How to Choose the Best Personal Injury Attorney for You: 10 Penetrating Questions
Choosing a personal injury lawyer to help you is not an easy decision, but it is a critical one. There’s nothing wrong with “shopping” for the right attorney for you. You want your lawyer to be many things, including:
- A good communicator
- A compassionate person
- A skilled advocate
- A detective
- An aggressive fighter
We can’t say we’re the best personal injury law firm. In fact, there are ethical rules that prevent any lawyer or law firm from claiming to be the best. Finding the best personal injury lawyer for you is a subjective choice. Whether an attorney or firm is best for you is a decision only you can make. But making that decision may not be easy.
Can you figure out if an attorney and their firm meets your qualifications just by reading their website? Scrolling their site is a start, but it’s not enough.
You can check the State Bar or licensing body website to see if the attorney has ethics complaints filed against them — or even any suspensions or disbarments. But that’s only part of the picture.
You could use a lawyer referral service, but you’ll still have to do your homework on the referral service. Do they carefully screen their list for a match or do they list all attorneys in good standing with the State Bar?
Even if the referral service screens, many people prefer to do the screening themselves – after all, who knows you better? But how do you choose the best personal injury lawyer for you when there are so many? There are two common ways: asking family and friends, and reading online reviews.
Asking Family and Friends
Asking family, friends, and acquaintances for recommendations is the first step for many people in searching for the right personal injury lawyer. If someone you trust had a good experience with an attorney who practices in the area you need help with, then your search may be at an end.
However, each attorney-client relationship is different, so another’s experience may be different than your own. Only by meeting with that attorney can you determine if the attorney that they like is one you will, too.
Reading Online Reviews
You want an attorney who can produce many favorable client reviews. The specifics of these reviews can help you address concerns you didn’t even know you had.
In addition to client reviews, peer reviews among attorneys are available. Among the most respected peer review rating systems are:
Martindale-Hubbell, a leading global network of over a million lawyers
An “AV preeminent” rating identifies an attorney with overall professional and ethical excellence. These are ratings by attorneys for attorneys.
“Best Lawyers,” a reliable and unbiased source for legal referrals
For four decades, “Best Lawyers” has continuously recognized legal talent. An attorney named to the “Best Lawyers” list has been selected by their peers based on their professional accomplishments.
“Super Lawyers,” an annual listing of lawyers based on peer recognition and legal achievement
No more than 5% of attorneys in each state can be included on the list. Super Lawyers is published in leading city and regional magazines across the country.
How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer: Questions to Ask
Taking the steps above can help you make a general list of candidates you might go with. Now it’s time to conduct your own research. Let’s discuss 10 questions to ask a personal injury lawyer that can give you some real insight into an attorney and their firm.
Questions 1-3: Experience and Results
Question #1: How many years of legal experience do your attorneys have?
This is the natural first question to ask. Does the attorney you’re considering have the experience you’re looking for in the specific area of law that impacts you? Does the attorney regularly collaborate with other attorneys at the firm, and what are the combined years of legal experience for the firm overall?
Why It Matters: The law is complex. An experienced attorney has gone through this process many times before and knows the ropes. An experienced attorney also knows the strategy and tactics the other side is likely to use. Having someone with that knowledge and skill on your side can be a huge advantage.
Question #2: Does your firm have attorneys who previously represented insurance companies?
It’s important to dig into the details of your attorney’s particular legal experience. Are they familiar with insurance company tactics? Have any attorneys at the firm worked as insurance adjusters?
Why It Matters: In many situations, you won’t be seeking compensation directly from the person who wronged you. Instead, you’ll be trying to recover the maximum from the insurance company through the insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster is looking out for the insurance company’s best interests.
Why might the adjuster agree to pay out more on a claim? An attorney who used to work for insurance companies understands the priorities of large insurance companies.
Question #3: How much money has your firm recovered for clients in the past year?
It’s important to ask about a recent time period when considering an attorney to fight for you. Overall results may be impressive, but it may give you better insight to home in on recent accomplishments. If you’re about to go on a date, you’d like to see a recent picture, right?
Why It Matters: Money may not be the only factor, but it is certainly an important one. At the end of the day, you’re trying to recover maximum compensation. What success has the firm you’re considering had recently? That doesn’t mean your specific case will be successful, of course, but nobody can guarantee that.
