Where To Start
Choosing a Personal Injury lawyer is an
A simple guide to help you get started.
Excellent legal advice, like expert medical care, is critical for people with personal injuries and their families. The right personal injury lawyer can help individuals who suffer personal injuries receive fair compensation as quickly as possible.
A personal injury case requires very specialized expertise. The lawyer who assisted you with your house purchase is likely not the best lawyer to take on your injury claim. Some suggestions to help you make the best decision:
Ask for referrals from people familiar with personal injuries
Physicians, hospital social workers, psychologists, and related health care professionals can provide names of reputable lawyers who have extensive experience with personal injury cases. Ask them why they feel comfortable making their recommendations.
Make a ‘short list’ of personal injury lawyers you want to interview
Call the personal injury lawyers on your referral list. Lawyers rarely charge for an initial call.) Have basic information handy such as the date of accident, names of people involved, and severity of the injury.
Ask the personal injury lawyers about their experience handling an injury claim like yours, including how many times they’ve settled or have gone to trial and how successful they’ve been. Ask what associations they are affiliated with such as: The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and The Advocates’ Society.
If a personal injury lawyer is unable to address all your questions during the first call and must call you back, expect a timely reply. Remember, a good personal injury lawyer will speak with you openly and in clear, understandable language.
Interview the personal injury lawyers on your short list
Interviewing prospective personal injury lawyers will help you gather more information about their practices. Most personal injury lawyers will not charge for an initial meeting. A face-to-face conversation is also an excellent way to get a sense of how it will feel working closely with each individual.
The individual who has been injured, and those helping in the selection process, should explore key issues in the interview including:
- Understanding – The personal injury lawyer should have a clear sense of the physical, psychological, cognitive and social implications of personal injuries – not just how to handle a lawsuit.
- Time and Resources – Your case should have the personal injury lawyer’s personal attention from the start. Your personal injury lawyer and his/her experienced staff should be there to meet your needs. Much of the work in handling a personal injury case, however, is done by other experienced staff members. You should ask about the experience level of the staff who will be providing critical support to the personal injury lawyer handling your case.
- References – Other serious personal injury clients and their families are the best people to share their experiences with you. Personal injury lawyers have a professional duty to keep client information confidential. Reputable lawyers should have no problem giving you the names and telephone numbers of two or three clients they have represented, after securing consent. Asking personal injury lawyers for references is perfectly acceptable.
- Fees – Personal injury lawyers usually cannot predict the exact cost of their services at the outset of a case, when many details are unknown. Your personal injury lawyer should, however, be able to explain fee calculations and the factors affecting the overall cost of your case.
Making the Best Choice
If there was ever a time to be choosy, this is it. It is vital that you find a personal injury lawyer who inspires confidence, demonstrates great skills and judgment, and makes you feel comfortable. A strong relationship with your personal injury lawyer is critical to getting the best results for you or your loved one.