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Published On: Wed, Oct 17th, 2018

6 Tips To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you probably want to do more to find a personal injury lawyer to represent you than to Google something like “slip and fall attorney in Los Angeles” and hire the first firm that pops up in the search results. Not all personal injury lawyers specialize in slip and fall accidents, and you can’t rely entirely on a simple internet search to find somebody so important.

How can you find the best personal injury lawyer to meet your needs? Here are 6 tips to hire a personal injury lawyer.

photo/Claim Accident Services

#1 – Ask for referrals

Getting a referral from somebody who has actually used the personal injury lawyer is much more reliable than relying entirely on internet reviews. If you don’t have any friends or family members who have used a personal injury lawyer, ask for referrals from other professionals you trust such as a religious leader, an accountant, or a medical professional.

#2 – Ask potential lawyers about their experience

Personal injury lawyers tend to specialize in just a few areas of personal injury, so they may not be the best fit for your case. You also want to find out how much trial experience they have. Reaching a settlement out of court may be the goal, but you want a lawyer who’s prepared to handle a court case instead of settling for a lower amount than you may deserve just to avoid going to trial.

Keep in mind that there are many different types of personal injury law, and some types even have several specialties. Make sure to find a lawyer with plenty of experience in your type of personal injury law. Different types of personal injury cases include:

  • Animal bites
  • Car accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defamation
  • Product liability
  • Assault and battery
  • Slip and fall

#3 – Discuss costs and fees up front

Most plaintiff’s-side personal injury attorneys work under a contingency fee agreement, which means they take their fee (usually around 33%) from your settlement after they win your case. There are other fees associated with a court case, though, and you need to know how they are handled.

If you lose the case, will the attorney absorb the lost costs, or will they expect you to help pay for court and legal costs? If you’re able to pay these fees if you lose your case, you may be able to negotiate a lower contingency fee.

You also want to find out if the legal costs are paid “off the top” or after your attorney gets paid. This seemingly unimportant detail could result in more money in your pocket versus your attorney’s pocket. Look for court fees that are paid off the top.

#4 – Ask who will handle your case

The lawyer you consult with (or whose face is on the billboard) may not be the one doing the bulk of the work on your case. Most lawyers will have paralegals handle many aspects of your case (which saves you on lawyer fees), while senior lawyers may pass your case off to a junior lawyer. Make sure you understand who is doing what work with your case.

#5 – Discuss your odds of winning and settlement ranges

While a personal injury lawyer can’t give you any guarantees or exact numbers, they should have a pretty good rough estimate about how likely you are to win the case and approximately how much money you may win. It’s a good idea to discuss this with several different lawyers and be suspicious of somebody who claims amounts significantly higher than other lawyers you talk to.

#6 – Trust your gut

There’s no replacing a gut feeling. If one lawyer is promising you a larger settlement than anybody else, ask why they think they can get the larger settlement. If anything feels off at all, you should pass that personal injury lawyer up and try somebody else.

After all, personal injury law is personal, so you should find somebody that you are completely comfortable with and confident in.

In conclusion, if you do your due diligence, do plenty of research, and ask any potential lawyers as many questions as possible, you should be able to find the personal injury lawyer who’s the best fit for you and your case. A little time spent before hiring a lawyer may help you get a better settlement down the road.

Author: Jose Perez

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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