Hiring the right personal injury lawyer is an important decision — one that can make or break the success of your claim.
Despite this, many people rush to hire the first lawyer they notice advertising in a newspaper, on local TV or on public transportation. And as a result, far too many people with legitimate claims end up settling for less than they deserve, or even nothing at all.
Just like a business owner wouldn’t hire an employee without first carrying out an interview, it’s important to ask yourself several key questions before choosing the right Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer to represent you.
As a top Costa Mesa area injury and accident law office, we help hundreds of clients deal with injuries, accidents and other stressful cases every year. In doing so, we think it’s important for clients to move forward with the confidence that they’ve picked the right person.
To do that, you can use the seven questions below to check that you’ve picked the right lawyer for your case. The more frequently you find yourself nodding “yes” to the questions below, the more confidence you should have that you’re working with a skilled and effective attorney.
Do they specialize in personal injury law?
When you have a personal injury case, you need a personal injury lawyer. Just like you wouldn’t hire an immigration lawyer to handle a bankruptcy case, you shouldn’t choose anyone except a specialist personal injury attorney to handle your personal injury or accident case.
Luckily, this is an easy question to answer. A quick browse of any lawyer’s website will show you which field of law they specialize in. If the lawyer you’re interested in working with is a specialist in personal injury and accident law, you’re definitely moving in the right direction.
Do they have a history of successful settlements and verdicts?
As the saying goes, “the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior.” If a personal injury attorney has a history of either winning cases for their clients or securing large settlements, it’s an extremely good sign that they know how to do their job.
This question is usually easy to answer. During your consultation with your attorney, simply ask them about the number of large-scale settlements or verdicts they’ve won. While some lawyers might be humble, most will be happy to inform you of their previous results.
Are they highly rated by previous clients?
In the world of social media and attorney review websites like Avvo, it’s harder than ever for low quality, poorly performing attorneys to stay in business.
One of the best ways to assess an attorney is by reading their ratings and reviews from previous clients. If a lawyer has a history of high ratings and positive feedback, it’s a clear indicator of an effective approach to settling or fighting cases.
If you’ve received a personal recommendation for an attorney from a friend, relative, colleague or business partner, it’s also a sign that they have a reputation for delivering results.
Are they a member of trial lawyer associations?
Great lawyers, both in personal injury and in other legal fields, almost always belong to a state or county legal associations and other professional bodies.
When you’re choosing a lawyer, look beyond their qualifications and bar admissions (although both of these are also important) and also check that they’re involved in a variety of local, state or county legal associations and groups.
This shows that they’re not only effective at representing their clients, but also active in the local legal professional community.
Have they taken previous personal injury cases to trial?
Has your desired attorney taken cases to trial in the past, or do they tend to settle the majority of cases outside of court?
Because insurance companies can be aggressive in negotiating cases, some personal injury lawyers suggest settling to the overwhelming majority of their clients, even when accepting a low settlement isn’t necessarily in their best interests.
While no personal injury attorney takes every case to trial, being willing to take a case to the courtroom when settlement offers are unrealistically low is a major sign that a personal injury lawyer is confident in their abilities and willing to fight for you.
Do they offer personalized, dedicated service?
Often, overly busy lawyers will assign the majority of your casework to a “case manager” or other employees, spending little of their own time managing your case and ensuring you get a reasonable settlement or verdict.
This can be a frustrating experience that leaves you at a disadvantage as a client, even if you only pay for results in the form of a contingency fee.
When you’re choosing an attorney to handle your case, check that they’re fully dedicated in helping you. Great lawyers might be busy, but they’ll always offer focused, dedicated service that shows you they take your case seriously.
Are they a good “match” for you as a client?
Finally, it’s important to choose an attorney that’s a good “match” for you as a client. After all, your relationship with your attorney is an important one, and as such your lawyer should treat you with a significant degree of respect, honesty, transparency, and professionalism.
This means keeping you informed of developments related to your case if and when they occur, answering your phone calls and emails promptly and giving you an honest assessment of your case as it moves forward.
Need a personal injury attorney? We’re here to help
The Law Offices of Daniel Kim is one of Southern California’s top personal injury and accident law firms, specializing in helping people of all backgrounds receive fair legal treatment after an automotive accident or other personal injury situation.
If you need legal advice or assistance related to an injury case, we’re here to help. For more information, please schedule a free consultation using our online case evaluation form or call our team now on 1-800-560-2139.