Most of us are going to need to consult with an injury attorney from time to time. Whether you were injured in an automobile crash, slip and fall, or at work, the time will come when you may need someone with legal expertise to assist you.
- The question is, how can you choose the best attorney for your needs? If you look up “injury attorneys” on the internet, you will be bombarded with search results—so how do you figure out which lawyer is a good fit for you? Here are a few tips that will help you choose the best attorney for you. Don’t just pick the first one you find on the internet. Don’t go online and pick the first name that pops up in Google—often those listings are pre-paid advertisements and are not an indicator of the quality of the law firm.
- Do your research. You can look up attorney reviews and ratings online. Places like Google, the State Bar of Georgia website, and Martindale-Hubbell are great free resources available to the general public. They will give you the attorney’s bio, their educational background, ratings, and reviews. It will also help you narrow down your search when you are looking for a lawyer in a particular field. Sites like SuperLawyers and Avvo.com can be helpful too. These sites also list peer reviews, what lawyers say about other lawyers can be helpful. But be careful, these are also “pay-to-play” sites where lawyers can pay to be listed. But in all your searching, be wary, you need to look at an overview of the ratings to get an accurate picture.
- Interview the attorney. Yes, you need their legal expertise, but in order to ensure that you have a competent lawyer, you need to ask them questions and look for red flags. Did they give you prompt and polite responses to your questions? Did they seem to care about your issue? Did they seem knowledgeable on the subject matter? Did you have a clear understanding of the fees and how they are structured? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, move on to the next name on your list.
- Communication and availability. Lawyers are generally busy, and while they will try to get back to you in a timely manner, you must remember that they do have other clients. However, any attorney you choose should work zealously to protect your best interests. They should return all phone calls and client communications within a reasonable time frame—if not, the firm may be too busy to handle your case. They need to be at all meetings on time and well-prepared, and they need to be forward-thinking in that they will provide you with advice about alternative dispute and resolution procedures.
- Ask about litigation. When you are talking with the lawyer, ask them if they litigate cases. Many personal injury cases today do end up in litigation. You want to ensure that you hire an attorney who can manage your case from pre-litigation all the way through filing the lawsuit, if necessary. You don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you are forced to settle your case for less that what it is worth because your attorney cannot or will not go to court.
Once you’ve done the research and chosen a list of lawyers, make sure you and the attorney are a good fit when it comes to personality. Do you feel at ease with them? Do you feel like you can ask them questions and get an answer in plain English? You shouldn’t expect the attorney to be your buddy; they are there to perform a professional service. Nonetheless, you should feel like you can trust them. A great lawyer will not only make the experience as painless as possible, but also will help move your case forward and know when it is best to fight and when it is best to settle.
Jones, Steele, & Booth is a boutique law firm that specializes in personal injury, estate planning, probate, workman’s comp, and real estate litigation. We have two attorneys assigned to every case, so you get personalized service. We’d love to be the attorneys you choose, so give us a call.