What Is the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Lawsuit?
There's no bright-line test for how to choose a personal injury lawyer, but there are qualities that you can look for to help you in your search. Choosing a personal injury lawyer is an important decision, as this is the person and law firm that you will be working with for quite some time.
On average, many personal injury cases take at least one year to settle. Going to trial can take even longer. Because there are multiple parties, factors, and laws at play, it can take a long time to gather all the relevant information. For this reason, it's especially critical that you find a personal injury attorney that is a good fit for you.
When choosing a personal injury lawyer, keep in mind that this is someone that you will be working with for an extended period of time. You want to make sure that he or she is a good fit and that you are confident in your decision. Any doubts you have now may go away, or they may grow over time if not addressed early on.
Scheduling initial consultations with multiple attorneys gives you an opportunity to speak with different attorneys before you make a decision. It's in your and the attorney's best interests that you make a reasoned and sound decision when you decide to hire the attorney.
For these initial consults, this is a good chance for you to ask the attorney about his or her impression of the case. You can also the attorneys about their background. For example, ask about where they went to school, their career path leading to the current law firm, and past cases. You might also talk with the attorney about how much to accept from a car accident settlement under the circumstances.
Peruse prospective attorneys' websites to get an idea of what cases they have handled. If your case is a car accident lawsuit, for example, read through their practice area pages and blog posts. See if he or she has recent and useful information related to your situation.
In the consultation, that is a perfect chance for you to ask him or her about the cases he or she has handled in the past. But also keep in mind that no two cases are identical. Just because the attorney has not handled an identical case in the past does not mean that he or she isn't equipped to handle your matter. If he or she has handled related cases, that could very well be sufficient.
Before you hire an attorney, make sure that you have thoroughly read and understand how he or she charges to handle personal injury cases. For example, ask if he or she charges a flat fee, hourly, or a contingency fee. Understand if he or she charges any upfront legal fees to handle the case, or if he or she only gets paid if the firm wins the case, and you receive a payout.
The attorney likely can't reveal confidential information about past clients, but he or she may point you to client reviews and testimonials. Look through this material and see what kinds of feedback people have about working with the lawyer or law firm. This can be a good indicator of what you might expect when working with him or her, keeping in mind that every situation is different.
You can also ask the attorney about what makes him or her a good fit for the case, and how the current case is or is not similar to a past case.