If you are involved in an accident, you may not know who to turn to first. You might be scared and alone, but you might also know that you’ll need to take legal action to put your life back together. One of the most important phone calls you can make is to a good attorney. Finding that attorney, though, can be quite difficult. If you want to make sure that you get a good lawyer, you’ll want to find an attorney who is right for you. The best attorney for your needs will always have the qualities listed below.
The Right Experience
The simplest factor in finding a good attorney is experience. You always want to work with someone who has a few court appearances under his or her belt and who has spent some time practicing personal injury law. Thankfully, bar association rules prevent lawyers from claiming experience they don’t actually have, so someone who claims to practice personal injury law does specialize in that area.
Make sure that your potential attorney has handled cases like yours before. If you are in an auto accident, you want someone who has handled that sort of case. If your accident was on a bike, on the other hand, you’ll need someone who has had similar clients in the past. The more familiar they are with your circumstances, they better they can represent you.
A Good Reputation
The right lawyer should also have an outstanding reputation in your area. In most cases, the easiest way to find out if a lawyer is well-liked is to do a little bit of internet sleuthing. Popular review sites are usually full of lawyer reviews and unhappy clients will be more than happy to tell it like it is. If there are only one or two unhappy reviews, don’t fret – this usually means that a lawyer is good at his or her job. If you see a huge number of these reviews, though, it may be time to find help from someone else.
If you can’t find any reviews, you might want to check your local bar association’s website. If you lawyer has been censured or otherwise punished recently, there will usually be some evidence of that on the site. If your potential lawyer has gotten in trouble for something more serious than failure to pay dues or forgetting to attend a class, you might want to start looking for a different attorney.
An Honest Personality
The lawyer who is right for you is also going to be honest, even possibly to a fault. He or she is going to let you know up front not just if you have a case, but whether that case is worth pursuing. A good lawyer knows that he or she can only take so many cases, and most will tend to avoid those that don’t have a good chance of turning out well. These lawyers know that it’s simply not worth your money to get involved with a case and then have it turn out poorly.
If your lawyer won’t answer questions or if he or she always gives vague answers, you probably aren’t dealing with someone who is going to provide you with the help you need. The vast majority of lawyers are very honest with their clients, if only because failure to be honest can cause some severe ethics violations. If you get a bad feeling about how you are being treated, you might want to avoid working with that attorney – listening to your gut can be quite helpful when finding a lawyer.
A Fair Price
A good lawyer is also going to charge you a fair amount for his or her time. While it’s lovely to think that you’ll always get a perfect lawyer who meets all of your other criteria for the price you can afford, the truth is that some lawyers will simply be out of your price range. You want to work with someone who can represent you well but who won’t cause you undue financial hardship. Lawyers charge for their time, but you should never work with someone who charges more than you can afford.
It’s always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about costs upfront. Good lawyers have no problem talking about pricing structures, including payment plans. You may also be able to find a great attorney who works on contingency, and he or she will spell out exactly what that means if you ask about such an arrangement. The best lawyer will always find a way to make sure the you get affordable help, even if that means referring you to someone else.
There is a great lawyer out there who can help you with all of your legal problems. Make sure they are affordable, skilled, and have a good reputation. Above all else, though, make sure you are comfortable with the attorney. Your working relationship will be very important to your happiness during the legal process.