|655 West Broadway, Ste #1700
San Diego, CA 92101
Many people who need to hire a personal injury lawyer ask themselves, "How Do I find the right personal injury attorney to handle my case?". Choosing the right personal injury attorney can be a difficult task. We see advertisements on TV, hear them on radio and see listings in the Yellow Pages. So how do you know which attorney is right for you? Here are some suggestions to help you find the right personal injury attorney:
Ask a friend or colleague that you trust for a recommendation, especially if they’ve had experience in hiring a personal injury attorney in the past.
If you know a lawyer, ask him or her for a recommendation.
Most local attorney associations, such as the San Diego County Bar Association, have lawyer reference services. They don’t all operate the same way, but many list the names of lawyers who have asked to be part of the referral service. Some will go through their database alphabetically and pass out the cases as they go down the list.
Look in the Yellow Pages, as they have a large list of attorneys in their book. If you do use the Yellow Pages, you should speak with more than one attorney.
Check local law lists in a law library near you. These lists usually provide information on the lawyers in their list.
Search the Internet. For example, if you go to Yahoo and search for “San Diego personal injury attorney”, the search results will provide you with a list of web pages that will return either a legal directory where you can find local attorneys or personal web sites for attorneys. You can usually find good information about the attorneys on their website. Look through multiple sites, compare information and call and speak to an attorney.
Don’t be afraid to call as personal injury attorneys almost always will provide you with a free consultation. When you do actually visit the attorney in person, it’s important to ask yourself if you like the attorney. Do they seem know what they are talking about? Do they seem concerned about my problem? Are they experienced in handling this type of injury case? Choosing the right personal injury attorney to handle your case is crucial. If you don’t feel comfortable and confident with the attorney you’ve met with, you should talk to a different one.
How do I pay for the attorney?
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not need to pay any up front costs for them to handle your case. Most personal injury attorneys will advance the costs and pay for all the fees (such as filing fees, investigators, hiring expert witnesses, etc.) themselves. You only pay if your case is won, where the attorney will then take an agreed upon percentage of the winnings. The great thing about hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis is that anyone, regardless of financial status, can get a great lawyer to handle their personal injury claim.
What kind of percentage is reasonable?
On average, contingency fees will vary between 25% -40% of the recovery. Some of the factors that affect the actual percentage include the complexity of the case, the experience of the attorney, expense of the case, stage of the case, etc. If you feel the recovery fee is too high and are not satisfied with the explanation, talk to another attorney. That being said, the lowest recovery fee does not necessarily mean that’s the best choice. A more experienced attorney can often get a larger verdict or settlement than a less experienced attorney. There’s also always the chance that you can lose your case as well. When it comes to making a decision on choosing an attorney, the recovery fee should not be your main decision making factor.
Is a contract necessary?
For both your protection and to avoid any misunderstandings, your agreement should always be in writing. Make sure you read the attorney-client agreement thoroughly before signing. The terms of your agreement should be completely filled out. If you have questions, make sure to ask them. California state law requires the attorney to provide you with a copy of the contract signed by both you and the attorney.