If you – or someone you love – has been hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you may suddenly find yourself researching personal injury lawyers or personal injury law firms to help you navigate the complexities of your situation
Whether your injury was due to a car accident, a workplace incident, or possibly medical malpractice, it won’t always be easy to prove that you were the person wronged, even if your injuries were clearly not your fault or your own doing.
Corporations and insurance companies have access to large amounts of money that they set aside in order to help them fight all sorts of personal injury claims.
Having a qualified personal injury lawyer on your side, especially if this is your first time going through this process, will not only improve your chances of winning your case, but it will also guarantee that you have skilled professionals who know this process much better than you do.
Personal injury lawyers work specifically to help bring justice to a person who has been wronged by someone else and to help them secure the financial compensation they need in order to move forward in their lives.
Unfortunately, not all personal injury lawyers or personal injury legal firms operate on an equal footing, and not all will always have their client’s best interests at heart.
Others may not intentionally steer their clients in the wrong direction, but they just don’t have the skill or expertise to represent their clients in the best way possible.
But the question is this…
If you are searching for an experienced personal injury attorney for yourself or a loved one, how do you know what to look for?
And… what are some red flags that should let you know that a specific lawyer or law firm is not going to have what you need in your particular case?
Let’s look at some of the most important things you should be looking for when deciding which personal injury lawyer and/or personal injury law firm is best for you and the situation that you now find yourself in.
1. What Types of Cases Do They Handle?
As mentioned earlier, personal injury attorneys handle legal cases that have to do with a person being injured by another party through no fault of their own.
Sometimes those injuries may even lead to death.
In a situation where a death has occurred, a wrongful death case will be filed, and is also the type of law that a personal injury lawyer will practice.
Though all of the personal injury law deals with injury or death due to another person’s negligence, not all personal injury lawyers are fully skilled in all types of personal injury cases.
For example, an attorney at a certain law firm may have more experience with medical malpractice cases, having tried a large number of them.
Another attorney at that same law firm may have more experience with car accident victims and their cases, as perhaps that has become an area of personal injury law that he or she has focused more heavily on.
A good personal injury attorney should be able to provide you with some specifics as to what cases they have tried and what types of personal injury law they feel they have had a particularly strong amount of experience with.
2. What Is Their Success Rate?
When deciding on the right personal injury attorney, it is not only important to know which types of cases they are most familiar with, but it’s also important to know what their success rate has been with those cases as well.
A personal injury law firm that specializes in medical malpractice cases will be beneficial to you if you have suffered an injury at the hands of a physician or medical professional.
That said – if that personal injury law firm has lost more of its cases than they have won, perhaps they are not going to be the best law firm for you.
You will want to find the right personal injury lawyer who not only specializes in your type of personal injury but also has had great success in getting the maximum compensation for their clients as a result.
No matter how many times a personal injury lawyer has dealt with a certain kind of lawsuit, if he or she doesn’t have a good track record for winning, then they may not be the right personal injury lawyer for you.
3. How Do They Base Their Fees?
The practice of law is a complex one, and there are dozens of different types of law that an attorney can decide to focus on.
There are also a wide variety of ways that an attorney or law firm may choose when it comes to deciding how to be paid for their services.
In certain types of law, it is common for an attorney or law firm to ask a client to give them a retainer upfront, before any services have been rendered.
A retainer is a form of advance payment. Depending on the services that are sought, retainer fees can be anywhere from a few thousand dollars to ten to twenty thousand.
By asking for a retainer fee, an attorney can feel confident that their bills will be paid. Clients will still be invoiced accordingly, but the payment will come out of the retainer until there are no funds left available for the client to access.
With a personal injury lawsuit, it is not common for an attorney to charge their client for any fees or services until the personal injury claim has been completed and payment has been received.
Why is this the case with personal injury lawsuits and not necessarily with other types of law?
Though there are a few reasons why a personal injury lawyer will choose not to collect payment until the case is resolved, the main reason is simple.
Personal injury lawsuits tend to be quite expensive. Not only will there most likely need to be testimony from doctors, therapists, co-workers, or others that witnessed the accident but there is also the fact that all of these individuals will need to be compensated for their time and resources as well.
Not only that, but oftentimes the insurance company that is representing the other party will have their own legal representation trying hard to disprove your lawsuit and bring in plenty of experts of their own.
A good personal injury law firm will know that they need to have the financial resources to hire and pay for the services of the necessary professionals.
But they also know that expecting their client to have the financial resources to pay for these services is probably impractical and maybe even impossible.
For most accident and injury victims, trying to get their life back to normal is going to be challenging enough without having to figure out how to come up with the extra income to pay for all these services upfront or even at the time they are rendered.
And – if your personal injury accident has left you injured and unable to work, your personal finances are going to be even tighter during this period.
For these reasons, a good personal injury lawyer or law firm will usually not ask for any payment on your case until it is resolved and you have received a successful settlement.
It’s crucial that you choose a law firm that won’t ask you to pay any legal fees up front, especially if finances are tight and you don’t have the kind of cash to have it sitting in another person’s bank account.
If you know that your attorney won’t charge you anything until the successful settlement has been reached, then you can now be free to devote all of your time and energy to your legal claim and to restoring your life to the way it should be.
4. Is the Attorney Trustworthy? How About Reliable?
Reliability is an important trait that we look for in many of our different relationships.
