Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring the right personal injury attorney is crucial when you sustain an injury due to another party’s negligence. It could mean the difference between achieving a positive outcome for your personal injury case and being responsible for damages caused by another person.
Choosing a personal injury lawyer to handle your case does not need to be an exhausting, time-consuming project. However, there are some steps that you should take to ensure you find the best attorney for your case.
At Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C., our highly-skilled personal injury attorneys have helped thousands of clients with their injury cases. We can help you, too, beginning by giving you the ultimate guide to hiring a personal injury attorney.
Table of Contents
Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer That Practices the Correct Area of Law for Your Case
When you choose a personal injury attorney to handle your case, you want a lawyer who has experience handling cases similar to your case. The type of case makes a difference when you hire a lawyer.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you would not want to hire an attorney who only handles medical malpractice cases. Likewise, if you fell while on vacation at a resort, a premises liability lawyer would be the attorney for you.
Focus on finding an attorney with extensive experience and an excellent track record representing clients whose injury cases are in the same area of law as your case. If you are unsure what areas of law your case falls within, our legal staff is happy to answer that question for you.
Create a Shortlist of Potential Attorneys
Searching Google for “personal injury attorney in New York City” will give you multiple pages of results. The search results may include a qualified injury lawyer near you, but they also include paid advertisements. It can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Instead, you might want to begin your search by using the New York State Bar Association lawyer referral service. You can narrow your search to attorneys who accept cases in a specific area of law.
You may also want to search for lawyers through professional organizations based on specialty. For example, many organizations require members have special certifications, which indicate a higher level of legal knowledge about a specific area of law.
Asking friends and family members for referrals may also be helpful. However, you want referrals from people who have hired a lawyer for a case.
If you know an attorney you trust that practices another area of law, ask that attorney for a referral. Make sure to ask the attorney who they would choose if they needed a personal injury lawyer for himself or a family member.
Check the Attorney’s Disciplinary History
The attorney you choose needs to be in good standing and licensed to practice in New York. The New York State Unified Court System provides a free online search. The search results include the attorney’s public disciplinary history. You might want to cross off an attorney from your list who has a public disciplinary record.
You can also verify the attorney is registered with the state to practice law. In addition, the attorney’s law school is noted and the date the attorney was admitted to practice in New York. If you need additional information, you can contact the appropriate Appellate Division Department.
Review the Law Firm’s Resources
Larger firms may have more resources, but do not discount smaller law firms. There are pros and cons to hiring large law firms and small law firms.
For example, you may receive more personalized service from a smaller law firm with fewer clients. On the other hand, a larger law firm may have more resources to hire expert witnesses and investigators to assist with your case.
Reading the law firm’s website can give you a good idea about the firm’s size, age, experience, resources, and connections. Choosing a law firm with well-established reviews and resources is generally in your best interests.
Read Review From Clients and Peers
Client reviews can be a great source of information about an attorney’s legal services. However, keep in mind there will always be a few clients who were dissatisfied for reasons that were unrealistic or outside of the attorney’s control.
When reading online reviews, look for specific examples of why the person is providing a good or poor review. Details indicate the person is providing a reliable, honest review. You might want to check sites, including Yelp, Google, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, and Avvo.
It is also helpful to read peer reviews from other attorneys. They may provide a different aspect of the attorney’s abilities, skills, and personality. Peer review sites include BestLawyers and Martindale-Hubbell.
Scheduling a Consultation to Meet with the Attorney in Person
The only way to judge a lawyer’s personality is to meet with the attorney in person. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so you can meet with several attorneys before deciding which law firm to hire.
Most law firms have contact forms on their website. Our online contact form is here. You can also call or chat online with a live person. You can also call the law firm to schedule a free consultation.
Questions to Ask During Your Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer
During your initial consultation, you discuss the details of your case with an attorney. The attorney may remain quiet and listen to you explain the details of your case. An attorney wants to gather as much information as possible before offering legal advice.
After the attorney gives you their opinion about your case and your legal options, you should have a chance to ask questions. Creating a list of questions before the consultation is the best way to gather information. A written list of questions also gives you a place to make notes as the attorney answers your questions.
Consultation questions that you want to include on your list are:
- How many cases similar to my case do you handle each year?
- How often do you argue cases like my case in court?
- Will you manage my case personally? If not, who will be in charge of my case?
- What is your track record for settlements and jury verdicts?
- How will I participate in my case?
- Does your firm have the resources and staff to handle my case?
- What is your contingency fee? How are costs handled during the case and if we lose?
- Do you see any problems or issues that could complicate my case?
- What do you believe is the probable outcome of my case?
An honest attorney will tell you that they cannot guarantee results. The lawyer also cannot tell you how much your case is worth until they complete an investigation, you complete medical treatment and they have your full medical records.
Rate Your Confidence Level and Narrow Your List
You must be able to communicate with the attorney you hire. Effective communication is essential for the success of the case. Your attorney should explain things to you and answer your questions, but they should also spend time listening to you as you explain things and voice your concerns.
Therefore, you want to feel comfortable talking with the attorney. In addition, you should feel confident that the attorney listens to you and cares about you and your case.
Trust your instincts after a consultation. If the meeting did not “feel right,” cross the attorney’s name off your shortlist.
When you have two or three names on your list, compare the attorneys based on what you have learned. Then, choose the attorney you trust who has the experience, qualifications, and resources to handle your case.
Retain a Lawyer by Signing a Contingency Fee Agreement
When you decide on one attorney, contact the law firm to schedule an appointment to sign your retainer and contingency fee agreement. Even though it might take you a few weeks to research and review potential personal injury attorneys in New York City, it will be worth it.
The goal is to hire the right injury lawyer for your case. You want to give yourself the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.
Contact Our New York Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Our New York City personal injury attorneys are available to meet with you to discuss your case and provide a free case evaluation. Our legal team is passionate about helping injured victims recover fair settlements and jury verdicts. We work diligently to obtain justice for each of our clients.
We encourage you to reach out to our office by phone or online to speak with a member of our legal team.