How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer

June 25, 2024 | Jarrett Blakeley
How to Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you've suffered an injury in an accident that wasn't your fault, choosing the right personal injury lawyer is a highly important decision. Having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference in getting the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.

But with so many personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, how do you pick the best one for your case? Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a personal injury attorney.

Focused Experience in Personal Injury Law

When searching for the right personal injury lawyer, one of the most critical factors to consider is their level of experience in this area of law. Personal injury cases are complicated and multifaceted, involving many legal issues, procedures, and strategies that set them apart from other legal matters. Whether you've suffered an injury in a car accident, slip and fall, truck crash, or any other serious event, you need an attorney with trusted knowledge and extensive experience, specifically in personal injury law.

Some lawyers practice as generalists, handling a little of everything from real estate transactions to divorce to criminal defense. While they may be competent in these various areas, they likely lack the focused experience necessary to effectively handle a personal injury claim. You don't want a general practitioner doctor to perform your heart surgery - likewise, you don't want a jack-of-all-trades lawyer to handle your personal injury case.

Instead, look for an attorney who dedicates a significant portion, if not all, of their practice to personal injury law. Ask potential lawyers what percentage of their caseload involves personal injury matters and what specific types of cases they typically handle.

Do they have experience with claims similar to yours regarding the type of accident, injuries sustained, and legal issues involved? The more personal injury cases a lawyer has successfully resolved, the better equipped they'll be to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your claim, avoid common pitfalls, and develop effective legal strategies to achieve the best possible outcome.

An experienced personal injury attorney will also have a deep understanding of the tactics used by insurance companies to minimize or deny claims. They'll know how to gather and present compelling evidence, from medical records to expert witness testimony, to build a strong case on your behalf. They can accurately assess the value of your claim and negotiate skillfully with insurers to obtain a fair settlement that accounts for all of your current and future damages.

Personal Injury Law

In some cases, a satisfactory settlement may not be possible, and your case may need to proceed to trial. This is where having a seasoned litigator in your corner can make all the difference. Look for a personal injury lawyer with a track record of success in negotiating favorable settlements and winning court cases.

Ask about their trial experience and results, including the amounts of verdicts and settlements they've secured for clients. A lawyer with a reputation as a formidable trial attorney can often motivate insurance companies to offer larger settlements to avoid the risk and expense of going to court.

It's also helpful to find a personal injury lawyer with experience in your particular type of case. Some attorneys may focus more on car accidents, while others may have more experience in premises liability matters. The more specific experience a lawyer has with cases like yours, the better they'll understand the unique challenges and opportunities involved and how to craft a winning strategy.

When meeting with potential attorneys, don't hesitate to ask detailed questions about their experience and track record in personal injury law. Request examples of cases they've handled similar to yours and the outcomes they achieved. Ask if they're active in any professional organizations related to personal injury law, as this can signify their commitment to staying on the cutting edge of developments in this field.

Choosing a personal injury lawyer with focused experience in personal injury law can give you a significant advantage in pursuing the compensation you deserve. An attorney who has devoted their career to helping injured people navigate the legal system will have the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to level the playing field against deep-pocketed insurance companies and their legal teams. They can anticipate and overcome obstacles, build a compelling case on your behalf, and fight tirelessly to protect your rights and interests every step of the way.

Responsive and Accessible Communication

Throughout your case, you'll likely have many questions, concerns, and updates to discuss with your lawyer. Your attorney must be responsive and accessible, making time to hear you out, address your needs, and keep you informed about developments in your case. You shouldn't have to chase down your lawyer for information or wait days for a callback.

When meeting with potential attorneys, note how well they listen to you, whether they fully answer your questions, and if they can explain things in a clear, easy-to-understand way. Ask how you can contact them and how quickly you can expect returned calls or emails. Ensure you're comfortable with their communication style and confident you can get in touch and stay in the loop throughout the legal process.

Reputation and Recommendations

When entrusting something as important as a personal injury claim to a lawyer, their reputation matters greatly. You want to work with a well-respected attorney, both in the legal community and by past clients. An excellent reputation is often the mark of an effective, ethical lawyer who achieves positive results.

Start by asking for recommendations from family, friends, and others you trust. If someone you know has had a good experience with a personal injury lawyer, that can be a helpful endorsement. You can also look up potential attorneys' online reviews and testimonials from former clients to understand their reputations. Notable awards, certifications, and leadership roles in professional associations can further demonstrate that a lawyer is highly regarded.

Resources and Readiness for Trial

Securing full and fair compensation in a personal injury case requires substantial resources. Investigating what happened, gathering evidence, consulting experts, filing legal documents, and building a strong case can take significant time and expense. Make sure your lawyer has the resources needed to thoroughly prepare your claim and isn't spread too thin.

While most personal injury cases are resolved through insurance settlements, yours might proceed to trial if the other side refuses to offer an adequate amount. Your attorney must be willing to present your case powerfully in court.

