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Published On: Fri, May 26th, 2017

8 Things To Consider When Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer

When you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit in San Francisco, it can be an uphill battle. Most people have the wrong impression that a personal injury case is “easy money,” but it is anything but easy money. Although most lawyers will take your case on a contingency basis — which means they only collect their fee when you get paid — you only get one shot to get it right.  Being careful and doing your research about who you hire can have a huge bearing on how much you recover for your damages and injuries. There are eight important things to consider in a personal injury lawsuit to ensure that you have the right lawyer in your corner.

Photo/Nodar Kherkheulidze via wikimedia commons

Location

Hiring someone local is very important to your personal injury case. Sometimes lawsuits can drag out for years and will require a lot of interaction between you and your San Francisco personal injury lawyer. Not only will it be more convenient for you to find someone who is close by for logistic reasons, but they will also know the laws of the state and how best to build your case. Also, when you choose someone local, you are more likely going to learn about their reputation via word of mouth.

Specialty

If you are involved in a slip and fall case or a dog-bite case, your choice of lawyer will be better if you find someone who has experience in your specific case. Lawyers typically choose one type of accident to specialize in. Even if they are a personal injury lawyer, finding out how many times they have dealt with your specific type of injury is important.

Reputation

It is imperative that you do some real research before hiring a personal injury attorney. That not only includes checking with the local bar association, but looking at the types of accreditation they have as well. You can look online to find out what other people are saying, but be careful. Sometimes online reviews are nothing more than paid advertising. Yes, some reviews can be bought and paid for; it isn’t that unusual.

Years of experience

You don’t want to be the lawsuit that gets the lawyer’s feet wet. Sure, younger lawyers can be more zealous and eager about your case, but that doesn’t mean they have the expertise to get you the fair compensation you deserve. Find someone who has many years in the field. They know the ins and outs — and have likely made a lot of mistakes with someone else, so that they won’t make the same with your case.

Disciplinary record

Make sure that your lawyer is in good standing with all the legal associations and that they don’t have any negative marks on their record. If they work in a specific location, that can taint your case; or the judge might have an issue with them, which also won’t help you.

Trial experience

Most personal injury cases never make it to trial. The goal is to try to find a fair settlement outside of the courtroom. That can leave many San Francisco personal injury lawyers with little to no time inside an actual courtroom. Make sure that if your case does have to go to trial, your attorney is well-versed enough to handle the case should it proceed to the court docket.

Win record

It is important to know your attorney’s history regarding the number of times they have won a case versus lost. That isn’t always easy to discern. It might take a little more investigation to find out what their track record is like.

Cost

Cost is always going to be a consideration. Since most personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, they will take a percentage of whatever they can recover. Make sure to find one that isn’t going to take too much of the pie. Even if you win, it isn’t really a win in your favor if you end up having to give away most of it.

When you are looking for a personal injury lawyer, take your time, ask the right questions and do your research. Who you hire is going to impact the odds of winning your case and the amount you are awarded. Consider these eight things before you hire anyone to build your case.

Author: Samantha Waites

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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