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5 Tips to Hiring the Best Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case

Posted by Matthew Waring | Mar 03, 2019 | 15 Comments

Searching for lawyers online is like taking a stroll down a cereal aisle. There are so many options to choose from. How do you know if you are making the best choice for you and your specific case?

Last time I checked, there were at least 339 personal injury attorneys in West Palm Beach, 492 personal injury lawyers in Broward, and at least 560 injury attorneys in Miami-Dade. There are actually probably triple that many that do not list "personal injury" as one of their practice areas with the Florida Bar. 

Those are huge numbers to choose from.

When someone does get in a car accident or slips and falls and is injured, finding the right injury attorney is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

So, how do you find the best personal injury attorney for case? 

Here are my five tips to hiring a personal injury lawyer that might help you feel more confident about your decision. 

1. Begin by identifying what you want out of your personal injury attorney.

What's most important to you? Past results? Convenient location? Big staff? 

For many injury victims in search of a personal injury attorney, communication is key. 

It's not a surprise that poor communication is the most frequent complaint about personal injury attorneys.

If good and frequent communication is important to you, look for an attorney who will give you his or her cell phone number so you can send text messages.

Texting has made everyone's life easier.

Especially when it comes to talking with your lawyer.

Texting allows you to send and receive photos of property damage, keep your lawyer in the loop about bills you receive in the mail, and send your attorney screenshots of important claim documents, etc.

Gone is the day when you only communicate with your attorney only by email or through assistants and paralegals.

If good communication is important to you, insist on speaking with the managing partner of the law firm directly before signing a contract. If you get any pushback by the law firm or its staff about speaking with the partner or owner, you may not get the level of access to a lawyer you are looking for. 

Caseload is Important

Another concern is the number of cases your attorney is handling, i.e. “caseload.”

While it is possible for personal injury attorneys to handle hundreds of cases at a time with the help of a large staff, are you interested in more personal service?

Not every personal injury attorney handles hundreds of cases at a time.

Consider speaking with an attorney from a smaller firm or boutique practice which prioritizes quality over quantity. 

Lawyer Pedigree

When you hire a personal injury attorney, you are hiring a professional who has gone to at least seven years of college and graduate school.

Ideally, you will be assigned an attorney who has a variety of experience handling an array of cases.

To some people, education, experience, and background are important.

You should choose the lawyer who you believe has the right qualifications for the job. That includes assessing the quality of the law school they attended. 

Why do you think the Supreme Court of the United States only hires law clerks from the top 12 law schools in the country? 

Because they can rely on their work to make tough decisions. 

Feel Confident About Your Choice

When you hire a lawyer for your personal injury case, you should feel confident about your decision.

While you can switch attorneys any time in your case, many times, the work done early on in the case is critical to the outcome. 

2. Know the specific type of personal injury attorney you need.

Not all personal injury cases are the same and not every personal injury attorney may be equally suited to handle your case.

For example, some lawyers have more experience handling trucking accidents versus motorcycle accidents.

Some lawyers are great at slip and fall cases and others are better with rear-end collision car accident cases.

If you are injured in a slip and fall at a grocery store, try searching for lawyers who have experience litigating slip and fall cases against that specific grocery store chain. 

Or, if you were injured in a Lyft or Uber vehicle, try searching for an attorney who has specific knowledge about ride-share car accidents. 

Hit by an amazon delivery van? Consider searching for lawyers who have a plan to handle those cases. 

Were you a pedestrian in Miami-Dade? What about a pedestrian or bicycle accident in Broward County? Maybe you are looking for an attorney who has experience handling trucking accidents? 

Once you have found an attorney online, read their blog articles and biography pages and choose the lawyer whose message speaks to you. 

3. Interview several personal injury lawyers: ask them these questions…

I have never seen a personal injury attorney in South Florida who does not offer free consultations.

There is no rule saying that you cannot get as many consultations as you want before hiring an attorney.

While I doubt anyone actually has the time or patience to consult with dozens of attorneys, most people have the time and energy to speak with at least three.

You should be asking these questions:

– Are you speaking with an attorney or a paralegal, investigator, or case manager?

– If you hire the lawyer, will you get their cell phone number?

– How many cases does the lawyer have?

– Will the lawyer be handling the case or a staff-member?

– Where is the lawyer actually located (not just where they advertise their location)?

– Will the lawyer meet with you in person? If so, how often?

– Will the lawyer come to you or does he or she want you to come in to their office?

– What is the lawyer's plan for your case?

– How long will your case take? 

- Can you meet and speak with an attorney before signing a fee agreement? 

4. Discuss fee percentages before you sign up.

The Florida Bar caps personal injury fees at 33.33% of any recovery before filing a lawsuit and 40% of any recovery after a lawsuit is filed.

