Looking for the Right Personal Injury Lawyer Working with the right lawyer can make a large difference in the conclusion of your personal injury claim, which makes selecting the right lawyer a crucial decision. Most attorneys specializing in personal injury law are inclined to represent but one side of these types of cases – the plaintiff (the person who has been injured) or the defendant (the person or entity who allegedly has caused the injury). Word of mouth and personal recommendations are often the best place to start searching for a lawyer. Web resources are also a good starting point for creating an initial list of candidates to consider. 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 – Learn about the lawyer’s background. His profile should give you a picture of the nature of cases he usually handles (and which side). If it’s hard to tell, just call the office and ask directly. See what other information you can find in these lawyers’ websites. The more you know about them, the better.
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> Professional Associations – Find out if the attorney belongs to any national, state or local trial lawyers’ associations. > Location – If you have a working relationship with a lawyer practicing in another area, ask him for names of some good prospects in the local scene. > Professional Standing – Call your state bar association or take a look at their website to determine whether the lawyer you are eyeing is in good standing. > Conflicts of Interest Does the lawyer represent anybody who might be affiliated with any of the parties you are planning to sue, or anybody who may have an interest in the result of the case? After you’ve narrowed down your list of prospects, inquire about an initial 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 In most personal injury claim situations, a lawyer can be hired on a “contingency fee” basis. This simply means that the lawyer will be paid a percentage – about one-third – of any settlement or court award you get, and if you don’t get any, he won’t be paid his legal fees too. 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.

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