You will most likely never interact with a personal injury attorney until you need one. And when you need one, you unfortunately need to act quickly and make a decision while emotionally distraught, confused, or distracted. Unlike having a doctor, dentist, or car repair person who you see on a regular basis, you probably won’t have a personal injury attorney who already knows you well.
When you start searching, you’ll find almost too many personal injury attorneys that fill up your Internet searches and phone book. So many, and they all claim the same things. How do you select the great from the good or average personal injury attorneys?
Here’s a quick checklist that will increase your probability of selecting a great attorney.
- Experience and specialized knowledge. Check to see how long the personal injury attorney has practiced. Generally, at least a decade of experience (although more is better) indicates that the attorney has lasted in business for a long time and formed connections with the court system. Plus, look for specialized knowledge in personal injury law. Many attorneys claim to handle everything, but they aren’t really experts. For example, an area like truck accidents requires specialized knowledge about specific trucking laws and regulations along with knowing how to negotiate with different trucking companies and employers.
- A successful track record. Look at both hard numbers and satisfied clients. A great attorney will have won cases against major companies and organizations that resulted in large settlements or successful verdicts. The personal injury attorney should share some examples that include hard dollars and specifics about each case. Another good sign to look for are positive client testimonials with specifics about why the client liked working with the attorney. Don’t just look at the attorney’s website, but also check independent review sites to see what people have said.
- A hands-on working relationship. A large firm or big name attorney might meet with you initially and make you feel really great. Later, you’ll find out that junior attorneys and interns are handling the day-to-day details of your case. That’s not a great attorney. Sure, a great attorney will still rely on a great team to help with a case, but that attorney should be rolling up their sleeves and getting deeply involved in your case. After all, it’s their experience and know-how that you need for success.
- A realistic approach. A great attorney is also a realistic attorney. TV commercials and websites might claim that your attorney will get you millions of dollars for your case. That’s a huge claim—especially when they don’t yet even know the details of your case. Instead of shooting for the moon, a great attorney will map out some realistic plans, options, and alternatives based on the concrete details of your case—and clearly explain them to you.
- Consideration and respect. This may seem like it’s not as important compared to the other elements of greatness above, but it’s an essential and often overlooked aspect of great personal injury attorneys. They can have decades of experience, a wonderful track record, and a powerful work ethic. But if they talk down to you or pressure you without acknowledging your emotions, confusion, and anxiety about your situation, you will feel like they aren’t really listening or caring. Great attorneys offer free consultations to allow you to explain your situation, and they don’t charge a fee until you win or collect. That takes pressure off you both financially and psychologically so that you can let the attorney worry about your case without unnecessarily burdening you.
Use this checklist to assess attorneys as you consider one for your personal injury case. And contact us for a free consultation to put us to the greatness test.