When you have been involved in an accident, choosing a law firm to represent you can seem like a very daunting task. You don’t have to look far to see advertisements for personal injury lawyers on phone books, billboards, and newspaper pages. Many law firms specialize in accident cases, and most law firms have accident and injury departments, even if accidents are not their primary focus. There is no right way to select an accident law firm, but a little bit of research and knowing which questions to ask can help you choose the best from the many.
Before beginning your search, you need to identify what kind of services you will need. If you caused the accident, you will need a an accident law firm that can successfully defend you against any charges other parties might bring. In this case, you should look for a firm that handles mostly defense work. If a firm’s clients are primarily accident victims, its lawyers might lack the expertise to mount a successful defense. The reverse is also true.
Similarly, the accident law firm you choose needs to have experience with the sorts of claims that are likely to arise. If the accident caused primarily property damage, such as a car wreck into a house, or an auto accident that damaged vehicles but not people, look for a firm with experience resolving property issues. If the injury caused physical injury to you or others, you will want a firm whose lawyers have a proven record with personal injury. At least some lawyers in the firm should have experience handling claims involving the specific injuries present in your case. The lawyers should also be able to handle both settlements and trials, as accident cases can involve both, and should have experience dealing with insurance claims and companies.
Once you know what kind of accident law firm you are looking for and what sort of experience you need from its lawyers, it is time to start narrowing down your options. Referrals are a great place to start if you have friends or family that have experience with a particular law firm. You can also do an online search for accident law firms in your area, and request information on the sorts of services that each provides. In the United States, each state’s bar association is also a valuable resource. The bar association will not give legal advice, but it can provide you with a list of law firms that do the kind of work you need.
Probably the most important consideration when choosing an accident law firm is personal rapport. You need to trust that the firm will represent your best interests, and you should feel confident in the attorneys’ ability to both set and meet realistic goals for your case. Most law firms employ numerous attorneys in any given specialty, and it is also important to know whether you are hiring the firm or the lawyer. If you are hiring the firm, you need to be assured that the lawyer you meet with initially will be your lawyer throughout the entire process.
Another important consideration when selecting a law firm is cost. Some firms bill clients per hour, while others set a fee contingent on the outcome. Most firms will also take a portion of any settlement they broker, or any award handed down in a court. The firm and its lawyers should be very upfront with their fee structure, and if they are not, ask. Choosing the best accident law firm depends a lot of your comfort and confidence.