Choosing a Connecticut personal injury lawyer may seem like a daunting process, but with these tips, you can learn important aspects to consider when comparing potential lawyers, questions to ask during the consultation, and how to narrow down your choices to choose the lawyer that is best for you and your personal injury case.
If you've been injured and want to file a claim for compensation, choosing the right personal injury lawyer is a crucial decision. Not only can having a lawyer help you file your claim correctly and within the time limit, but it can also improve your overall chances of winning your claim and getting compensation.
While choosing a personal injury lawyer may feel like an intimidating task, knowing which questions to ask, a lawyer's track record, and what type of fees they charge can help you choose the right lawyer.
How Do I Choose A Good Personal Injury Lawyer?
Prior to choosing a personal injury attorney, it's important to consider what makes a lawyer knowledgeable, trustworthy, and successful. Having a good track record as well as ample experience in personal injury can be the difference between winning and losing your case.
These helpful steps below can assist you in your search for choosing an experienced personal injury lawyer.
9 Tips For Choosing A Personal Injury Lawyer
1. Ask For Lawyer Referrals From People Around You
You may wish to ask them about their respective experiences. Be sure to ask detailed questions (without prying) to get a good picture of what each person's experience was like with their lawyer. Things to pay attention to may include whether they were satisfied with the outcome of their case, how helpful the lawyer was throughout the case, whether they felt their concerns were heard and their legal needs fully addressed, and if they went to trial, what was their trial experience like.
2. Research Personal Injury Attorneys Online
In addition to referrals, you may be able to find out which personal injury lawyers are most prominent in your state by searching online. While you may want to search for lawyers in your hometown, keep an open mind that it may be better to travel for the best legal representation.
You can also search potential lawyers against online rating sites. These sites provide peer-reviewed ratings to help potential clients understand how reputable and skilled a prospective lawyer may be.
3. Make A List Of Criteria That's Important To You
When considering how to choose a personal injury attorney, it's important to consider which criteria are most important to you.
For example, you may only want to work with a lawyer who works on a contingency-fee-basis, or one who collects a percentage of your recovered amount but does not charge an upfront fee. Narrowing your search to the law firms which set up their fees in this way can help you choose the best personal injury lawyer for you.
The type of injury you sustained may also be important. Some lawyers have extensive experience working with victims of motorcycle or car accidents, while others may have more experience with medical malpractice claims. It's best to consider your potential lawyer's extent of experience with particular types of cases before hiring them.
Criteria which may be important to consider when choosing the best personal injury lawyer may include:
- a lawyer's experience with your type of case (i.e. medical malpractice, car accident injury, spinal cord injury, etc.)
- size of the law firm
- a lawyer's credentials and track record
- a lawyer's availability to take your case
- the law firm's years of experience and access to resources
- how the law firm handles case fees
- past client experiences
- success record
4. Compile A List Of Lawyers That Match Your Needs
Once you have compiled a list of potential personal injury attorneys that you believe may meet your needs, select four or five to consult with. Narrowing your choices will help in the long run; if you meet with each of these lawyers, you will likely have to go to their firm or have a phone conversation for an initial consultation.
To review your case enough to give you an overview and determine whether they can take it on, a lawyer may need documentation and other details. This process may be time-consuming, so it helps to select a few of your top choices to consult, rather than working from a long list.
5. Review Each Lawyer's Credentials And Track Record
Becoming a credentialed lawyer takes time and dedication. Most states require a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school, as well as a certain score on the state Bar exam. Requirements for practicing lawyers vary by state and jurisdiction.
Other licensing, registrations, and certifications a lawyer may need to obtain for their own state, jurisdiction, or the law firm which employs them may include:
- completing and passing the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), prior to entering law school
- graduating from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association
- taking the Bar exam in each state (for lawyers who want to practice in more than one state)
- remaining up-to-date about legal developments which affect their area of law practice
- continuing legal education every year or every three years (in most states)
- board certification in personal injury litigation—this ensures the lawyer has extensive experience as well as passed the state bar exam
In addition to upholding necessary licensure, it's important that whichever personal injury attorney you choose has a record for success. After all, you are pursuing your claim with the hope of winning, and an experienced lawyer can provide you with an overview of the best possible outcome based on the details of your case.
6. Consider Firm Size, Availability, And Experience
Next, look at the size of each firm you're considering. A larger firm can mean more resources and experience, but may also mean less time to dedicate to your case. Despite large numbers of cases, the best firms handle their workload well.
It's also important to consider the experience a law firm has. A lawyer with less experience may be part of a firm with decades of collective experience and may represent you well, as opposed to a more experienced personal injury lawyer who practices alone and does not have access to the same resources. For this reason, it's important to consider the collective experience level of the firm.
7. Call Law Offices To Set Up A Consultation
After you have selected a top few lawyers for careful consideration and have reviewed their websites to find as much useful information as possible, it's time to call for a consultation. Most personal injury attorneys provide a free initial consultation.
At this first meeting, you will be asked to explain your case, provide details regarding the incident that led to your injury, and other necessary information. To be prepared, it's a good idea to bring any and all documentation related to your case for the lawyer to review.
Based on the details you provide, an attorney may be able to give you an approximate estimate of your case value or compensation awarded if your claim is successful. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer should also be able to provide an opinion regarding whether your claim is likely to be successful.
8. Meet With Different Attorneys To Explore Your Options
Meeting with a few different lawyers before selecting someone to represent you may be a good idea. Not every lawyer may have the time and availability to take on your case, so it's important to have several viable options.
Further, you may be working closely with whichever lawyer you choose for several months or longer. It's crucial to have a good working relationship with whoever you choose to represent your case.
Speaking one-on-one with a lawyer can also help the lawyer to understand your desired level of involvement. For example, some individuals may want to be informed every step of the way and be called upon for about their case as often as possible.
Others may want to focus solely on recovering from their injuries, allowing their lawyer to handle all legal proceedings with minimal involvement. Before signing on with a personal injury lawyer, all parties involved should understand whether you'd like a more hands-on, informed approach or if you only want to be involved in necessary details.
9. Choose The Best Lawyer For Your Case
After consulting with a small selection of top-rated personal injury lawyers, you may be ready to choose the best lawyer to represent you for your claim.
Consider all the criteria that makes an excellent lawyer, such as experience, success rate, and client reviews, as well as your own instincts upon meeting the lawyer. While you can break a contract with a lawyer if necessary, it's not optimal to have to change legal representation during your case.
For this reason, it's important to ask as many questions as possible during your consultation and to spend some time discussing your case at length. This will give you a good feel for the lawyer's methods, experience, and an idea of how much time they can dedicate to your case.
The right lawyer will make you feel heard, ensure every angle of your claim is addressed to strengthen your case, and give you the greatest opportunity to win your claim and get the fairest amount of compensation.
Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
When it is time to meet with a potential personal injury lawyer, you may not know where to begin in terms of what to ask or details to discuss for your claim.
Here are some questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer:
- What are your fees? Many personal injury lawyers charge fees on a contingency basis, meaning they collect a percentage of the amount recovered for you
- If I do not win my personal injury claim, will I have to pay any case-related costs?
- How long has your firm been in existence
- How many personal injury claims has your firm tried?
- How much time can you spend on my claim? How many cases do you take on at a time?
- Approximately how long will it take my case to be resolved?
- How much could my claim be worth?
- Can my personal injury claim go to trial? Do you have trial experience?
- Which lawyer(s) will be handling my case?
- How involved will I be/can I be with my lawsuit?
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 860-523-8783. We are Connecticut Personal Injury Attorneys and we are here to help you.