I'm going to need to hire a personal injury attorney, and was wondering what the best thing to look for it, to make sure I'm getting a good one.
There is no one thing to look for. You should look them up on the State Bar website, look at their firm website, look at sites like AVVO, look to see if they actually litigate cases versus just settle them, you should be comfortable with the attorney and their staff, how long has the firm been in business, are they board certified, are they active in the legal community, do opposing counsel and the insurance companies respect them? These are some things you should consider.
Licensed in your state. Board certification in Personal Injury. Martindale Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, Avvo ratings and such are good. Local contacts are good, but I retain local counsel when needed. Personal attributes can best be judged by talking to the lawyer. Good luck.
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Depends on the type of case but I would look for their Martindale- Hubbell rating for ethics and competence and look at their track record. Look for years of experience and if you like them and trust them.
Kevin R. Madison
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If your case is in Texas, you will want to ask if the lawyer is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. You should also ask how many personal injury jury trials the lawyer has tried in his or her career. Ask the lawyer what types of personal injury cases he or she has handled, and what type of verdicts has the lawyer obtained for the clients. Ask if the lawyer will be handling the case himself or herself, instead of someone else in the firm handling it. Ask if the lawyer has ever had a grievance filed against him or her. Be sure that the lawyer is not going to refer the case out to another lawyer, as many advertising lawyers on TV and in phone books do just that. Ask how the lawyer anticipates the case will be developed and the amount of time that is expected to conclude the case. Don't let a lawyer pressure you into signing a contract just because you've made an appointment. Make sure you feel comfortable about the lawyer you select. Remember, you should select the lawyer. The lawyer shouldn't select you. Good luck.
Nothing in this general response is intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, nor is any information intended to provide legal advice for the specific case or facts inquired about. You should always contact an attorney immediately to determine the applicable statute of limitations, any notice requirements, if you wish to obtain legal advice or if you intend to pursue a claim or case.
Trust. You have to meet or talk to the lawyer personally. You will then get a feeling one way or the other. If you do not get to talk to your lawyer personally on the first consultation, then he/she will be probably be even harder to reach once you do hire the lawyer. I intentionally keep my practice small and I am usually very selective about my cases. This way I can give each and every case individual attention. A lawyer-client relationship is not just a business arrangement, but it is also a personal relationship. A client needs to be assured that their case is being handled promptly and properly.
There are a lot of lawyers in the field of personal injury who try to settle all of their cases and not take them to trial. Make sure that the lawyer actually tries cases and files lawsuits. You can look at the Dallas County web site under online records and type in the lawyers name. This will give you an idea if the lawyer files suits or attempts to settle cases. Secondly, do you actually get to meet with a lawyer or are you directed to a case manager or paralegal. Third, don't base your decision on who has the better advertising. Meet with the lawyer and see if you get a comfortable feel with that attorney. At the end of the day, you will have to feel comfortable with your lawyer because he will be giving you advise whether to settle for an amount of money or go to trial. You need to feel that the lawyer is giving you the best advise for you and not just trying to pad his/her pocketbook.
Ideally, talk to people and get references. Find out if your attorney has tried and will try cases or if they just settle everything. Insurance companies know what lawyers settle and which ones go to court.
Also, talk to the attorney on the phone. If the attorney doesn't have time for you before you sign up, you can imagine how much time they will spend for you and with you once they already represent you.
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