Questions 4-5: Commitment to Your Case
These next questions are ones you should ask to assess how a law firm approaches their cases.
Question #4: How many jury trials has your firm had in the past year?
You may have no desire to go to trial and most cases don’t, but this is still an important question to ask. Is the firm willing to go to trial?
Why It Matters: When your attorney is backed by a strong team ready to take your opponent to court, you may have greater leverage in trying to negotiate for maximum compensation. Recent and consistent trials can show the other side you mean business.
Question #5: How many resources is the firm willing to invest in my case?
Generally speaking, the bigger the firm, the more resources they have at their disposal. But how are those resources used?
Why It Matters: You don’t want your case taking any longer than it has to, but you want to know any settlement you agree to isn’t premature. Has your attorney done their due diligence in seeking all sources of possible compensation? Will your prospective firm invest the necessary resources to dig deeper if that’s what the attorney thinks is best?
Questions 6-8: Working Together
These next questions focus on the logistics of your working relationship, including communication and location.
Question #6: Will you keep me in the loop on my case progress?
The last place you want to be is in the dark. Will your team be in touch often and let you know how things are going with your case?
Why It Matters: Your firm should value you and your case. Keeping in touch with you is one of the primary ways a firm can make you feel like you matter. What safeguards does the firm have in place so you’re not left wondering where things stand?
Question #7: How long do you expect my case to take?
This question gives you a glimpse into how your case is viewed and how it will be prioritized by your attorney.
Why It Matters: Asking this question allows you to see how the attorney sees your case. Do they see potential weaknesses that will take time to overcome? Even if the case needs time to develop, what safeguards does the firm have in place to keep cases moving quickly without sacrificing value?
Question #8: Where are you located? Are you near me?
This question may be more important to some than others, but that’s precisely the point. You’re looking for the best attorney for you.
Why It Matters: Many clients want to sit face to face with their attorney in a local office. While a firm should offer the option to conduct all business remotely, they should also have local offices so a client can schedule a visit when a call or email simply won’t do.
Questions 9-10: Peer Recognition
Question #9: What leadership positions do your firm’s attorneys have?
How have the attorneys at the firm you’re considering been recognized by fellow professionals?
Why It Matters: Those who work in the field know it better than anyone. Do the attorneys in the law firm you’re considering hold positions, lecture, and write in the personal injury field? Attorneys chosen to prestigious leadership positions have earned the respect of their peers and strict selection committees.
Question #10: How many referrals do you get from other attorneys?
You should ask whether the attorney you’re interviewing (and their firm) receives referrals from other attorneys with cases that are too big or time-consuming for them to handle on their own.
Why It Matters: A referral from another lawyer means that lawyer has a financial interest in their referred case being successful. They have great incentive to refer cases they can’t personally handle to attorneys they believe will do right by the case.
What Is the Best Personal Injury Law Firm? Only You Can Decide
There are two steps and 10 questions above that will go a long way in helping you figure out how to choose a good personal injury attorney for you. If you’re considering the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, please check out our glowing client reviews as well as our many awards.
Here are our answers to the questions we laid out:
- Our attorneys average at least 15 years of experience.
- We have many attorneys with inside knowledge from previously representing insurance companies.
- Last year, we recovered over $185 million in total for over 5,000 clients.1
- In the past year, our firm has taken multiple cases to trial.
- We invested over $13,000,000 in one single case.
- Our clients consistently praise our communication, such as in this testimonial.
- We use patented technology that we built ourselves to try to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
- We have many convenient office locations, including 16 offices in North Carolina and one in South Carolina.
- We have a formidable team of over 60 attorneys who are recognized professionals in their fields. They’ve won awards, authored books, and teach seminars for other attorneys.
- We regularly receive inquiries from other law firms and attorneys who trust us to handle their cases, and we work with a large, national network of attorneys and law firms.
Do you need a personal injury lawyer to help you seek justice? Call us at 1-866-900-7078 any time. Your case evaluation is completely free, and there is no obligation to hire us afterward. And if you choose us, there are no upfront costs – and no attorney’s fee at all if we don’t win for you.2