When you or your family members/friends suffer injury in an accident or through somebody else’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated in the maximum possible way. For this, you will need to pick the attorney at law who can secure the best redress and also ensure that you are protected against any retaliation from the other party.
Choosing the most appropriate injury attorney at law may seem simple when you take a look at the Yellow Pages, whose columns are filled with attorneys offering their services. However, there are some things to keep in mind before you make your choice.
Word-of-mouth: Even in high-tech age, word-of-mouth referrals remain one of the safest ways to find the right injury attorney. Friends, colleagues at work and family members can suggest names from their experience or those whom they know and trust. Even though you may not strike lucky the first time, the attorney you go to on such recommendation may be able to suggest another who can take your case. Since attorneys also get referral fees from their colleagues, they do have the motivation to refer your case to someone else who is competent.
Legal organizations: The local bar councils, state bar associations, alumni of law schools, directories of local lawyers and members of legal associations and organizations are some places where you can find legal aid. These are reliable sources but they don’t provide evidence of the attorney’s competence.
Internet websites and directories/Yellow Pages/Ads: These are useful to gauge the qualifications and experience of the attorneys however, they may not provide information on competence, ethics, etc.
Specialization: It’s best to hire an attorney who has expertise and experience in the particular area. E.g. some attorneys specialize in spinal cord injury, worker compensation, medical/dental/psychiatric etc. hence they have all the knowledge/resources at their finger-tips.
Apart from these broad areas, you can also keep a checklist of things to ask an attorney when you meet them, such as exact experience in similar cases, fees, whether they personally will represent you or hand the job to someone else in the firm, how long do they expect the process to go on, updates and when they are provided, if the settlement offered is inadequate, are they prepared to sue, if they’re unavailable or on holiday, who can take over the work and so on. You also need to be assured on the lawyer’s background like whether he has ever faced being disbarred or been under ethics committee proceedings.
Once you have assured yourself of these matters and possibly many more, you can enter into a written agreement with the attorney and retain them to proceed on your behalf.