Personal injury lawyers help those hurt in an accident get the financial support they deserve from the liable party (or their insurance company).
While personal injury is a niche in and of itself for lawyers, there are deeper areas of focus within it that lawyers may have. For example, a workers’ compensation specialist might not have the same level of success with car accidents as an attorney specializing in that arena. Finding the right personal injury lawyer requires consideration and knowing what to look for.
Here’s what you should be considering when trying to find a personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles.
Start With Referrals
Before you start a Google search, talk to family and friends to see if you can get some referrals for personal injury lawyers in your area. Most people have at least one person in their network who has been hurt in an accident and needed a lawyer. If you have used a lawyer in the past for a divorce, bankruptcy, traffic tickets, etc., contact them and ask for a referral.
You should also contact the Los Angeles County Lawyer Referral Service for a referral. The California Bar Association also maintains a referral service.
By asking for referrals, you may quickly get a list of recommended lawyers—or lawyers you should avoid.
Seek Experience With Your Type of Claim
You may want someone who specializes in your type of claim.
For example, a motorcycle accident is handled differently than an industrial accident. Claims involving defective products are different from pedestrian accidents.
Ask the lawyer whether they have experience handling claims like yours. Experience means that they will understand the issues involved, the potentially responsible parties and the best way to prepare your case for success. This often translates into better service and higher settlement amounts.
Look for Litigators
While 96% of personal injury cases get settled, you want to know that you have someone with the experience to go to trial if necessary. If your claim is complicated, involves a very serious injury or arises from an uncommon or unique situation, you may need to go to trial to get what you deserve.
Ask the lawyer about their trial experience and success rate. If the lawyer can’t cite their success rate, you may need to consider that they don’t have the right expertise for the job.
Works on Contingency Fees
Don’t sign up with a lawyer who wants to charge you an hourly rate. Look for a lawyer to work on contingency. Contingency means that they only get paid if and when you get paid. They are vested in your success!
Los Angeles personal injury lawyers charge anywhere from 33% to 40% of the settlement or award for their services. Anyone who charges more than the average should have ample experience and success to back up their rates.
Maintains a Professional Office
You can tell a professional office the moment that you walk in. It should seem clean, orderly and pleasant.
Listen to how the receptionist talks to callers and note whether the attorney has a good sense of who their clients are and their case details. A professional office usually helps you feel more confident in the lawyer’s abilities and will give you a sense of being heard when you call with questions.
It’s also true that an attorney must be relatively successful to have a comfortable, pleasant and well-staffed office. Consider how the attorney and staff interact with others, too. This is a good sign of the level of respect and consideration you can expect when you’re a client.