Finding a personal injury attorney for your case is like finding a needle in a haystack—there are many firms out there, but you want the right fit. Because your choice of attorney will impact your case and your experiences throughout what can be a long process, this is a major decision you need to make early in the process. Before you compile a dauntingly long list of prospects, here's how to find the right attorney for your personal injury case
Speak to attorneys you already know
Even if you've never hired an attorney before, you may know one socially or through work. Attorneys often have networks of other attorneys they know and trust; ask your attorney friend or acquaintance if they can recommend any personal injury attorneys in your area. At the very least, they might be able to tell you which firms to avoid. Add any prospects to your search list.
Talk to friends and family
Even if you don't know any attorneys, your friends and family members might have attorney connections. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who went through a personal injury case or knows someone who did. Any recommendations you receive from friends and relatives can go right onto your prospects list.
Use an online directory
There are many free online directories for finding attorneys. You can generally filter your results by location, primary practice and more. Keep in mind that while these directories are good resources for finding names for your list, they should not be viewed as endorsements of the attorney's skills. Firms can advertise themselves on these listings, so they are more of a starting point for identifying attorneys for further review. In addition to various commercial sites, your state bar association should have an attorney referral service you can browse by practice area.
Research names on your list
Once you've received recommendations from other attorneys, friends, relatives and acquaintances and used online resources to identify potential attorneys for your case, it's time to do some web research to narrow the list.
First, check each firm with the relevant local bar association and/or state supreme court. On one or both of those sites, you will find online lookup tools to check an attorney's license status and whether they've ever gotten into trouble and had action taken against their license. If you discover one of the attorneys has had action taken against them, you may want to remove them from your list. At the very least, you need to consider the nature of their infraction and why the state regulatory authority decided to take action against them.
Second, search the attorneys online to find reviews from clients who have used them. You may find testimonials from satisfied clients on their websites, but treat those with a grain of salt—a firm will never post a critical testimonial on its own website. Other areas of the web, such as Google Business, may have more independent reviews from people who have actually used the firm's services. However, consider the content of a review before you strike an attorney from your list. Sometimes, clients are simply unhappy with their case's outcome, but this doesn't mean the personal injury attorney did a poor job. Remember that personal injury attorneys handle complex, intimate and emotionally charged matters. Consider the possibility that a reviewer might be taking out frustrations on the personal injury attorney for which the attorney is not truly responsible.
Set up interviews
Once you've got your prospective attorney list down to a handful of names, schedule consultations with each one. Be ready to explain your case at the consultation and ask some questions, including whether the attorney has handled cases similar to yours before, how their office communicates with clients and how they structure their fees. You should receive clear, easily understandable responses to your questions, and you should also learn what each attorney thinks of your case and how they would approach it. Use these answers to decide which attorney is the right fit. Your personal impression matters, too. You must be comfortable with and confident in the attorney you choose. If you're not, it can have a negative impact on your relationship with your attorney and, therefore, a negative impact on your case.
Take the time needed to find the right attorney for your personal injury case. Although it can be tempting to rush in full speed ahead, this is one of the most important decisions you'll make in your case.
Please be advised that this is provided for general information purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by the provision of this information. The best resource for information about your case is consulting an attorney.