Feeling lost after an accident in California? A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and fight for fair compensation. Here’s a quick guide to get you started:

  1. Evaluate Your Case: Consider the severity of your injuries, lost wages, and property damage. If significant, a lawyer can protect your rights.
  2. Research Potential Lawyers: Look for California-licensed attorneys with experience in cases similar to yours. Online directories, referrals, and state bar associations can be helpful resources.
  3. Schedule Free Consultations: Discuss your case with different lawyers. Ask about their experience, success rate, fees, and approach to your specific situation.
  4. Choose the Right Fit: Select a lawyer you feel comfortable with, who has a good reputation, and works on contingency (fee based on winning your case).

Read the full article for a detailed breakdown of each step and valuable tips for hiring a California personal injury lawyer!

Accidents happen, and when they do, they can be life-changing. From car accidents to slip and falls, if you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, the process of getting that compensation can be complicated, especially if you don’t have a legal background. That’s where a personal injury lawyer comes in. In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to hire a personal injury lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Step 1: Determine If You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer

The first step in hiring a personal injury lawyer is to determine if you actually need one. Not every accident requires the help of a lawyer. If you were in a minor fender bender and no one was injured, for example, you probably don’t need a lawyer. However, if you were in a serious accident that resulted in injuries, lost wages, or significant property damage, you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer.

Step 2: Do Your Research Online or Offline

Once you’ve determined that you need a personal injury lawyer, it’s time to start doing your research. There are many ways to find a personal injury lawyer, including:

  • Ask for referrals from friends or family members who have been in a similar situation
  • Look for personal injury lawyers in your area using online directories or search engines
  • Check with your state bar association to see if a lawyer has any disciplinary action against them

When you’re doing your research, look for lawyers who have experience handling cases similar to yours. You should also look for lawyers who have a good reputation and who are willing to take your case on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid if you win your case.

Step 3: Schedule Consultations

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential lawyers, it’s time to schedule consultations. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, which gives you the opportunity to meet with them and discuss your case. During the consultation, you should ask the lawyer about their experience, their success rate, and their fees. You should also ask them about their strategy for handling your case.

Step 4: Choose Your Lawyer

After you’ve met with all of the lawyers on your list, it’s time to choose the one that you feel most comfortable working with. Choose a lawyer who has experience handling cases similar to yours, who has a good reputation, and who is willing to take your case on a contingency basis. It’s also important to choose a lawyer who you feel comfortable communicating with, as you will be working closely with them throughout the duration of your case.


Q: How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer? A: Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid if you win your case. If you do win your case, the lawyer’s fee will typically be a percentage of your settlement or judgment.

Q: What should I look for when hiring a personal injury lawyer? A: When hiring a personal injury lawyer, look for someone who has experience handling cases similar to yours, who has a good reputation, and who is willing to take your case on a contingency basis.

Q: How long does it take to settle a personal injury case? A: The length of time it takes to settle a personal injury

Here is what personal injury lawyers think you should pay attention to when hiring a lawyer

So we decided to ask other lawyers what their #1 tip would be to prospective clients looking to hire a personal injury law firm. You may also find our article questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer helpful here

1. Do you take cases to trial? Or just settle them out of court?

When hiring a personal injury attorney, the most important question I recommend potential clients to ask is whether or not the attorney they are vetting actually tries cases or just always settles them? 

Insurance companies are trained to try and settle claims quickly and for the least amount of money possible. You want an experienced trial attorney in your corner who is not afraid to take your claim to court to maximize your settlement and help you best move forward from the accident.

Andy Gillin‘s Take: If a law firm isn’t willing to take your case to trial and simply churns and burns through cases you’re setting yourself up for failure. At GJEL we always fight for the little guy and aren’t afraid to take a case to trial to get a fair verdict for our clients. It also can help maximize the value of the case. A great attorney will analyze the facts, information, and injuries of your case before giving you advice.

But make sure to check a firm’s track record. If they haven’t been to trial or don’t have a lot of trial experience they could end up in a tough situation. 

2. Do they have experience with personal injury cases similar to yours?

There are many factors to consider before hiring a personal injury attorney, such as the law firm’s contingency fee, success rate, and resources available. If I had to choose one as the most important, I would say it is the law firm’s experience dealing with cases like yours. 

The personal injury attorney’s experience winning cases like yours is essential to providing you peace of mind during a difficult time. If they cannot provide you with a history of winning cases like yours, they may not be the best personal injury attorney for your situation. 

-Gregory Herrman, Managing Partner, Herrman and Herrman PLLC

Andy Gillin‘s Take: The more experience a personal injury attorney has with similar cases, the more they will be able to truly maximize the value of your case. It’s one of the reasons GJEL has been able to recover over $950 Million dollars for our clients injured due to no fault of their own. It’s not a bad idea to talk to multiple personal injury lawyers and see which ones take you serious.

Insurance companies try to reduce insurance claims and leave the victims with the bills. At GJEL our difference is that we hold insurance companies accountable and don’t take low ball settlement offers. Our decades of experience help us get the best results for our clients. We help provide assistance to our clients and help them understand the whole process.

3. Check the injury attorney’s reputation before hiring them 

Here are my top tips for when you are hiring a personal injury attorney:

  • Reputation matters. Always look at previous client reviews, as well as any notable cases the attorney in question has managed. Branding, within the legal world, is everything and can be a guarantee of quality.
  • Shop around. It’s important to compare different options so that you find the right attorney for you. Different lawyers will have different experiences and specializations.
  • Interview your potential attorney before making a decision. Making sure that they would be able to handle your specific circumstances and details is vital. 

