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.
Many factors impact how much you can recover from a personal injury claim. Some are statutory factors that apply in every case; others are case-specific.
Understanding the types of damages available in a Massachusetts personal injury case can help you determine your case’s value.
Types of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Cases
Generally, you can receive three types of damages when another party causes you injury: economic, non-economic, and punitive. These damages are typically available in all injury cases, including fatal car accidents, medical malpractice, product liability claims, slip and fall accidents, and more.
Compensatory damages are divided into two categories.
Special damages, or “economic damages,” represent an injury victim’s financial losses and out-of-pocket expenses related to an accident and injury.
Examples of economic damages include:
Medications and medical equipment
Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
Loss of income, including a reduction in earning potential
An injury victim proves the value of these damages through receipts, invoices, bills, and pay stubs. Future financial losses are also available in a personal injury claim, including ongoing medical care and future lost income. Medical experts and economists often assist in estimating future financial damages.
General damages, or “non-economic damages,” represent the pain and suffering an accident victim experiences because of an injury or accident.
Examples of general damages include:
Physical pain and discomfort
Mental anguish and trauma
Psychological injuries, including anxiety, depression, and PTSD
Scarring, disfigurement, and permanent impairments or disabilities
Decreases in quality of life and enjoyment of life
Non-economic damages are subjective and therefore more difficult to calculate. There is not a statutory formula for valuing pain and suffering.
Many personal injury lawyers, insurance providers, and juries use the multiplier method to value non-economic damages. Parties assign a number between 1.5 and five to a victim’s case based on the severity of their injuries and other factors. Then, the parties multiply that number by the total amount of economic damages to arrive at a value for pain and suffering losses.
These damages are unique as they are not compensatory in nature. Instead, punitive damages “punish” the at-fault party for egregious wrongdoing, such as wanton, willful conduct taken without regard for others’ safety.
Factors That Impact the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim in Massachusetts
Common factors that impact how much money a personal injury claim is worth are:
Some states limit the amount of money a victim may receive for non-economic damages. Massachusetts does not cap non-economic damages, except in medical malpractice cases.
According to MGLA 231 §60H, there is a $500,000 cap on non-economic damages in actions against health care providers.
There is an exception to the rule. The jury may award a higher amount for non-economic damages if the jury finds that there is:
Substantial or permanent impairment of a bodily function
Other special circumstances that warrant a higher amount for general damages
The jury must find that the imposition of a cap would deprive the victim of just compensation for the injuries incurred.
You must prove that the other party was at fault for the cause of your injury to recover injury-related damages. However, suppose you were partially responsible for the cause of your injury. In this case, Massachusetts’s comparative negligence law will reduce your damages to account for your share of the blame.
However, if you were 51 percent or more at fault for the cause of your injury, you could not recover any money for your damages. This rule is known as a “51% bar.”
Severity of Injuries
Generally, cases involving catastrophic injuries or permanent impairments are worth more than cases involving minor injuries. There are several reasons for this trend.
First, it costs more to treat and care for catastrophic injuries. If a person has a disability, they may require ongoing medical treatment and 24/7 personal care.
Second, a person with a traumatic injury typically loses more time from work, which increases the amount of lost income. Permanent impairments can significantly reduce the person’s ability to earn an income in the future.
Third, it is generally presumed that a person suffers more when they sustain severe injuries. Therefore, the pain and suffering damages are likely to be higher in these cases.
Your Case Is Unique, So Don’t Base It on Another Case
Other factors could impact the value of your case, such as:
The availability of insurance coverage
The parties involved in the case
The statute of limitations
The willingness of insurance providers and other parties to negotiate in good faith
You should consider seeking legal counsel before settling a claim on your own. Most settlement agreements contain waivers of future liability. You cannot demand more money after settling the claim — even if you discover additional damages.
Knowing how much your personal injury claim is worth is essential to protect your best interest.
Each year, about 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. More than 3,500 of those deaths occur on California roads. Of course, this isn’t a statistic most people wantto consider. But if you spend any time behind the wheel, it’s important that you understand the dangers.
The aftermath of any car accident is chaotic. Add alcohol to the situation and things can get out of control quickly. Sometimes, worst-case scenarios are unavoidable.
If you do find yourself in a drunk driving accident, stay on top of the situation by answering these four questions:
1. Does the Other Driver Have Insurance?
To answer this question, you will need to make sure you file a police report at the scene of the accident. Any police officer who is called to the scene will compile this and other related information.
Later, you can obtain the report, which can help you to determine whether your injuries and damages will be covered by insurance.
It is uncommon, but sometimes, a driver will not have adequate insurance to pay for the damages they cause. In those cases, it may be necessary to take the driver to court to pursue compensation.
Understanding where the driver stands on insurance will help you know where to turn for coverage.
2. Was Anyone Injured?
If anyone was injured in the accident, make sure to call for medical care. Even if you don’t feel a lot of pain, make sure that you visit a medical professional immediately after the accident. Sometimes, the shock of the accident itself can mask common symptoms of pain.
If you have adequate medical records showing that you pursued treatment right away, you can begin to build a case to pursue compensation for your injuries from the other driver.
3. Is the Bar or Restaurant that Served the Alcohol Liable?
It can be difficult to prove that a bar or restaurant is liable for your injuries or damages. In California, a third party is usually only held liable if they served alcohol to a minor.
With that being said, you may be able to pursue criminal charges against an establishment if it appears they acted negligently. Did the third party serve alcohol to a known or habitual drunkard? If the answer is yes, the establishment may be charged with a misdemeanor, according to California Business and Professions Code Section 25602.
4. Do You Have a Lawyer?
This last question is the most important. Without a lawyer, it can be difficult to navigate the specific nuances of your case.
When you hire a legal professional, you can expect them to offer the following services:
Obtain and evaluate the police report
Pursue insurance claims
Collect your medical records
Help you to fight for adequate compensation for your injuries and/or damages
After you have been hit by a drunk driver, we recommend that you call an attorney immediately. That way, you can move forward with professional guidance. A lawyer will work hard to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Drive Defensively and Avoid DUI Accidents Whenever Possible
The primary goal is always to avoid these accidents in the first place. To do that, we recommend that you drive safely and defensively.
Defensive driving is easy and requires only a little more focus and awareness than you may typically implement. Safe driving habits will help to protect you from drunk, distracted, or negligent drivers that you may encounter on the road.
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.