In a city like New York, people are getting seriously injured because of the negligence of someone else on a daily basis. Being injured is always very stressful as victims endure not only physical but also emotional pain and have to deal with all the financial and organizational hardship that result from being injured.
Therefore it is important for personal injury victims and/or their family to do their homework when looking for an adequate personal injury lawyer to represent them. Taking some time to “shop” for the right attorney will save you time in the future and help you get fully compensated for your case.
Here is a step by step approach on how to find the perfect New York Personal Injury Lawyer for your case:
- Do not sign any retainer with individuals contacting you or making unrequested hospital visits and telling you they can help. These people are usually what we call runners. They often work for corrupt personal injury attorneys and doctors and they are a disgrace to our profession (see previous blog).
- Look for referrals. Do you know someone who suffered personal injury in your friends or family circle? Who was their attorney? did they have a good or bad experience? Do you know an attorney in another field who can recommend a top personal injury lawyer?
- Is your attorney experienced in handling your type of case? What is the cause of your injury? was it medical malpractice? a construction accident? a car accident? Every case is different and requires different sets of skills and knowledge. You want to make sure your attorney has been successfully handling your type of case in the past. Ask your attorneys about previous cases similar to yours and results obtained. Consult their website.
- Is your attorney ready to take your case to trial? To obtain the best compensation it is extremely important to pick a lawyer with vast experience in trying cases. Many personal injury lawyers in New York will tell you they are “trial attorneys” but they actually never tried a case. They are only interested in settling them. Defendants know which attorneys are ready to get their case tried and which attorneys are not. They will never settle a case for full value with an attorney who only settles cases. Check the website of the attorneys you are interviewing, they usually have a page highlighting their results. Do they have a fair amount of verdicts or only settlements? Law firms that are heavily promoting themselves by advertising on billboards and television are usually “personal injury mills”. They are only looking for quick settlements and should be avoided.
- Is your personal injury attorney working on contingency fees? Any respectable NYC personal injury lawyer works on contingency fees. This means that if the attorney accept to represent you, he or she will take a percentage of the sum recovered. This percentage is usually 33.3% in New York. If an attorney wants to charge you by the hour or wants to charge you more than 40%, it should raise an alarm.
- Does your attorney have a real office? How does it look? If you can, you or a family member should visit the office and make sure it does look professional before signing a retainer.
- Shop for your attorney. Except if you received a really strong referral for a particular attorney, do not hesitate to interview several law firms until you find the perfect personal injury attorney for your case.
- Start your research immediately or have someone you trust doing it for you if your injury prevents you to do so: while you may want to take some time to look for the perfect attorney to handle your case, do not delay your research as you want your attorney to be able to investigate how the injury occurred as soon as possible. Sometimes defendants might try to blur evidences. Additionnally a good attorney will handle timely all the adequate insurance claims for you as well as provide guidance to you and your family on what to do and what not to do to make sure your obtain full compensation for your claim.
For more answer to questions you might have, consult our personal injury FAQ