-Ty, the founding partner of Gibson Hill PC

Andy’s Gillin’s Take: Reputation is important! It’s hard to build a strong reputation and these days if you do wrong by someone they will be quick to let the internet know. Make sure to do research on any person or firm you plan on hiring. At GJEL we’re proud of our hundreds of 5 star reviews, client results, and awards such as Superlawyers, Bestlawyers.com, and Martindale Hubbel. Google the personal injury lawyer and the firm and see what you can find out about them before making a hiring decision.

4.Hire a lawyer you believe in (and get along with)

In my experience, I understand that these personal injury cases are extremely sensitive. They are stressful, painful to recollect, and they can be quite stressful for the parties involved. For many people we work with, their livelihood has drastically been impacted and it involves a personal matter that has been quite challenging.

Because of this, it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer who you believe in. You must be confident in who they are, your ability to trust them, and someone you can speak with effectively. You will need to communicate with them regularly and you don’t want to be questioning the work they are doing and what they are saying, so that must be put into consideration as you hire.

Through initial conversations, you should be able to get a feel for how the personal injury lawyer operates as a professional, so try to get a feel for how they might be as a person if you hired them. Take everything into consideration and trust your gut instincts for who you feel you will believe in and trust at the highest level.

Andy Gillin‘s Take: This is absolutely essential. Chances are you will be working together for a long time and it’s essential you can communicate well with your attorney. 

5.Do they have success handling cases in your jurisdiction?

When searching for legal help with your personal injury claim, you should always consider the attorney’s ability to take on your specific case. This is important not just for the type of personal injury but also for the jurisdiction where the case will be filed.

Personal injury law includes a wide range of situations, including auto accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, and others. It is important that the personal injury lawyer that you select has experience with situations like yours.

Your attorney should also be both familiar and close in proximity to the jurisdiction where your case will be filed. Lack of experience with the local procedural rules that apply in a case can cause major headaches and even impact the plaintiff’s ability to seek compensation in some cases. The lawyer that you choose to hire should not only be licensed in your state but should also have enough experience there that you can feel comfortable relying on them. 

-Don Wruck, a founding partner at Wruck Paupore PC

Andy’s Take: For smaller cases, you may not need to hire personal injury attorneys. Unless there are serious injuries you may be able to negotiate your settlement offer and recover damages without representation.

6.Be informed. Don’t blindly trust your lawyer.

My top #1 tip for hiring a PI attorney is do not trust any PI attorneys! 

Personal injury attorneys do not have your best interest at heart. They are like any other business that’s trying to make the most amount of money in the least amount of time and with the least amount of effort. 

Right now you have the biggest research tool available to you: the internet. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, try to learn about your case by researching it on the internet. 

How do you maximize the value of your case? How do you negotiate with insurance adjusters? Should you take the first offer? If you know the answer to these questions, you will protect yourself when your attorney wants to take the first offer and move on to the next case. 

What I’m trying to say is be an informed consumer. Don’t blindly trust your attorney. 

7. Make sure your personality fits with theirs

From all of my years of handling hundreds of personal injury claims and representing hundreds of clients, the number one tip I give is this-make sure that your lawyer’s personality fits with yours.  

Hiring a lawyer is much like picking a doctor, “beside manners” matter.  Sometimes even the most skilled of lawyers (just like doctors) do not have the ability to really connect with a client and empathize with the client’s situation.  If you do not get a good ‘feel’ from the lawyer when you initially contact him, you probably should consider other attorneys.  

Personality encompasses the way that you and the attorney communicate, whether you find the lawyer to be transparent and forthright, and ultimately whether this is someone you feel comfortable having a long term working relationship with.  

If you feel like you do not trust the lawyer’s opinion, the likelihood is that you will be remiss to follow his directions.  Not following your lawyer’s directions is precisely what can jeopardize a positive case outcome.

I am always thrilled when we can quickly get a great result for a client by recovering maximum compensation in a short amount of time.  However the reality is that many cases take a very long time to resolve.  Conversations with a client can be frequent and take place over the course of years sometimes. 

Litigation can test both the lawyer and the client’s patience.  If you feel like at the beginning of your consultation with the attorney that you get a good feeling from his personality, odds are that your attorney-client relationship will be able to weather the storm for the long haul of the case.

  • Justin Wolfe is a seasoned personal injury litigator and owner of personal injury law firm Wolfe Law Group in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Tips for Hiring Injury Lawyers from GJEL Accident Attorneys

  • Ask your friends or family for a recommendation. Then Check & VerifyThe internet is a great place to find an attorney if you pay attention to accolades and awards, but one place to start is by asking your family and friends. If you go this route, make sure to be sure they have worked professionally with the attorney they are recommending. It’s one thing to get a personal recommendation but it’s an entirely different thing to hire an attorney for an important manner just because their daughter watches your dogs.
  • Check their reviews online. These days consumers are not afraid to tell you how they felt about your service. This is especially true online. Online reviews (if they seem real) might be a great way to verify that the attorney you’re thinking of hiring is a good fit for your case.
  • Check their experience.Have they handled cases like yours before? If so what were the outcomes and how favorable were they given the circumstances? Find out if the case was settled out of court or went to trial. You will need a tough law firm who isn’t afraid to fight for every inch of ground against insurance companies.
  • Listen to your gut feeling
    Do you like the attorney your’e working with? Are they listening to your needs and are they responsive to your request? Something as simple as making sure they take your phone calls will be a good indicator of how proactive they will be in the future of your case.

We hope you found this article helpful and if you want to read more about the frequently asked questions we get at GJEL, check out our article here.

Written by Andy Gillin. Last Updated 04/15/2024