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Choosing a Good Personal Injury Lawyer Hiring the right lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your personal injury claim, which makes picking the right lawyer a critical decision. Most attorneys who focus on personal injury law represent only one side of these kinds of cases – the plaintiff (the individual who was injured) or the defendant (the person or entity alleged to have caused the injury). Personal referrals and word of mouth are usually the best place to begin when you’re looking for an attorney. Web resources are also a good starting point for creating an initial list of candidates to consider. Whittling It Down Regardless of your source, you need to trim down that list to three or four candidates with the help of these criteria:
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> Biographical Information – Learn about the lawyer’s background. His profile must offer a picture of the types of cases he often handles (and which side he’s on). If it seems hard to tell, you can always call the office and ask. Check for other information that you can in these lawyers’ websites. The more informed you are, the better you will be able to decide.
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> Professional Associations – Determine whether the lawyer is part of any national, state or local trial lawyers’ associations. > Location – If you have a working relationship with a certain attorney who practices in another area, ask for names of some worthwhile prospects in the local scene. > Professional Standing – Visit the lawyer’s website or call your state bar association to know if the lawyer you’re interested in is in good standing. > Conflicts of Interest Does the lawyer represent anybody who might be affiliated with any of the parties you are planning to sue, or anybody who may have an interest in the result of the case? Once you’ve trimmed down your list of prospects, ask them each about a consultation . There’s no need to strike a lawyer off your list if he can’t meet you on short notice. Remember, if a personal injury lawyer is busy, he must be good. Money Issues Most personal injury claim scenarios make it possible to pay an attorney on a “contingency fee” basis. This means that the lawyer will be get a portion of any court award or settlement you receive – typically around a third – and if you don’t receive anything, neither does your lawyer does get paid legal fees. In any case, it’s a must that you read the contract before affixing your signature, and understand that you may still have to pay for some “costs” (separate from legal fees) like photocopying fees, expert witness fees, court stenographer fees, and the rest.