WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES TO CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING FOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS?
The first thing to look for in a personal injury attorney is to make sure they have a great deal of experience in handling personal injury cases because there is no substitute for experience. You don’t want somebody learning on your case, you’d rather have someone who has handled at least 1,000 personal injury cases in their career and to be at the top of their profession, after practicing law for 20 years or more. That would be my criteria if I were to hire a personal injury attorney.
Where can you find a personal injury attorney? There are many resources; online resources and referrals from friends or relatives are always good sources. If you’re checking online, using AVVO.com is probably the best place to start; your criteria should be to find an attorney who has a rating of 9 out of 10 stars, which means they are the top of their profession in terms of industry recognition, experience, success and lack of any major discipline issues. Everything you are looking for in an attorney can be searched at AVVO.com, and it will show their years in practice, any publications and so on and with a rating of 9 or above, you can be assured that they are the kind of attorney you might want to handle your case. Those are the exterior criteria.
The interior criteria would be your comfortability with the attorney, so you want to interview at least two or three personal injury attorneys who meet the exterior criteria I talked about; talk to them on the phone, listen to their tone of voice, how they address and talk with you, how they answer your questions, meaning whether they answer truthfully, honestly and straightforwardly or deceptively and evasively and in generalities; obviously, you want the former, not the latter. Find out if they seem to be able to answer your questions crisply and precisely, and do they have a warm and engaging personality and presence and, perhaps, a little bit of a sense of humor also. If they have those qualities on the phone, they will have those qualities in person and you should meet them in person, so that you and the attorney can size each other up and decide whether or not you have a legitimate good claim to pursue.
An attorney doesn’t want to take a case in which they will spend a lot of time and their own money pursuing, since you’re paying nothing upfront, and then end up with nothing for you; they don’t want to hurt their client and their expectations or yourself, so they’ll get that cleared away in the beginning as to whether or not you have a legitimate, good, winning personal injury case. If they do that, then you’ll probably have a winning team, with you and the attorney working together on your case.