But when it comes to the relationship between an attorney and their client, being reliable takes on a whole new level of importance.
Personal injury victims have typically been through quite an ordeal by the time they reach out to an attorney.
Whether they’ve been in a horrible car accident, have been hurt at their workplace, or have been injured by a physician or healthcare provider that they trusted, personal injury victims have probably lost some trust in some of the people that they had always trusted before.
Take, for example, the personal injury victim who has been hurt at their place of work.
Up until the accident, that victim has probably always thought of their workplace as a safe place to be, and they probably trusted that the people who were in charge knew the importance of keeping their employees safe.
Now that the workplace accident has occurred, that injured employee probably has some doubts as to whether or not their boss or others in supervisory roles really ever had their best interests in mind.
This kind of trust is hard to regain, so it’s imperative that injury victims make sure to find a lawyer or personal injury law firm that they know is reliable, and that they can fully trust.
They will want to know that phone calls are returned in a timely manner and that appointments are kept as promised.
They’ll want to make sure that documents are filed accordingly and that information is shared with them as needed and explained if needed also.
Reliability is going to be a huge factor when you are searching for the best personal injury lawyer for your case.
But how can you make sure your chosen lawyer is trustworthy and reliable?
Put simply, ask them. During your first meeting, bring a list of questions with you, such as, “How do you prioritize phone calls and emails from clients?” and “How much time will you take with me to explain parts of my case that I don’t understand?”
Not only should you ask them these questions, but you should question others as well.
Make it clear to the attorney that you would like to talk to a past client or two. Asking for references shows that you are willing to do your due diligence in finding the right attorney fit.
Don’t take reliability or trustworthiness for granted. Both are important characteristics of a good personal injury lawyer and need to be vetted before you can make your final decision.
5. Is The Attorney Relatable?
Another important quality that any personal injury attorney should have is relatability.
Just as a doctor’s bedside manner is important to us, so too is an attorney’s overall affect and personality.
Some people may prefer an attorney that is more bookish and intellectual, just stating facts and keeping emotion out of the conversation.
Others may want an attorney that has more charisma and an outgoing style.
Still, others may not care much about their attorney’s personality and instead just want to make sure they are capable and confident in the courtroom, ready to take on any sort of situation with strength and ease.
When you first meet your lawyer, whether it be in person or over the phone, you should quickly feel at ease with this person as comfortable when you’re talking to them.
Your questions should be met with honest answers that you can easily understand. And thoughtful, relevant questions should be asked of you as well.
Most vital is that – no matter what you ask or say – you are never left feeling inferior, misunderstood, or uncomfortable in this attorney’s presence.
Yes, it’s crucial that the personal injury attorney that you choose understands their field of law and is known for favorable outcomes and getting the financial compensation that you need and deserve.
But – if you don’t feel as though you can relate to that particular attorney’s style and/or personality, it’s going to be significantly harder for you to move forward with your case, or feel that the person representing you is working in your best interest and knows your wants and needs as well as they should.
6. Is the Attorney Being Realistic With You?
Finally, one of the hardest but just as important factors you need to look for when deciding on the right personal injury attorney for you is how realistic they actually are.
Let’s face it – when you are suffering after a personal injury accident, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the information coming your way.
From doctor’s visits for unhealed injuries to phone calls or visits with your insurance company, financial institution, or other professionals, it can sometimes feel like this nightmare is never going to end and that your whole life is forever going to be consumed with the consequences of an accident that left you injured but wasn’t your fault.
In a case like this, you need to make sure that whatever personal injury attorneys you decide to interview for your case can talk to you realistically about what your options are and what outcomes are possible with your particular personal injury claim.
Of course, you want an attorney who is positive and optimistic about your income. Personal injury lawyers who can do that will help to set your mind at ease and make this whole daunting process feel a bit less frightening and complicated.
But…personal injury lawyers that are too optimistic, or unrealistically idealistic about the outcome could end up doing more harm than good.
Personal injury lawyers that lead you to believe that your whole case is going to be smooth sailing put you at a risk for great disappointment later down the road, when things may get a bit bumpy.
The bottom line is this — when you are interviewing personal injury lawyers for your wrongful death or personal injury case, make sure you look for someone who can have a positive approach to what your outcome will be, while also being realistic with you, even if they must tell you things you’re not sure you want to hear.
Personal Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles — We Are Here for You
Now that you have a better idea of what traits you should look for — and what traits you should avoid — when you are seeking a personal injury lawyer for your personal injury case, reach out to the law offices of John J. Perlstein today.
For over 25 years, our law offices have helped people in the Los Angeles area with personal injury cases fight for the financial compensation they deserve while also being the advocate that they need.
When you call our offices, you’ll be set up with a free consultation by our experienced staff who can help answer many of your preliminary questions.
And — at your free consultation — you can then ask the rest of the deeper questions to the experienced personal injury attorney that best meets your needs and the needs of your case.
From helping you deal with medical expenses, to helping you talk to your insurance company, our law firm is ready to walk you through the entire process.
When you’re ready to find the best personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles, give our office a call at 213-252-1070 to get started.
Personal injury cases are difficult to deal with, no matter what your situation is.
Let one of our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers make it easier…every step of the way.
John J. Perlstein
Top rated personal injury attorney in Beverly Hills, California