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Looking for the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Choosing the right lawyer can make an immense difference in the result of your personal injury claim, which makes picking out the right lawyer a vital decision. Majority of lawyers who concentrate on personal injury law represent only one side of these cases – either the plaintiff (the injured person) or the defendant (the person entity that allegedly caused the injury). Generally, personal recommendations and word of mouth are the best place to begin a search for a lawyer. Online is also a great place for putting together your initial list of prospects.

Whittling It Down

Regardless of where you found your prospects, you’ll want to trim down that list to three or four using the following criteria:
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> Biographical Information – Know the background of the lawyer. His profile must offer a picture of the types of cases he often handles (and which side he’s on). If it’s hard to tell, just call the office and ask directly. Explore these lawyers’ websites and see what other information is there. The more you know about them, the better.
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> Professional Associations – See if the attorney belongs to any trial lawyers’ associations, whether local, state or national.

> Location – If you have a working relationship with a lawyer whose practice is based in another area, ask for names of some good local prospects.

> Professional Standing – Get in touch with your state bar association or check out their website to see if the lawyer you are eyeing is in good standing.

Conflicts of Interest

Does the attorney represent any person who may be affiliated with any of the parties you are thinking of suing, or any person with an interest in the case outcome? Once you’ve trimmed down your list of prospects, ask them each about a consultation . You don’t have to cross a lawyer off your list simply because he doesn’t have the time for an appointment with you on short notice. Remember, if a personal injury lawyer is busy, he must be good.

Money Issues

Most personal injury claim scenarios make it possible to pay an attorney on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that you will only have to pay the lawyer when you have received the settlement or court award – usually about a third of that amount – and if you don’t receive any, your lawyer won’t get paid his legal fees either. In any case, you have to read the contract before signing it, and understand that you may still have to pay for costs associated with your case (which are separate from legal fees), like expert witness fees, court stenographer fees, etc.