According to recent statistics, 62 million people in the U.S. had to seek medical attention for an injury in 2021. That’s about 20% of the nation’s population! Even worse, someone else’s actions or negligence led to many of these injuries.
So if you’ve also sustained injuries caused by another person, consider lawyering up. A personal injury attorney can help protect and fight for your rights as an injury victim. They can aid you in getting the compensation you deserve for your damages and losses.
But with the U.S. home to over 1.3 million lawyers, how do you choose the right one for your personal injury case?
We’ve shared our top tips in this guide, so read on.
Verify the Lawyer’s Area of Expertise
Personal injury lawyers are types of attorneys who specialize in tort law. Tort law covers cases involving victims hurt or injured by someone else’s negligence.
Motor vehicle crashes, which occur every five seconds in the U.S., are a perfect example. They fall under personal injury law if they result from a negligent driver. This can be due to speeding, drunk, drugged, distracted, careless, or dangerous driving.
Since car crashes are so prevalent, it’s no wonder many injury lawyers specialize in them. Still, their expertise in such incidents doesn’t make them experts in all injury cases.
Suppose you’re a pedestrian who sustained severe injuries caused by a reckless driver. Then you should consult an attorney who’s already represented pedestrian victims like you. For a more in-depth guide on such cases, visit Alphaaccidentlawyers.com.
Aside from auto and pedestrian incidents, personal injury cases can also be in the form of dog bites. Other examples are product defects, medical errors, and medical negligence.
So before hiring a lawyer for a personal injury case, check their area of expertise first. It should include the specific type of case you want to pursue.
Check the Attorney’s Case Success Rate
After confirming the attorney handles cases like yours, check their success rate. Even if they’ve had dozens or hundreds of clients, it doesn’t matter if they won too few or none.
One way to check a lawyer’s successful case record is to check their website. Highly competent attorneys take pride in their success rate, often publishing it online. They then back this up with client testimonials.
Just to be sure, though, ask your prospective lawyer for references. Then, do a quick online search using the names provided by the attorney. You may find them on social media, considering 8 in 10 Americans use such platforms.
If you find the references online, consider reaching out to them. Ask them if they’ve indeed enlisted the legal services of your prospective lawyer. If so, ask them about their experience, if they won the case, and if they recommend the attorney.
Confirm the Lawyer’s State Bar Membership
All lawyers in all U.S. states must register with their respective state bar associations.
State bar associations license and regulate attorneys and enforce professional conduct rules. They also investigate members with complaints filed against them. They then discipline those guilty of violating the rules, laws, and codes of conduct.
Fortunately, state bar associations offer attorney information to the public for free. For example, most have websites that let you search specific attorney names. Being in the association’s directory already means they’re licensed and legit.
Aside from membership status, state bar associations also provide information about disciplinary actions. So if a lawyer committed a violation, this information should be on the association’s site.
Ethical violations don’t always equate to lawyers being bad. However, you may still want to avoid them since such violations mean they’ve broken the law. You want to hire someone who upholds, not breaks, the law.
Read Peer Reviews
One of the best ways to find a personal injury attorney you can rely on is to read peer reviews. These are reviews given by lawyers to other lawyers. You can find them on several sites, including the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry.
The Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry is a directory and a peer-review platform. It provides lawyer and law firm information, including details about specializations. Other lawyers aside, clients can also leave reviews about their attorneys.
The Best Lawyers in America is another online platform for attorney reviews. It lists U.S. attorneys selected and ranked by their peers as the best in their field of specialization. These include the “best” lawyers specializing in personal injury cases.
Schedule a Free Consultation
After taking all the steps above, you’ll likely be at the point wherein you only have one or two prospects. The free, no-obligation consultation they offer can help you decide who to hire.
During the consultation, pay attention to the attorney’s manner of speaking. Do they sound hurried, or do they explain everything to you in an easy-to-understand way? Are they abrupt and talk over you, or are they empathetic and good listeners?
You want someone who takes the time to explain things to you, empathizes, and listens well. The lawyer should also discuss their expected personal injury settlement and fees.
Speaking of fees, most personal injury lawyers don’t ask clients to pay upfront. Instead, they often only require payment if they win your case or recover damages on your behalf. They charge, on average, 25% to 40%, so anything higher than that should be a red flag.
Also, please remember that these free consultations should be non-obligatory. The lawyer shouldn’t force you to hire them after the appointment. If they do, and you don’t want to, don’t give in; report them to their state bar association instead.
Hire the Right Personal Injury Attorney
Now that you know how to hire a personal injury attorney, you should start looking for the right one. This means hiring a lawyer who specializes in and has won cases like yours. They should also be in good standing with their state bar and peers.
Just as crucial is to choose an attorney who you feel comfortable with. Lastly, hire one who won’t charge exorbitant fees and deplete your potential settlement.
For more related reading, check out our guide on the roles and duties of a personal injury lawyer!