Where to look and what to ask when hiring a personal injury lawyer in Texas
A Texas woman was recently injured in a devastating tractor trailer accident. The 18-wheeler swerved late at night and crossed the yellow line.
His front tire clipped the woman's car, and she careened into a retaining wall.
Hiring the right Texas personal injury lawyer is going to be one of the biggest choices she has to make as part of her accident case.
This woman's story is not unique. Many people are hurt each day in Texas, and they need help finding the right personal injury lawyer.
Choose a personal injury attorney with intimate knowledge of your part of Texas
If you're hurt in the Rio Grande Valley, you need a personal injury lawyer who knows those parts.
At the same time, a lawyer with Houston familiarity will be best for those cases out of Harris County.
Texas is a state where the county can play a major role in determining the outcome. The Valley is known as a plaintiff-friendly area, with people winning bigger settlements there. Near Dallas, though, you'll have more difficulty winning a big settlement because of the strong business interests there.
- Recommendations from friends
- Texas Bar Association
- Independent legal directories
Having a lawyer who knows the area can help you overcome these challenges or take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. See more on defendant and plaintiff-friendly areas of Texas.
The lawyer's case-specific knowledge
In Texas, car injury law is governed by a somewhat malleable portion of the common law.
However, some injury situations can be governed by more specific statutes.
It's critical to seek out a person who has done work with your type of case.
You wouldn't want a person who primarily does car accidents to handle your oil industry accident case, right?
It's critical to eye a lawyer who has experience dealing with what you've been through. This will help you manage the difficulty of your situation, and the lawyer will have specific resources that can help with your rehab and recovery.
Overall experience and available resources
If a firm is small and relatively inexperienced, there is an upside to that.
A small firm can be hungry. With fewer clients, it may also be able to give your case more individual attention.
Conversely, a large firm may have more experience and resources. They may also have longer standing relationships with the courts in your area, too.
- Narrow down to 3 choices
- Research online – search on “lawyers name + reviews” to see what previous clients have said
- Interview in person if possible
- Take your time – this may be one of the biggest decisions in your entire case
Look for a Texas lawyer with good judicial connections
Texas is the kind of place where relationships matter.
Given that the courts in Texas often employ a sort of "good old boy" feel, many personal injury lawyers won't find success until they cultivate proper relationships with both judges and potential experts.
You should find a personal injury lawyer who has good connections with the judicial branch in his or her area.
You can figure this out by checking the lawyer's associations. Does the lawyer participate in the local bar association? Does he or she contribute to campaigns?
These are the little things that can make a difference in moving a case one direction or the other.
Enjuris tip: Some popular directories you can use to look for a personal injury lawyer
Directory of personal injury lawyers organized by state, with accompanying legal information for your case type. Ask a lawyer questions without a lot of forms. Texas personal injury lawyers
Find lawyers by location and areas of practice. Includes lawyer ratings, background, and disciplinary history, as well as articles on legal topics and an ask-a-lawyer feature.
Find lawyers by location and expertise. Includes information on legal topics, blogs, and news.
Find lawyers by location and subject. Includes ratings, helpful articles, a legal dictionary, a law blog, forums, and an ask-a-lawyer feature.
You'll also want to make sure the lawyers you talk to are in good standing with the bar and see if they've ever been disciplined in the past. See here for Texas information on any censures or disciplines.
Trial ability and negotiating ability are equally key
If you're hurt in an accident, you will have many options.
You might be able to go all the way to trial. There, you could win a big award from a jury that likes your story and wants to help you get back on your feet.
On the other hand, it might make sense for you to seek a settlement. If you happen to be up against a defendant that does not want to go to trial, they may offer a nice amount of money.
Having a Texas accident attorney who can navigate both of these situations is key.
It's critical to know how to get the maximum result out of any given situation. It's also critical to have trial skills in case the matter goes in front of a Texas jury.
Your comfort level matters
In addition to having skill, your accident lawyer should be able to relate to you.
Some lawyers in Texas do this better than others.
Given that Texas has a wide variety of different cultures, you will want to make sure that the lawyer is comfortable with yours.
A good personal injury lawyer will be able to look at your situation and figure out your specific needs, listening along the way.
Be sure to interview potential lawyer candidates to see how well they listen. Are they trying to speak over you? Do they seem to be understanding your needs?
The better you can relate with your accident attorney, the better off you will be when it comes time to solve your problem.
Ask who'll actually be representing you
Even if you're dealing with a large firm and bringing a big claim, you should not assume a team of lawyers will be working your case.
The word "we" may be a popular marketing copy choice, but it's quite possible that when you go into a negotiation or to court that a single lawyer will be representing you. It may even be a paralegal who handles your case primarily.
It's a good idea to ask the law firm to clarify the amount of representation you can expect to be provided before moving forward.
As for the woman in the Texas 18-wheeler truck accident?
She was lucky to walk away with her life, but the situation cost her dearly.
She experienced pain in her back and her extremities. She couldn't go to the executive assistant job she'd worked so hard to get. She lost her car, and she had to have surgery to repair a herniated disk. The medical bills got into six figures before she even accounted for all of the pain medicine she needed to get over the accident.
Thanks to her upfront efforts and help from family members, she has been able to find a great Texas personal injury lawyer to help her with a case for compensation for those bills and pain and suffering.
At the end of the day, there are good personal injury lawyers in Texas who can help you win at trial or get the best possible settlement.
You don't have to settle for a lawyer without experience or one without expertise in your area of Texas.
Try to find a lawyer who can help bring you justice and secure the outcome that you're looking for, whether that's a big monetary settlement or the satisfaction of knowing that you've received justice.
See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.