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How to Pick a Personal Injury Lawyer Choosing the right lawyer can make an immense difference in the result of your personal injury claim, which makes picking out the right lawyer a vital decision. Majority of lawyers who concentrate on personal injury law represent only one side of these cases – either the plaintiff (the injured person) or the defendant (the person entity that allegedly 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 where you found your prospects, you’ll want to trim down that list to three or four using the following criteria:
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> Biographical Information – Know the background of the lawyer. Does he look like an expert in the type of personal injury claim you have? 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 you know about them, the better.
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> Professional Associations – Find out if the attorney belongs to 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 – Call your state bar association or take a look at their website to determine whether the lawyer you are eyeing 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? After narrowing down your list of candidates, inquire about a consultation . You don’t have to cross a lawyer off your list simply because he doesn’t have the time for an appointment with you on short notice. It’s natural for good personal injury lawyers to be busy. 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, read the contract before singing it as you may still need to pay for costs (not included in legal fees) such as court stenographer or expert witness fees, photocopying fees, and so on.