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Five Essential Tips to Choosing The Right Personal Injury Lawyer
You shouldn't just turn to the first counselor that pops up on TV; look for someone with experience representing injured people in personal injury claims.
Finding legal counsel that you can trust will help you for a long time to come.
Find An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer There are several ways to get referrals on experienced attorneys.
Once you get them, make sure to conduct some comparison-shopping.
Get their names from friends, colleagues, or from law directories.
Your State Bar Association keeps records of all people authorized to practice in your state.
Utilize these resources to narrow your choices, and then begin making some appointments for your complimentary consultation.
Personal References Perhaps you know a lawyer; ask them for a recommendation.
Alternatively, one of your non-lawyer friends may refer you as well.
If they have good things to say about their attorney, put them on your list of people to contact.
Take care to not come to any conclusions based on someone else's recommendation alone, however.
Different people will offer different responses, and ultimately, it is up to you to make the final decision.
Directories There are a number of databases available to you where you just type in some basic information about your case and the system matches you with proper counsel.
Some directories, such as NOLO's Lawyer Directory, offer comprehensive details on each attorney.
They usually include details about education, experience, fees, and perhaps most importantly, personal legal philosophy.
Most databases require these members of the bar to sign a pledge agreeing to stay in contact with you and to provide you with a clear statement of fees.
Typically, legal services of this sort are offered on a contingency basis, meaning, you don't pay unless you win your case.
Members of the Bar Perhaps you've contacted a personal injury lawyer that doesn't specialize in your type of case.
Don't worry, you can ask them for a referral.
Referrals are common in the legal industry.
But, as with personal references, do not take a single person's word as final.
Continue your research until you are 100% comfortable.
Choosing the Best Representative It's not about who gives you the most confusing answer.
So start by asking simple questions like, "What is justice?" and "How long have you been barred in this state?" Their answers can help you come to a final decision.
Additionally, bring copies of your police report, hospital records, a list of potential witnesses and all relevant documentation with you.
It's important to note that initial consultations are typically done for free.
Be sure to clear that with a paralegal prior to sealing your appointment.
Rule of thumb: if you're being charged for an initial consultation, perhaps you should consider looking elsewhere for help.
Settlement Goal(s) After you've discussed the facts of your case, you may be able to get a sense of what your case is worth, and how difficult (or easy) it may be to win.
Your personal injury lawyer may then ask if you're willing to "settle out of court.
" If you feel comfortable with their philosophy, experience, and more importantly, his/her idea of how to proceed with the case, then you've probably found a good fit.