Choosing a personal injury attorney to handle your accident claim can seem overwhelming. There are many accident attorneys in Los Angeles. So, how do you find a good personal injury lawyer who works on personal injury cases like your case?
Hiring a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles does not need to be complicated when you keep the following things in mind:
Find Attorneys That Practice the Area of Law You Need
When you hire a lawyer, you want an attorney who has extensive experience handling the same type of case as your case. Not all personal injury claims involve the same legal theories and laws.
For example, if your case involves medical malpractice, you want to hire a medical malpractice lawyer. On the other hand, if your case involves a defective product, you should hire an attorney who handles product liability claims.
Only Hire Licensed Personal Injury Lawyers
Before you hire an attorney to handle your case, check with the California State Bar to verify the attorney is licensed to practice law in California and is in good standing. You can also inquire about the lawyer’s discipline record and whether clients have filed complaints against the attorney.
Consider Experience, Resources, & Skills
The attorney’s length of practice, firm size, and qualifications can impact the level of legal representation you receive from a lawyer. You should not eliminate all small firms or attorneys with less experience. However, you want to weigh these factors when hiring a lawyer for a personal injury case.
The firm needs to have the resources to hire medical experts, investigators, and other expert witnesses as necessary. Also, attorneys develop contacts, skills, and expertise the longer they practice in a specific area of law. In addition to understanding the law, their experience helps them understand how insurance companies handle cases, factors that jurors weigh when deciding a case, and how local judges rule in various matters.
Read the Lawyers Website and Materials
You can gain a lot of information about a law firm and a lawyer by reading their website. Attorneys dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured victims and their families take time to develop their websites as a resource for potential clients. They want to provide useful and informative information that can help you understand your legal rights and what you should do if another party has injured you.
Read Reviews From Prior Clients and Peers
There are two types of lawyer review sites.
Client reviews can give you an idea about an attorney’s success rate in prior cases. It can also provide insight into whether prior clients had issues or problems during their case. While some clients might be dissatisfied, the overall client reviews should be positive.
Attorneys also review each other. Peer review websites like Martindale-Hubbell allow lawyers to rate their peers based on several areas, including legal competency. Because these reviews are from peers, they can indicate whether a lawyer has a good reputation within the legal community.
Schedule a Free Consultation
After narrowing down your choices to two or three law firms, schedule consultations with each law firm. Most lawyers offer free consultations. Therefore, you can meet with several law firms.
A lawyer could be called into court without much notice, or an emergency could result in the attorney being unable to meet with you. However, you need to meet with the attorney who will handle your case before you hire a law firm. Meeting with the lawyer allows you to judge the lawyer’s personality and whether or not you feel comfortable working with them.
Things to consider when deciding whether you want to hire a lawyer include:
- Did the lawyer listen to you and respond to your concerns and questions?
- Do you feel comfortable talking to the attorney?
- Did you get the sense that the lawyer was being truthful with you about your case?
- Were you able to communicate with the lawyer effectively?
If you feel uneasy or get the sense that you cannot trust the lawyer, move on. Trusting a lawyer and communicating with them is the key to a successful attorney-client relationship.
Prepare a List of Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
An attorney should allow you to ask questions during a free consultation. Therefore, come to the meeting prepared with a list of questions.
Questions to ask a personal injury attorney during your free consultation include:
- How much experience do you have handling personal injury claims like my case?
- Will you handle my case personally? If not, who manages my case?
- How many cases do you settle versus how many cases do you take to trial?
- What is the process used to pursue a personal injury claim?
- What can I expect regarding communication from your office and case updates?
- What is your rate for attorneys’ fees? Do you work on a contingency fee basis?
- Will I be responsible for paying advanced costs? How are costs handled if you do not recover money for my claim?
- What types of damages could I recover for my case?
- What problems or issues do you see with my case?
- What do you believe is a realistic expectation for the outcome of my case? How much is my case worth?
You may also want to ask specific questions about things you read on the attorney’s website or statements made by previous clients in reviews.
Review Your Options and Decide Which Attorney to Hire
After meeting with each lawyer on your shortlist, consider everything you have learned. You may need to take a few days to review your notes and think about your comfort level with each lawyer.
Once you decide which attorney to hire, make an appointment to sign a retainer agreement and contingency fee agreement. Even though these documents are lengthy, read the entire document. Ask questions about the terms of the agreement until you are comfortable signing the documents.
Never feel you must hire a personal injury lawyer during a free consultation. The outcome of your personal injury case can significantly impact your future. Therefore, you want to take the time to choose the right attorney for your case.
However, be aware that California sets statutes of limitations for filing lawsuits. Therefore, it is always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after an injury or accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers
Meeting with our accident lawyers to discuss your case does not cost you anything. Please contact our law firm or call us at (877) 300-4535 to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney. We are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve after an accident or personal injury.