There is no shortage of personal injury attorneys in Florida. When you are in need of representation, it could not be easier to find a lawyer. A simple Google search yields tens of thousands of possibilities. Finding the right lawyer to advocate for you, though, is a different matter. It can feel overwhelming: after all, this is a person who you trust to act in your best interest and help you navigate an exceptionally difficult time in your life. How do you narrow down the options and hire an attorney who will commit to delivering the best possible outcome for you?
Making the Personal Injury Lawyer/Client Relationship Work
It can take months or even years to fully resolve a personal injury case. When you engage an attorney, it is important that you trust, respect, and, yes, even like this person. They will be in your life, in some capacity, for a while yet as you go through this process.
Tips for finding the right fit:
1. Ask People Your Trust for Referrals
It’s basic, but word of mouth is still the best way to find the right products, services… and lawyers. It is likely that your friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and others in your life have had to consult an attorney before. Ask for names – of either those who they would wholeheartedly recommend or those who they would strenuously avoid. In either case, you will have a starting point.
2. Consult the Expert… Google
No, Google is not a legal expert – but the search engine is adept at finding relevant results for you, helping you locate attorneys who specialize in personal injury law in your area. After a general search, such as, “personal injury attorney in Palm Beach,” you can narrow in on potential candidates with sites like AVVO, Lawyers.com, Lawyerist, and others. This gives you access to information, including their specific practice areas, ratings and reviews, skills, certifications, etc.
3. Review the Reviews
You can find reviews on sites such as those we mentioned above, as well as social media profiles for the attorneys. Read them. This will give you a good indication of the experience people had, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the lawyer. Reviews are never a be-all-end-all but they are an essential piece of the puzzle.
It is important to weigh reviews, just as you do when you are researching products on a site like Amazon. For example, if someone did not get the outcome they wanted (e.g. a $10 million dollar settlement), they may leave a negative review – even if that outcome was not realistic given their situation. Try to read between the lines.
4. Verify that the Lawyers Are In Good Standing With the Florida Bar Association
Before you go any further, check that the lawyers on your shortlist are in good standing with the Florida Bar Association. Have they had any disciplinary problems? Are there any ethical issues pending? To do this, simply visit the Florida Bar website and enter the name of the attorney.
You will be able to see if they are in good standing and if they are eligible to practice law in Florida. There is also information about their practice areas, services, disciplinary history, etc. This is an invaluable resource.
5. Interview Your Candidates
Choosing a personal injury lawyer is one of the biggest decisions you will make in life. It is worth taking some time to ensure you make the right decision. In this area of the law, complimentary consultations are common. Take advantage. Use this time to not only discuss the facts of your case, but to “interview” the attorneys.
Questions to ask:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Can you tell me about your experience in personal injury law?
- In what areas do you specialize (e.g. car accidents, workplace accidents, slip and falls, etc.)?
- How much trial experience do you have?
- What is your success rate/settlement rate?
- Are you going to handle my case from beginning to end? Do you have support staff? What is their role?
- What are your rates? How and when do I pay? (Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis; that is, they are not paid until they reach a settlement or win a judgment on your behalf. In this case, they will assess a fee based on a percentage of your compensation – meaning you will not pay out of pocket.)
While you are visiting for your consultation, ask for a tour of the law office to get a better sense of the firm. Is the office organized, neat, and welcoming? Or are you greeted with chaos and unhappy employees? While appearances are not everything, getting a glimpse of where and how personal injury attorneys work can give your insight into the experience you can expect if they represent you. If you see any red flags, move on.
Trust your instincts. You’ve done the research. You’ve read the reviews. When you speak with a personal injury lawyer, do they appear interested? Do they give you their full attention? Are they courteous and respectful? Do they explain complex legal concepts in clear, understandable terms? Do they communicate effectively? These are all important as you choose the right lawyer to represent you.
The personal injury attorneys at LaBovick, LaBovick & Diaz have decades of experience in representing clients aggressively, passionately, and solely in pursuit of justice. Our goal is to protect your rights and ensure you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today for a consultation; you are not in this fight alone.