Although the Bar caps the fees, there is no rule whatsoever that says attorneys can't charge you less than 33.33%.

For many lawyers, the fee percentage may be negotiable. 

While I don't recommend low balling every lawyer until you find one to take your case for the lowest percentage, I do recommend that you ask for a reduction in the fee percentage before you sign the fee agreement.

If your case is relatively simple, like a rear-end car accident, then you are justified in requesting a small reduction because there are likely few issues regarding liability.

However, if your case is more complex, you are less justified in requesting a fee reduction.

It never hurts to ask. 

5. Remember: you have the right to a lawyer of your choice.

You may cancel any fee agreement you sign within the first three days of signing up.

After the first three days, you can still change your lawyer.

However, your lawyer may want to get paid for some of the work he or she has done.

You pay for their services, no matter how brief, when your case settles.

You will still need to pay your new attorney too.

However, most lawyers who you hire will pay the fees incurred by your previous lawyer out of his or her percentage share of the recovery.

It is important to ask a new lawyer that you hire how he or she plans on splitting the bill.

If you are unhappy with your current personal injury attorney, call and interview several other attorneys and ask them if they will pay the other lawyers lien out of their share of the fees.

If you are unhappy with your attorney, you should consider hiring a new one as early in the case as possible.

Those are my 5 tips to hiring a personal injury attorney. In sum, before you hire a personal injury lawyer, do some research and narrow a few candidates down. Call and ask for free consultations and ask to the speak with the lawyer directly versus a staff-member. Interview several lawyers and choose the one you feel most confident in hiring. Finally, remember that your personal injury lawyer is working for you and not the other way around. 

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About the Author

Matthew Waring

Matthew Waring is founder and CEO of Waring Law. A Boca Raton personal injury attorney, Matthew has recovered millions of dollars for injury victims across South Florida. His cell number is Tel:(561)-382-6860.

Comments

Mark Reply

Posted Jul 27, 2019 at 02:27:42

Hi Matthew, I appreciate your post. All these tips are really very helpful to find the right attorney. If you ever need legal advice or a Personal Injury Lawyer in Poway then you can contact Rory Law Firm.

Jane Burt Reply

Posted Aug 26, 2019 at 11:11:59

Thank you for explaining how when you are looking for a personal injury attorney, you should make sure to find one that has experience with your specific type of case. My sister was injured in a car accident, so she would need to find a lawyer with experience in that type of case. We will keep that in mind as we look for an attorney for her. https://theinjurylawyermaui.com/practice-areas

Dennis Sanchez Reply

Posted Sep 20, 2019 at 16:18:49

I appreciate the advice on interviewing multiple personal injury lawyers before making a decision to hire one. My brother was recently in a minor car accident and got some bad whiplash from it. I’ll have to suggest to him that he should consider consulting with a lawyer. https://chicagoaccidentattorney.net/personal-injury/uninsured-motorist-claims/

Eli Richardson Reply

Posted Oct 02, 2019 at 13:42:16

I liked how you suggested asking the lawyer about similar cases they worked on. One of my nieces was in a car accident, and she needs to hire a reliable lawyer. I’ll recommend her finding someone that has had cases compared to hers’.
http://www.personalinjuryattorneysofalaska.net/auto-accident

Wade Joel Reply

Posted Oct 03, 2019 at 09:40:59

I appreciate that you mentioned the importance of knowing the specific type of attorney you need. My sister was recently involved in a motorcycle accident and now I know that we have to find someone with experience handling accidents of this kind, so thank you for that! I’ll make sure that we ask them if they plan on splitting the bill just as you suggested. https://www.ggwmlawoffice.com/auto-accidents/

Wade Joel Reply

Posted Oct 04, 2019 at 13:48:07

Thank you so much for these tips on how to hire the best attorney. My brother recently went through a hit and run accident and now that I’ve read your article I’ll make sure we interview different personal injury lawyers before actually hiring one. I didn’t know about free consultations! Great focus on case length as well. http://www.wolfejones.com/Huntsville-AL

Anthony Cadet Reply

Posted Oct 05, 2019 at 02:51:17

This article helps me to get the new points regarding Best Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case. Thanks

Jack stiles Reply

Posted Oct 10, 2019 at 12:15:02

I thought that it was helpful when you suggested to discuss the fees of an injury attorney before you hire them. My wife and I have been talking about getting help for our son’s injury from his accident. When we look for one, I will be sure to choose one who has fees that will work for us. https://www.monrolawfirm.com/personal-injury-law/

Matthew Waring Reply

Posted Oct 11, 2019 at 06:41:58

Hi Mark, I appreciate your feedback! I’ll keep you in mind for Poway clients.

Matthew Waring Reply

Posted Oct 11, 2019 at 06:43:50

Clients should always feel free to discuss fees up front.

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