The Importance Of Selecting The Best Personal Injury Lawyer
Written by Greg on October 9, 2012
Every case is unique and must stand on its own merits. While fact patterns may be similar in cases, the parties are always different and bring something new and unique to a personal injury lawsuit. Many times it even seems like a accident case is sometimes somewhat of a popularity contest involving not only the plaintiff and the defendant but expert witnesses and also the attorneys.
If the jury does not like a person or a lawyer, they may not be as diligent in looking at the facts and may decide a case based upon how they feel about the person. While this may seem unfair, it stresses the importance for you to select the best personal injury attorney you can find. The personal injury victim cannot do much to change who they are and they can definitely impact the case by choosing a reputable and experienced attorney to help them through the legal maze of a injury claim. Credibility with the Court and the jury is absolutely essential to a successful personal injury case.
Some things you can do to help ensure the attorney you choose is the one who will be right for you starts with researching the attorney. The best basis for a evaluation will be a former client or a former adversary. There are numerous peer review ratings such as those found in Martindale Hubbell where the attorneys are rated by other attorneys they have dealt with over the years. In the Martindale Hubbell directory an AV rating indicates that the attorney has achieved the highest legal and ethical standards as rated by their peers in the legal profession. These reviews carry much weight within the legal community and are some things that attorneys look to when referring friends and family out-of-state.
Asking a personal injury attorney for a list of former clients who had similar cases is also a good idea on a very serious case. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can in some cases go on for years and the clients get to know the attorney very well over that period of time. I like to say that a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is like a long train ride and who you share the ride with can be critically important to both the outcome of the case and your enjoyment of the ride. Do not be bashful in asking an attorney for personal client references on similar cases.
Another factor that a personal injury victim will want to look at is similar case results. This is important not only for a feel for the attorneys actual law practice but also their experience in handling high-profile cases. Many published reports show “jury verdicts” and very large numbers, sometimes those numbers can be misleading not that the law firm did not obtain the verdict but whether it was collectible and even defended. Numerous large verdicts have been achieved where there was no defendant present at the trial. When looking at similar results by jury verdict asked whether the verdict was collected and what the exact amount that was collected was. A jury verdict with a lot of zeros behind it that is uncollectible did not do much for the personal injury victim or their family.
Additionally, look to similar cases in a quest to learn what specific type of case the attorney generally handles. In other words does the law firm handle numerous offshore injuries and occasionally take other types of accidents such as truck accidents or does the law firm emphasize eighteen wheeler crashes as their primary practice area. If you have a product liability case you will want to find the most experienced product liability attorney who has handled similar cases in the past. Finding someone who has experience in the specific case type is critical in your journey to find the best attorney for your case.
There are many other sources of information including the State Bar, other legal referral sources such as Avvo and friends and family members can also be an important source of information to start your research. If you know a attorney personally it is a good idea to ask the attorney you know who would be a good attorney for your case. Be wary however, of the attorney you are friends with wanting to handle your case if he is not an experienced and successful personal injury attorney. Over the years I’ve seen many general practitioners or other types of attorneys get over their head in a personal injury case simply because they were not experienced in that area of the law.
The more serious your personal injury case the more important it becomes that you are satisfied with your choice and that you did your homework prior to retaining a lawyer. Most personal injury attorneys offer initial consultation is free of charge and I recommend that you speak with several in person before making up your mind about who you want to help you in a case.
Greg Baumgartner is a Texas personal injury attorney who has been handling complex and high-profile personal injury cases for over 25 years. Greg is the founder of the Baumgartner Law Firm, which is dedicated to helping families seek civil justice after an accident. The Baumgartner Law Firm is based in Houston, Texas and serves families across the state. Google+.