The right lawyer is your best chance for success at earning compensation in your personal injury lawsuit.
You probably recognize that the fate of your personal injury case depends on the legal expertise of your attorney. The attorney you select, however, should be more than just the person who gets all the legal paperwork filed on time. A compassionate and thorough attorney is the best way to earn compensation and peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones during such a difficult time.
Below are some factors to consider before selecting your personal injury attorney.
Do I need a personal injury attorney?
All too often, potential lawsuits are never filed because an attorney wasn’t consulted. Similarly, many accident survivors only collect the small sum an insurance company offers when much more could have been recovered.
Potential plaintiffs worry that the cost of hiring an attorney is too high or that the accident or incident may have been partially their fault. It’s worth noting, however, that many personal injury attorneys only collect on the money you earn as compensation for your case. Additionally, you can still recover damages as long as you were less than 50% at fault for your accident in Georgia.
Many personal injury attorneys offer a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose by speaking with a lawyer.
Another mistake potential plaintiffs make is attending an arbitration or mediation without an attorney present. Although an attorney isn’t required for these legal proceedings, one can certainly assist with the process and simplify the terms.
In reality, many defendants bring a lawyer to settlement proceedings. Thus, you should have the same degree of legal representation.
The best ways to find a lawyer
Hiring a lawyer may seem daunting, but you have a host of resources right at your fingertips.
Most importantly, your goal is to schedule a consultation with an attorney who specializes in personal injury law. (This is an attorney who is trained to manage accident cases.)
Try to narrow down your search to a lawyer who handles your specific type of case. For example, a car accident attorney is technically a personal injury lawyer, but he or she may not be the best lawyer if you have a workplace accident claim.
There are several options for selecting a personal injury attorney, including the following:
- Ask another attorney. The legal network is fairly tight-knit in that lawyers are aware of the other leading firms in the area. If you have consulted an attorney for a separate legal matter, such as for help with your business or a divorce, ask this attorney for a recommendation for a personal injury expert. If the attorney feels comfortable enough to provide a name and you have had a good relationship in the past, the recommended attorney may be your strongest option.
- Ask family, friends or acquaintances. Ask for a personal referral from those who are closest to you as they surely have your best interest at heart. Even if they didn’t deal with a personal injury attorney directly, they may have heard favorable reviews of a lawyer that may be worth consulting.
- Consult bar associations. State and local bar associations often provide directories of its members. The State Bar of Georgia has both a basic law directory and an advanced search option.
- Check professional ratings. Various organizations allow clients to rate their attorneys based on their experience and the outcome of their cases. Some reviews are certainly more helpful and fair than others, and almost every law firm will have some negative reviews. Be sure to consider the bulk of the reviews though rather than letting one bad review discourage you.
- Try a Google search. Google’s local search options continue to improve, so providing your desired city or even just typing in “personal injury attorney near me” will present you with a list of attorneys in your preferred location.
- Search social media. Check out Georgia attorneys on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Reviews may also be available on these sites.
- Browse our directory. Last but not least, consider a looking for lawyer listed within the Enjuris directory of attorneys in GA.
How do I know I picked the right attorney?
Before your consultation, keep in mind a few considerations that will help you decide if this is the best personal injury attorney for you. These factors include:
- Legal training. What is the attorney’s legal background? How long have they been practicing?
- Specific experiences. Has the attorney handled many cases like yours? What were the outcomes?
- Comfort level. Did the attorney make you feel comfortable? Do you feel that he or she has your best interests in mind?
- Communication. Did the attorney answer all of your questions? How will they communicate with you in the future?
- Degree of representation. Will this person represent you in every aspect of the legal proceedings or could the case be assigned to someone else?
Beyond those considerations, make sure you are prepared for the consultation in order for the attorney to have full understanding of your case. Below is a downloadable infographic to help you know what to ask during your consultation.
Personal Injury Attorney Interview Sheet
Worksheet with questions to ask a personal injury attorney to help determine if he or she will be a good fit for your case
Download in PDF format
What if I am told I don’t have a case?
Though it may be tough to hear, not every claim is enough to file a lawsuit in the state of Georgia. Here are some of the reasons why your case may not be eligible for court:
Why Might a Personal Injury Lawyer Decline My Case?
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If an attorney declines your case, you are free to consult with another firm. Keep what that attorney said in mind as you truly may not be able to recover in a lawsuit. Nevertheless, if the attorney’s reasoning seemed vague or you didn’t feel comfortable during your visit, there is no harm in scheduling a second opinion.
Other Enjuris resources to help you choose the right attorney for your potential lawsuit:
- Tips on finding a qualified personal injury attorney - where to look
- Choosing a personal injury attorney – interview questions
- Preparing to meet with a personal injury attorney
- When do you NOT need an attorney after an accident?
- Why might a lawyer decline my case?
See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.