legal strategy. A good lawyer also accounts for non-legal matters, including financial and familial considerations, when providing advice and counsel.
Represent Your Interests
A lawyer speaks for you when negotiating with claims adjusters. The lawyer acts on your behalf and in your best interests. The lawyer must also satisfy their ethical duties by dealing fairly and honestly with opposing parties and the court.
Advocate for Your Legal Rights
The lawyer uses the knowledge and experience gained through their practice to formulate the best possible legal arguments to support your position. They seek to obtain the best possible outcome for your case within the bounds of the law and ethical rules.
Provide Support and Guidance During a Tough Time
Your lawyer should do more than handle the technical and legal aspects of your case. Your lawyer should be able to provide support, guidance, and a true sense of comfort to you as you navigate the challenges of your post-accident life.
Their job isn’t just to help you win a legal dispute – their job is to help you move forward and work toward rebuilding your life. An attorney who is genuinely empathetic and caring about your situation will work that much harder to get the best results for your case.
Strategies For Finding the Best Lawyer For Your Personal Injury Case
Finding the best lawyer means finding the right one for you and your case. Lawyers have different skills, experiences, and personalities. The best lawyer for one case might not provide the right fit for another case.
1. Use Online Reviews as Guidance
Online reviews can provide a lot of great information about attorneys and law firms. You can get a sense of how former clients felt about their experiences and identify potential issues that might not make that particular lawyer the best fit for you.
But, reviews should be considered with a grain of salt. They might not always provide a reliable assessment of a lawyer’s skills. Opposing parties can manipulate online reviews after losing a case. Dissatisfied clients are more likely to submit negative reviews than satisfied clients are to submit positive reviews. As a result, a lawyer’s online reviews might present a skewed view.
Instead of looking at online reviews, look at the lawyer’s ratings from legal directories like AVVO and Martindale-Hubbell. These publications use algorithms based on surveys of colleagues and clients, as well as objective records such as court verdicts and disciplinary histories.
These ratings can provide a more reliable summary of a lawyer’s background, skill, and ethics than online reviews.
2. Look for Experience – Especially With Cases Like Yours
Experience matters. The more experience an attorney has, the better they’ll understand the laws and procedures related to your case. It’s not just overall experience that matters, either. Consider how much experience an attorney has handling cases like yours.
In Texas, different types of personal injury cases can be subject to different rules and laws. Some of these areas of law are quite complicated – like workers’ compensation or medical negligence. Having an attorney who not only has experience with these types of claims, but who specializes in them, can offer you a huge advantage.
They’ll already have tackled the learning curve, know the parties who are regularly involved in these types of disputes, and have developed strategies to help their clients win.
Prior run-ins with the state bar are a red flag. Ethical violations can put your case at risk. You also need to know if the state bar has suspended or disbarred them. If the lawyer is currently under suspension or disbarred, they cannot practice law.
4. Schedule a Free Consultation – and Take Advantage of the Time to Learn About the Lawyer
Most injury lawyers offer free consultations. This isn’t just an opportunity for them to learn about and assess your case. It’s an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn about the attorney.
Ask them about their experience. Ask them if they have handled cases like yours. Ask them about their approach – and who at the firm would be handling your case if you hired them.
What does your gut tell you about the attorney? Would you feel comfortable confiding in them and being honest about every aspect of your case? Do you think your personalities would get along well?
Don’t underestimate these things. Trust your instincts.
5. Talk About Fees
Attorney fees can create friction between lawyers and clients. Avoid this issue by discussing fees during the free consultation.
Make sure you ask questions about how case-related expenses will be handled. Ask if the attorney’s fee be calculated before or after those are factored into the equation. Whether or not the attorney’s fee will be determined using the gross recovery or net award can have a sizable impact on how much money you’re ultimately awarded when your case is over.
You can also look for warning flags like vague answers to your questions about fees and costs.
6. Ask About the Merits of Your Case
At an initial consultation, most lawyers will give you a preliminary assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. A lawyer might even provide an estimate of the compensation you could expect to receive for your injuries.
This conversation can help you to set your expectations for your case. It also gives you a chance to assess the lawyer’s logic and communication skills. You do not want a lawyer who cannot communicate clearly. If you cannot follow the lawyer’s explanation about your case, a claims adjuster or juror might also be unable to follow the lawyer’s logic.
7. Consider Past Results
Past results won’t guarantee future success. But, it’s important to consider an attorney’s ability to win compensation for their clients.
What kind of results can they show you? Do they seem to have a demonstrated ability to win? Does it appear that they are eager to settle or can they show that they’re willing to take cases the distance to trial, when necessary?
Results – above and beyond the amounts recovered – can tell you a lot about a lawyer.
Making the Decision to Hire an Attorney After an Accident in Texas
If you have the time, think about your options. After you find a lawyer you like, contact their law office to hire them. The lawyer will have a fee agreement that you will need to review and sign. You will also need to sign a HIPAA release so your doctors can provide medical records to the lawyer.
Once the lawyer has your written consent to represent you, they can get started on recovering fair compensation for your injuries.