Ask potential lawyers about their trial experience and results. If an insurance company knows your attorney has a history of winning at trial, they may be more motivated to settle for a higher amount.

Personal Connection and Dedication

Finally, choose a personal injury lawyer with whom you personally connect and trust. You may work closely with your attorney for months or even longer. You want someone you feel comfortable confiding in, who treats you with the utmost respect and care and is deeply dedicated to achieving an outstanding outcome for you.

During consultations with potential lawyers, pay attention to how well you click. Do they patiently listen to your story, empathize with what you're going through, and passionately advocate for you? Or do they seem detached, judgmental, or even bored by your case? Trust your instincts about whether an attorney is a good fit.

It's also a good sign if you get the sense that a lawyer is driven not just by their fees but by a genuine passion for justice and commitment to their clients. Look for someone who views you as more than a case number and is invested in going above and beyond so you can rebuild your life. The best personal injury attorneys take great satisfaction in righting wrongs and making a meaningful difference for the injured people they represent.

Contingency Fees and Costs

Another important consideration when choosing a personal injury lawyer is how they handle legal fees and expenses. Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency basis. This model means they only get compensated if they recover money for you through a settlement or court judgment. You don't owe them attorney's fees if they don't win.

However, you'll want to carefully review a lawyer's contingency fee agreement before signing. Make sure you understand what percentage of your recovery will go to the attorney and who will be responsible for upfront court costs and other expenses if your case is unsuccessful. Watch out for lawyers who try to nickel-and-dime you with hidden charges.

The benefit of a contingency arrangement is that it allows anyone to afford high-quality legal representation, regardless of their financial situation. It also motivates lawyers to work efficiently and fight hard to win maximum compensation for clients, as their earnings are tied to the case outcome. At the same time, be wary of attorneys who seem more focused on a quick settlement than getting you the full amount you deserve.

Experience with Insurance Companies

Insurance claim form

In most personal injury cases, you won't deal directly with the at-fault party but rather with their insurance company. Insurance adjusters are trained to protect their employer's bottom line by minimizing payouts to injured claimants like you. They may try to get you to accept a lowball settlement offer or even deny your claim.

That's why it's important to have a personal injury lawyer with in-depth knowledge of insurance company tactics and a successful track record of negotiating with them. Ask potential attorneys about their process for building a strong case and advocating for fair settlements. Look for a lawyer who won't hesitate to reject inadequate offers and escalate to a lawsuit when necessary to obtain a just result.

Individualized Attention and Service

Personal injury cases are, by nature, personal. When you're in chronic pain, feeling stressed, and perhaps even unable to work or enjoy life, you need a lawyer who will give you the individualized attention you deserve. You want an attorney who will take the time to learn your unique needs, concerns, and goals and create a legal strategy tailored just for you.

Beware of law firms that treat clients like an assembly line, handing cases off to less experienced attorneys or even non-lawyer staff. While it's normal for a lead attorney to get help from a team, you want to ensure you'll receive attentive service from a lawyer highly experienced in personal injury law.

During your initial consultation, ask who your primary contact will be and how much access you'll have to the lead attorney. Inquire about the lawyer's caseload and whether they'll have adequate time to devote to you amidst their other clients and commitments. Choose a personal injury attorney who will treat you as a top priority and work closely with you throughout the legal process.

Further, you do not want a law firm that settles every case, no matter what. While most cases settle, some require litigation and trial, and your attorney should be ready to do what it takes for your unique situation. They should treat you as a human and not a case number.

The Right Personal Injury Lawyer Makes All the Difference

Selecting the right lawyer for your personal injury claim is a major decision with high stakes. By focusing on experience, accessibility, reputation, resources, and personal rapport, you'll be well-positioned to find an excellent attorney who can fight for your rights and work to get you the full compensation you need to heal and move forward.

While finding the ideal lawyer may take some time and effort, that investment can pay dividends. A top-notch personal injury attorney can lift the legal burden from your shoulders, forcefully pursue what you're owed, and give you greater peace of mind during a challenging chapter of your life.

If you've suffered an injury because of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, don't hesitate to contact us to discuss your rights and options. The sooner you have a knowledgeable, committed attorney in your corner, the better protected your claim will be—and the closer you'll be to obtaining the justice and compensation you deserve.

Jarrett Blakeley

Firm founder Jarrett Blakeley fights to get maximum compensation for all of Blakeley Law Firm’s clients. He has been practicing law since 2006 and takes great pride in representing the rights of injured individuals against the insurance companies and the law firms that represent them. He has successfully represented thousands of clients and recovered tens of millions of dollars on their behalf. Mr. Blakeley strives to give all of his clients personal attention and maximum effort and seeks to instill a firm culture that prioritizes customer service and compassion for the injured over all else. Fighting for the injured is Jarrett Blakeley’s greatest passion and he looks forward to fighting for the injured for the rest of his career.

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