There are some distinct ways that personal injury lawyers are distinct from other types of attorneys. That personal injury experience is very specific, and that expertise does not translate to other types of law. If you have been injured, or if someone else has been injured due to your actions (or inactions), then you will need to court the services of an expert.
A great personal injury attorney will have trial experience, where many other types of attorneys, such as probate attorneys, may not. A top rated personal injury lawyer will also know negligence law inside and out, as well as other torts.
Personal Injury and Medical Knowledge
This area of law also requires its practitioners to understand a great deal about medicine. One personal injury lawyer that I know used to joke that she should have gone to med school, because she needed to have full knowledge of Grey’s Anatomy at her disposal for her legal clients. Personal injury cases do require its attorneys to understand doctors’ diagnoses, though, as well as the processes of treatment and recovery associated with various types of injuries.
Any highly regarded personal injury lawyer will also have a great deal of experience negotiating, too. These cases are often settled out of court, and such settlements always require tough and agile negotiators to get the strongest finishes.
A personal referral from your friends can always go a long way in terms of finding someone with the right type of personality. If your friend had a positive enough experience that she (or he) feels comfortable recommending that attorney to you, then that personal experience goes a long way.
Some sites do feature ratings for different lawyers, based on reviews from clients. Lawyers.com is one site that includes such a rating system, and will let you search through the listings based on a variety of criteria.
A few of those criteria that you might use to sort through all of those search results include…
- Specialty of Practice. You are looking for a personal injury lawyer, obviously. Not a family law attorney. But if you are dealing with mold in your apartment building, and there is an attorney who just won a massive class-action settlement based on mold in the walls of an apartment complex, then that should vastly improve that attorney’s chances of attracting your business.
- Record of Wins. Like any competitive arena, in the courts there are winners and losers. Some very well known personal injury lawyers achieved their status based on having an outrageous number of big wins under their belt. It is not pure luck when an attorney manages to win the vast majority of her trial cases. Lawyers who win cases do so largely based on their skill, the depth of their research, their tenacity as negotiators, and their ability to communicate a clear and convincing case.
- Experience in Trial. For some attorneys, most cases will settle out of court. There is nothing wrong with that. But if an attorney has next to no experience in a trial setting, then that attorney may not be best for you. You do not want a lawyer who is reluctant to ever go to trial.
- State Bar Records. You do not want an attorney that has been disbarred or suspended, and your state bar website will provide this information for you.