So You Need A Personal Injury Attorney
The circumstances that lead you to needing a personal injury attorney are never good, and incredibly stressful. In addition to the physical and emotional pain that comes with the incident, there are the additional concerns of just trying to maintain your life in the face of all that has happened. If you have been seriously injured in an accident, or if you’re meeting immediate resistance in handling your accident or claims, finding an experienced personal injury attorney is probably your best course of action. The question then is, how do you go about picking one?
While the following is certainly not an exhaustive list or a completely comprehensive guide, it should give you a good base from which to begin your search. A little bit of guidance to make an undeniably unpleasant experience easier to bear.
Starting the search
Lawyers who specialize in personal injury tend to focus on either the plaintiff (party injured) or the defendant (party alleged to have caused injury), not both. Make sure you’re looking for a plaintiff attorney such as Cohen Grossman . Also, consider the severity of your case. If you were involved in a small fender bender and are experiencing muscle strain, you can probably count on your insurance company to handle the claim. Finally, many attorneys will not take cases if they fall beneath a certain potential recovery amount, or if the details and conditions are at all murky. It is important that you are absolutely honest with yourself about how the injury came to happen and just how much assistance you need.
Talk to people you know
Practical advice from people you know and trust can be invaluable in this process. If you have friends or family who have had positive outcomes with their own personal injury cases, ask them to connect you to the attorney or firm that helped them. Other lawyers can also be a great resource. If you have a working relationship with an attorney from outside the area or whose focus is something other than personal injury, talk to them. They may have a recommendation.
Do some research
While recommendations and word of mouth are helpful, you should never stop there. Go online and do some research. See if the attorney has a website. While a flashy website by itself should not be the determining factor in your choice, it is important to see that the attorney or firm at least has one, and that it is professional. There are also a number of referral websites where you can look up potential attorneys. Websites such as Avvo (https://www.avvo.com/) or your local bar association can offer a wealth of information on a prospective attorney, including reviews from past clients. Make sure you get a feel for the attorney’s track record - while it is all well and good to have experience with personal injury, you want to also be certain they have a history of securing favorable settlements and verdicts.
Meet face to face
Once you have narrowed your search down, meet with the attorney and decide if you would be comfortable trusting this individual to represent you. Most attorneys offer a free consultation, which is a perfect opportunity for you to sit down with them and decide. Do you feel as if they’re treating you as an individual and not just another case? Are they listening to your needs? Are they speaking openly and honestly with you about your case, acknowledging your needs but also being upfront about potential challenges? These impressions and answers from an in-person meeting can be the final steps that help you feel secure enough to retain the attorney’s services, or make it clear that you need to look elsewhere. Remember not to immediately dismiss an attorney if they can’t meet with you on short notice - a successful attorney is a busy attorney.
If you feel confident with the attorney's experience, and comfortable with their idea of how to proceed with your case, chances are good that you've found an attorney you can work with. Being able to rely on the experience, knowledge, and expertise of your attorney will grant you a much needed peace of mind. This way you can recover and heal, knowing your case is being handled.