If you have been injured or have had a loved one killed due to the negligence of another, you may hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you to get the compensation you deserve. Finding the right lawyer can be a tricky business, and there are specific characteristics to look for to get the best local representation.
There are many benefits to using a personal injury lawyer in Houston versus one that is not local. However, there are criteria you should examine before you make a decision about which local lawyer right for you.
Research the Lawyers
You do a Google search to find a personal injury lawyer, the first 4 listings will be adds paid for by the attorney, which usually indicates a high-volume law practice.
Look for a law firm that demonstrates their commitment to a specialty of personal injury law versus a law firm that covers many areas and may be spreading their expertise too thin. Experience does matter in choosing a personal injury lawyer.
Look at the Law Firms Website
Visiting a local lawyer’s website can reveal much about them, such as their practice areas and how long they have been serving the community. Top lawyers write blogs consistently updated that may indicate that they are staying abreast of personal injury cases and practice extensively in the area similar to your situation.
The more specialized the attorney is, the better, is a pretty good rule. Look for an attorney who has experience in your specific type of case.
Look at Similar Case Results
If you were injured in a trucking accident, seek out the best truck accident lawyer. If you were hurt by a dangerous product, look for the best attorney with results in product cases. Be wary of boasts of large settlements, that are business lawsuits or included multiple people. Lawyers love to toot their own horns, but some large settlements are misleading relating to your type of case. Select an attorney who has results with your kind of accident.
Look for Bar Association Complaints
Doing a Google search alone is no way to choose a lawyer. However, it’s useful to see if the lawyer has any wrongdoing. You can check to see if a Texas lawyer has been the subject of complaints or disciplinary actions by going to this page and adding the lawyer’s name for a search.
Look at On-Line Reviews
Reviews from former clients or other lawyers can be a very good source of information about the attorney. Be skeptical of any lawyer that has hundreds of reviews in a short period. They are either gaming the review system or they are so high-volume that you should avoid. Or both.
Don’t Be Fooled by Important Sounding Awards
Some awards for a lawyer carry great weight. These are peer-reviewed (votes by other lawyers) and are unrelated to the financial connection with the rating agency. Other awards are purchased and carry very little credibility.
Choose a Lawyer That:
- Has substantial experience with your type of case
- Only handles personal injury cases
- With stellar results with the kind of case you have.
- Has been Top-Rated by a Peer-Reviewed Vote
Avoid an Attorney That:
- Has practice areas outside personal injury
- Has a high-volume law practice
- Will pass your case off to an associate attorney
- Has hundreds of recent reviews
- Will not commit to personally doing the work on your case.
Referrals from Others
Referrals from friends and relatives can help you find the right personal injury lawyer near you. You may belong to clubs or social groups where you have met lawyers or have respected friends that have used a local lawyer for a situation such as yours. Ask two or three of your most trusted associates if they know of a local personal injury lawyer they have used and can recommend.
Avoid Unsolicited Referrals
Be careful about unsolicited referrals from acquaintances, though. If you get a call out of nowhere from someone you know touting an attorney, be wary! In Texas, it is against the law for lawyers to solicit personal injury cases. Avoid any attorney who contacts you directly or via a “friend”.
Personal Injury Experience
The old saying “there’s nothing like experience,” is right on the money. The more experience the attorney has with the specific case type that you have, the better. One of the worst things you can do, especially with a severe injury claim, is to hire an inexperienced attorney or one that does not have extensive experience in similar type accidents. If you have a collision with an 18-wheeler, you will want to seek out the most experienced attorney for an 18-wheeler accident you can find. Likewise, if you are looking for a wrongful death attorney, seek one with decades of winning wrongful death cases.
High Volume Law Firms
We recommend personal injury victims avoid high-volume law firms. The volume practice, quick settlement business model, is not one that is calculated to maximize the compensation for the victim. Likewise, you may speak with the seasoned partner in a high-volume law firm, and that may be the only time you talk with him or her. Often, these cases are handed off to low-level personnel for handling. Clients are thinking they are getting the top gun and up realizing later on that an inexperienced associate did the work.
Ask specifically who in the law firm will be doing work on your case. If the senior partner only assures you, he will “oversee” every step; you can rest assured a junior lawyer will do the vital work on the file.
Interviewing Potential Lawyers
Meeting personal injury lawyers face to face can give you crucial non-verbal information about them. The way they groom, dress, and carry themselves can tell you more about a person than a 1000-word essay that the lawyer may have written. The quality and decor of a lawyer’s office might indicate their personality and taste and give you an idea if they may be the person you would like to represent you. Meeting a personal injury lawyer face to face can help you get a feel on whether or not they seem honest and would have your best interests at heart, or they may seem too busy or looking out for themselves only.
Find an attorney who you have confidence in because once the case ends up in litigation, the case can take some time to conclude. Changing lawyers after you sign up with one, can be difficult and expensive. It is always best to research the lawyer before you hire them. Here is an article on the top 6 mistakes in hiring a car wreck lawyer.
During a face-to-face meeting, you can share information about your case and test to see if the lawyer will invest the time to carefully and compassionately listen. You can begin with a chat about belonging to the same local organizations or knowing people that know other people. You may even have children that go to the same school or belong to the same church. Some local personal injury lawyers may have been in the area for generations and have built their good name and reputation over the decades.
When all of your questions asked and answered, two people could come to different conclusions on which lawyer is right for them. Meeting a local lawyer can provide you with the information critical to selecting the right lawyer for you. Getting referrals, using the internet, and meeting face-to-face could give you the information you need to choose the best personal injury lawyer “near you.”
Selecting a local accident lawyer is the way to go. If you live in Spring, TX, look for a personal injury lawyer in Spring. Why is that? Because the local lawyer will know the community, the crash site, the courts, and local procedures. Out of town, attorneys should be avoided unless the case is one that requires a specialist.
Do your background checks and choose your attorney wisely!
Call a Houston personal injury lawyer for a no-obligation consultation at (281) 587-1111!