FAQs - Choosing a Lawyer

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Choose a Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Hopefully, you have never needed the services of a personal injury lawyer before. If not, you probably wonder how to choose a lawyer. Here are some of the questions I think you ought to ask about any potential lawyer.

Do you regularly handle my kind of case, including jury trials?

The best personal injury lawyers have years of experience handling the kind of case you have, whether it is a personal injury case from a car accident, a dangerous property, a dangerous product or from medical malpractice or nursing home or elder abuse. Their experience must include actual jury trials in which they themselves were responsible for developing and putting on the bulk of the evidence.

Who will be doing the actual work on my case?

While you may meet an experienced personal injury lawyer, many firms have young lawyers called associates and paralegals who do most of the work on the cases. While some of the more basic work can and should be performed by paralegals or associates, you should have a clear understanding of the work the attorney you meet will be doing. Who will read your records? Who will have contact with expert witnesses? Who will take depositions? And, most importantly, who will try your case? These are all questions you should ask. You should feel comfortable with the answers.

Is the firm set up to handle personal injury cases?

These types of cases require large financial and time investments. Will the attorney advance all the necessary out of pocket costs to see your case through to the end. What percentage fee will the attorney require? Does the attorney have relationships with medical or other experts across the country to give advice and/or testimony if necessary? And how many cases does the attorney handle at once? Will yours be one case among many or does the attorney limit the number of cases taken so they can provide more personal and expedient service to you?

What professional activities does the attorney take part in and what recognition has the attorney received from other attorneys?

A lawyer that spends time on professional activities through the State Bar and other professional groups shows a level of concern about the practice of law that is evidence of a strong commitment to your rights. Does the lawyer teach trial advocacy or personal injury law to other lawyers? Has the lawyer acted as a judge pro tem (a substitute judge)? Also, has the lawyer received awards from other lawyers that show the lawyer's reputation for competence and professionalism? What are the lawyer's ratings with bar directories? All these things are indicators of the lawyer's standing in the profession.