Looking for a personal injury lawyer that is the right fit for you can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s not that there aren’t great personal injury lawyers around; it’s that you need to make sure you find one that’s exactly right for you.
You will end up choosing your attorney after considering many factors, both in their resume and their personality. The firm’s resume and reputation will play a big part, as well.
However, there should be common factors in all the different lawyers and law firms you are interviewing. For example, you should always start with lawyers and law firms who are objectively experienced and recognized in their field. From there, you can start thinking about particular qualities that are the most important to you in your representation.
Your choice of lawyer could make the difference between getting
the recovery you deserve or not receiving any compensation at all.
Here, we’ll discuss exactly how to find the right personal injury lawyer for you.
How You Can Find The Best Personal Injury Lawyer
1. Ask lawyers you already
Although you may have never needed an attorney before, you might
know some attorneys socially. In this case, it doesn’t matter if the attorneys
that you know are your best friends or the parents of another child at your
child’s school. In most cases, caring and compassionate attorneys will be happy
to help you with a referral.
Even if they don’t work in personal injury, most lawyers have
extensive networks of other lawyers that they know. Many lawyers are also a
part of specialty organizations, like female attorney groups or legal alumni
An excellent way to start your research on finding a personal
injury lawyer is to ask lawyers you already know who they trust. If the
attorneys you know don’t know any personal injury lawyers, it’s still likely
they’ve heard good things about some through reputation. Asking lawyers you
know is a great way to get a few names.
2. Ask friends and
If you happen not to know any attorneys, you may wish to
ask friends or family if they do. Unfortunately, personal injury cases aren’t
so uncommon. You may know someone who has needed a personal injury lawyer
If your friends and family have been lucky enough never to need
a personal injury lawyer, they may know other types of lawyers that they can
introduce you to so that you can start your search with recommendations.
3. Call your state (or
All state bar organizations, and sometimes city bar
organizations, have an attorney referral service. In most cases, this is a
number that consumers can call to describe what type of lawyer they need.
Either an automated system or an actual person will be able to direct you to
licensed personal injury lawyers in your state.
Most bigger cities, like New York and San Diego, also have city
bars that can help you find a licensed personal injury attorney.
4. Use an online
Everything has been on the internet for several years, and
lawyers are no exception. There are several online legal directories for
consumers to find attorneys.
Not all of these are going to be helpful, or quite frankly,
honest. Certain services, with the backing of
time-tested, experienced companies can be great for consumer research on
lawyers. An example of this type of website is Lawyers.com, by
Martindale-Hubbell. Others may not be as helpful (especially if attorneys can
pay for higher rankings).
The key is to examine several different websites to get a broad
view of your options for personal injury lawyers.
Once you’ve gotten a few names for personal injury attorneys,
you’ve only just begun to find the right attorney for you.
Know that on these directories, lawyers can advertise
themselves. Just because they can afford advertising doesn’t mean that they are
good lawyers, necessarily–so keep an open mind when looking at directories.
That’s why it’s vital that you do some research about the lawyer
or law firm that you found. Below we’ll discuss essential factors to consider
when deciding on your personal injury attorney.
Things to Consider
When Deciding on a Personal Injury Lawyer
1. How the firm
Although you may tend to skip over the law firm’s website in
favor of external reviews and accolades, resist the urge to do this. Most of
the time, the way a law firm presents itself will tell you a lot about how they
work and how much they care about their clients.
If the law firm website reads like a commercial, and it seems
like there’s no human touch at all, it’s probably a safe bet that it won’t be
the best fit for you. If instead, the law firm website emphasizes how much they
genuinely care about their clients and how much they treat their clients as
individuals instead of numbers, it’s probably a much better firm.
Also note the polish of the site and the quality of its content.
A law firm that pays attention to its online presence is far more likely to
take the extra steps to truly care about you.
At GJEL, we constantly update our blog with content that
helps Californians better understand personal injury law. Being informed helps
you make the best decision when hiring a lawyer, so we encourage you to browse
through our posts.
2. Trusted awards
Check out what awards the firm you are researching has won. When
doing so, however, make sure they are awards from trusted sources.
