If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, choosing a personal injury lawyer is one of the most important decisions you can make on your path to recovery. But how do you know which personal injury law firm is the right fit for your case?
It is important to find a lawyer who shares your values and will represent what is most important to you. Below is a 4-step guide to help make choosing an attorney a little easier. For a more in-depth guide, read our book, Accidents Happen: A Consumer’s Guide to the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death System, now available to read for free online.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Legal Needs
Before anything else, take some time to determine whether you need a lawyer for your personal injury claim. Consider these questions:
- Have you or a loved one been in an accident that was caused by someone else?
- Were you injured in that accident? Was a loved one killed?
- If you or a loved one was injured, was the injury severe enough to require substantial medical treatment? Did it cause missed work or school, lost wages, or long-term disability? Did you experience pain and suffering, emotional trauma, or other life-changing consequences?
If you answered yes to the above questions, it is likely that you need a personal injury attorney to help you recover the full amount the at-fault party owes you for your injuries. This is especially true if the other party or their insurance company is making it difficult to collect what you are rightfully owed.
For more information, see our post Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Step 2: Talk to Attorneys About Your Case
Most personal injury and accident attorneys offer free consultations. Take advantage of these offers, and talk to one or more attorneys about the specifics of your case.
There are many questions you should ask during your consultation with an attorney, and those are outlined in our post, 17 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Attorney During a Free Consultation. However, these are most important questions, at least to start:
- What are the firm’s key practice areas?
- Have they handled personal injury cases like yours? If so, what were the results?
- Does the firm have trial experience in the local courts? This is important if the case goes to court.
- What are your fees and payment requirements? (More on that below.)
The more information you have about your prospective lawyer, the easier it is for you to choose the best lawyer to represent you.
The law firms you call will also have questions for you. It is crucial to be 100% honest and share every detail about your potential case, even if you think some aspects of the case make you look bad. If your lawyer doesn’t have all the information, it is difficult to assess what it will take to win your case.
Step 3: Understand the Costs and Fees
During your attorney consultations, make sure you understand very clearly what each law firm will charge you, what all the legal fees are for, and how and when you will pay.
Most personal injury and accident lawyers, including TorkLaw, work under a contingency fee arrangement. The good news of a contingent fee agreement is that if the attorney doesn’t win your case or negotiate a settlement, you don’t have to pay anything.
If the attorney does win your case, you will pay them a certain percentage of the amount they recover for you. This is also good news, because it provides an incentive for the attorney to recover the most money possible, because their attorney fees are based on that amount.
Attorneys who work on a contingency fee basis also typically pay all case costs up front with no out-of-pocket expenses from the client. Again, these expenses will be deducted from your recovery if you win. At TorkLaw, if you don’t win, you don’t pay anything for case costs. For more information, see our section on Contingency Fees.
Make sure you understand the fee agreement and all terms of payment with the attorney at the outset. However, if any law firm or attorney promises you “guaranteed results,” this is a red flag. Should a lawyer guarantee a specific outcome, you should run in the other direction. All cases are different and there are absolutely no certainties. Guaranteeing results is an ethical violation.
You may have a good feeling about one law firm. And that’s great – you should feel good about your choice. But don’t base your choice simply on a gut feeling. Unfortunately, there are unethical attorneys out there who are very good at telling people exactly what they want to hear – but then don’t deliver a thing.
Consider these factors in dealing with a lawyer:
- How easy is it to communicate with your law firm? Is the lawyer typically available to speak with you? How responsive is the lawyer to email or text? Does the lawyer provide a cell phone number? Are you able to reach the lawyer and staff after business hours, or on weekends, and holidays? Does the firm have a client portal where you can see documents related to your case? If you’re not sure, check out their client reviews on lawyer review sites like Avvo and others.
- Has the prospective attorney been accused of misconduct? Find out at your state’s legal licensing authority’s website.
- What are the law firm’s recognitions and awards? These are indicative of how their peers in the legal community see them.
- Who else will be working on your case? What is the relationship you will have with the attorney and their staff? Will you receive any additional help throughout your case?
At TorkLaw, our attorneys are experienced at handling many types of accident injury cases involving car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other types of vehicle and transportation accidents. We have also successfully represented clients who have been injured by dangerous and defective products, and clients who have been hurt on another party’s property.
Check out our Practice Areas page to view the types of cases in which we have successfully recovered millions of dollars for our clients. If you have been injured in a similar type of accident, please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation, and the opportunity to serve you.
Fill out the form on this page or call 888.845.9696.