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Finding the right car accident attorney can take time. However, properly vetting your future lawyer will pay major dividends later as you reflect on the outcome of your case and your level of satisfaction with his or her performance. Fortunately, in the age of the internet, you have the ability to do most of the legwork from the comfort of your home. Use the guide below to determine whether a particular attorney is right for you and your unique legal situation.
Four questions to ask yourself before hiring an attorney
#1: Are they licensed in my state?
Make sure your future attorney is licensed in the state in which your case or claim will be filed. Oftentimes, lawyers will submit Google listings for service offerings in Minnesota or Wisconsin when they really only practice in New York, Texas, or Florida. You might also find personal injury attorneys who are only licensed in one state, yet continue to take on cases in a neighboring state. For instance, an attorney possessing only a Minnesota licensure may offer representation to clients in Wisconsin.
This not only runs afoul of the ethical obligations attorneys are sworn to uphold, but it can also lead to opposing parties not taking you or your attorney seriously. Unfortunately, this happens all too often in personal injury cases, and it is a sign that your injury attorney may favor short-term gains over your well-being. What’s more, insurance companies love to take advantage of these types of lawyers (and their clients) because they know there is no legal foothold to file a lawsuit on their own.
#2: Do they handle my type of case?
Confirm that your attorney regularly practices in the area of your case. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, make certain that the attorney actually handles car accident cases, and won’t just hand your case off to a more qualified attorney in order to get your business. Be forewarned, it is not that uncommon for some attorneys to take on clients despite a limited understanding of that specific area of law.
#3: What are previous clients saying?
Does the attorney have many positive reviews from past clients? A simple Google search can produce enough reviews to give you a general idea of what type of attorney-client relationship you will be wading into, but consider checking those references against other industry sources like AVVO and FindLaw. These trusted review sites will provide you a fuller picture of what an attorney has to offer.
Additionally, sites like Super Lawyers and National Trial Lawyers will often elevate attorneys based on positive reviews from peers and clients. Consider checking these sites to see if your attorney has received any awards. After all, who wouldn’t want an award-winning attorney on their side?
#4: Do they get results?
Does your attorney have many success stories regarding similar cases? Take a look at the attorney’s website and see if there are success stories in the practice area for which you are seeking representation. For example, if you have an auto accident case, see if your attorney can speak to the successful litigation of other auto accidents and provide substantive details about the outcomes of those cases.
Finding the Right Attorney: Harder Than It Seems, Easier Than You Thought
Finding the right attorney isn’t an exact science. However, utilizing the four questions above is a great way to begin your search. Once you have done your homework, it is recommended that you follow up your research with an in-person consultation, phone call, or virtual conference. This final gesture should give you the confidence you need to make an informed decision about who you choose to represent you in your legal endeavors.