Need helping hiring a personal injury lawyer? After suffering an accident, you have a lot of things on your plate and might not know where to even begin.
You simply cannot sign with just ANY lawyer you stumbled upon. You need to do your due diligence and put in time and effort to find the right attorney. After all, your argument is only as good as the lawyer standing next to you in court, and having the right legal guide can be the difference between securing a just settlement or suffering under the weight of lost wages.
Follow these five simple steps to get started:
Step 1: Identify Your Needs/Wants From a Personal Injury Lawyer
First identify what is most important to you in a personal injury attorney and their firm as a whole. It is good to actually create a list of questions to ask yourself. Look below for some inspiration:
- Experience – Do you want a lawyer with experience in many areas of law or someone who is specialized in just personal injury? Furthermore, do you want a lawyer with experience in ALL areas of personal injury law (auto accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, product liability) or someone who specializes in only ONE area?
- Trial lawyer – Do you need a lawyer with lots of trial experience or would you rather avoid trial at all costs?
- Communication – Do you want a lawyer who will handle everything with updates here and there, or do you want a lawyer that will let you know every single detail going on with your case from point A to point B? It may also be important to learn whether you will be communicating directly with your lawyer most of the time or if you’ll be dealing with their assistants or paralegals only.
- Fees – Is a contingency fee very important to you? If so, what is the contingency fee amount that is acceptable?
- Location – Do you want a firm that is close by or do you mind driving a bit if it is for the right lawyer?
- Size of firm – Do you want to work with a firm that is large or do you want a small firm that might be able to give you more personalized attention?
Step 2: Look For Referrals
Word of mouth is very powerful. Ask your family, close friends, neighbors, coworkers, and Facebook friends for recommendations of attorneys they have worked with in the past. Sometimes trusted professionals like your doctor, accountant, or even a religious figure can be very helpful because they are centrally-located in the community and can have many connections.
Finally, even if the lawyer you are referred to doesn’t practice personal injury, keep in mind that the legal community is a tight-knit group and they may still be able to help connect you to someone else who can help.
Step 3: Research Online
Even with a handful of referrals, it is critical to do your due diligence and research lawyers on your own. There is a wealth of information online, including the firm’s website, online classifieds, reviews, and more. If you have a particular attorney in mind, find their biography page to learn more about their accolades, education, licenses, and bar affiliations. Reference your list of wants/needs and see if they match up to one or most things.
Furthermore, every state has its own local bar association, so check the lawyer’s bar status in the state in which your accident occured. It is also good to see if they have been sanctioned or if any disciplinary measures have been leveled against them.
Step 4: Schedule Initial Consultations
You don’t have to limit yourself to having a conversation with just one lawyer. Many firms offer free consultations, so there is no risk in simply talking with a lawyer and getting a feel for them. Talk with them over the phone or meet with them in person, if possible. You can learn a lot in one-on-one meetings.
Before this consultation, have a list of questions ready that are specific to your case. Ask about their experience, their fees, and how they are going to be able to help YOU. After a few meetings under your belt, you’ll have plenty of information you can use to compare each attorney.
Step 5: Listen to Your Gut and Sign With a Lawyer Who Cares About You
You deserve nothing short of the best legal representation. After meeting with one or more lawyers, you might be able to see which attorney will make you feel the most comfortable at every step of the process. Some attorneys only care about the bottom-line over making the decisions that will benefit your case. Pick a personal injury attorney that genuinely cares about you as a person and your long-term wellbeing.
Put simply: trust your gut. If it does not feel right, move on to another attorney immediately—you can do this even if representation has already begun.
Get in Touch With a Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Louis Who Cares | The Hayden Law Firm
If you have been seriously injured in an accident of any kind and are looking for the right legal representation, contact us or call St. Louis personal injury lawyer Amanda Hayden at (314) 480-3100 for a free, no-risk consultation.