Some ranking websites are not trustworthy. These are the types
of sites where any lawyer can “game the system” to receive the
highest ranking. Avvo, though great for client reviews, has this type of
system. If a lawyer knows what they’re doing, they can get Avvo’s highest
ranking on their own.
attorneys have won multiple awards, such as Superlawyers, Best Lawyers, and US News Best Law Firms. GJEL also has an
attorney in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, representing the top
trial lawyers in America.
3. Their reputation through client reviews online.
Most lawyers have listings on review websites, just like other
businesses. A simple online search should turn up sites where your potential
lawyer or law firm has listings. Most utilize Google or Yelp.
Take a bit of time to scroll through the client reviews on these
websites. Here, you can see what real clients have to say about the lawyer or
law firm you’ve found. There’s no better way to see what kind of professional
you’re about to work with besides hearing what their previous clients have to
4. Their success rate.
A lawyer or law firm’s success rate may be one of the most
important metrics by which you should judge them.
At the end of the day, how many cases your lawyer and law firm
have won will tell you so much. After all, you can’t expect to win your case
when you’re working with lawyers who haven’t won that many of their cases
Your standard should be high. At GJEL, we have won financial recovery for our clients in over 99% of our cases. Look for similar success rates when hiring a personal injury lawyer.
5. Amounts they’ve
Just like the law firm’s success rate, you’ll want to pay close
attention to the amounts they’ve recovered in the past. Many people think large
recovery amounts mean that the lawyers pick and choose their cases so that
they’ll make more money. This is not the case.
Most large recovery amounts for personal injury attorneys mean
that the attorneys are experts. Recovering a substantial amount for their
client implies that the law firm knows how to frame the case so that their
client gets what they deserve.
Personal injury suits are often battles against not only the
actual defendant but also the insurance company. Especially during settlement
negotiations, the insurance company can make it extremely difficult to try to
obtain a fair amount for the victim.
If the law firm you are looking at has recovered significant
amounts for their clients, it’s a good sign that they know what they are doing
when it comes to negotiating. It also means they’ll know how to help you get
the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries.
If a law firm doesn’t list case results on their websites, it
means they either don’t have results that they are proud of, or they haven’t
taken the time to share them on their website. Neither of these are good signs.
GJEL has obtained a total of $950 million to date for our clients.
You can view our results here.
6. Lack of
If the lawyer you are thinking about has any disciplinary
actions with their state bar, this should be an immediate red flag.
Disciplinary action means that the lawyer has strayed so far out of standard
professional conduct that the state bar had to get involved. This is why it’s
an absolute necessity to check the lawyer’s state bar record before you hire
Even if everything
else seems great about the attorney you were researching, steer clear if
they’ve had disciplinary actions.
7. Access and care.
Will you get to speak to your attorney regularly? Will you get
to speak to your attorney at all?
Today, especially at larger law firms, it is common for lawyers
to disappear entirely once you hire them. As their client, you may find
yourself interacting more with their paralegals and assistants than with them.
No one wants to be made to feel like they are just a number, and this is
something you should pay close attention to as you’re doing your research on
personal injury lawyers.
Make sure you ask about how much contact you’ll have with your
attorney. You should also ask about how quickly they’ll be available for any
questions you might have.
Access to your lawyer during this challenging time is critical.
You want to work with a lawyer and law firm that understands this and will be
available to you as professionals, rather than making you feel like just
8. The feeling you get
at your initial interview.
Even after you’ve done all your research, one thing can’t be
ignored: your gut feeling. Experiencing a personal injury is extremely
difficult in anyone’s life. You want an attorney who cares about you and is
committed to helping you through the process. You don’t want an attorney who
looks at you like a dollar sign.
Pay attention to how you feel the first time you meet your
potential new lawyer. You’ll know right away whether they’re the one for you.
By this point, you’ll have done your research on the firm and the attorney, so
all that will be left is how you two connect.
Your personal injury lawyer should make you feel supported and
like they have the experience to help you. You should never feel like you are
being shuffled out of their office or as though they aren’t truly listening to
what you have to say.
Trust your gut. You’ll know if your attorney is the right fit.
Discuss Your Case with a California Personal
Finding a personal injury attorney doesn’t need to feel like a
job. In fact, the tips in this article will ensure that you find a lawyer that
is the perfect fit for you.
If you have more questions about finding a personal injury
attorney or want to meet with GJEL, schedule a free consultation today. We’ll discuss
these tips in depth and discuss your potential personal injury lawsuit.