It can happen to any of us without warning. Through no fault of your own, you suffer a serious injury that profoundly impacts your life for the next few months, years, or maybe even forever.
Here’s something important to know about this situation: You’ll only get one chance to seek damages against the negligent party. California law permits no “do-overs” in personal injury cases, so it pays to find the best possible attorney to advocate on your behalf.
This brings up an essential question: What are the most important qualities your lawyer should have? Here are six crucial qualities of an excellent personal injury lawyer.
#1. They Have a Record of Solid Settlements
Your lawyer should have a rock-solid history of successful settlements and judgments for their clients. This means when you ask to see their testimonials from happy customers, they’re eager to share them and provide plenty of details that back up their claims.
If they don’t, that’s a problem. There are thousands of personal injury attorneys in California and not all of them operate at the same standard of excellence. Some law firms operate on high volume and high turnover, meaning they take as many cases as possible, settle them with as little effort as they can, and move on to the next one.
Here’s a red flag that you might be hiring the wrong attorney: They want you to accept a low insurance company offer that doesn’t even cover your medical bills, without negotiating. This attorney may be operating on a volume-based model where their clients receive minimal payouts and they’re fine with it. But that’s bad news for you!
Instead, seek out an attorney who gives each client personal attention and care. Look for someone patient enough to negotiate assertively and pressure the other side for the high-value settlement amount you deserve. This is the best path to a full and fair deal.
Be warned! Various attorney rating websites use a pay-to-play model where lawyers can buy higher rankings. A lawyer might have a dozen “Awesome Lawyer” badges on the website, but it’s no guarantee of actual awesomeness. They probably just paid for the badges.
#2. They Specialize in the Kind of Personal Injury Law YOU Need
Look for the extent to which their practice is specialized. While nothing is stopping a divorce lawyer from taking a personal injury case, do you really want someone without expertise in your specific situation?
Even within personal injury law, there are many types: traffic accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, toxic tort, dog bites, assault, boat accidents, nursing home abuse, and many more. Your attorney should be passionate about their specialty.
For example, at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we specialize in severe traffic accidents with injuries involving pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, delivery drivers, Ubers and Lyfts, commercial vehicles, and other auto accidents. Ask us why this is our passion, and we’d love to explain!
Here’s a summary: We live and work in this community just like you do, and we are avid bicyclists and scooter riders. Plus, we’ve seen the tragic consequences of traffic accidents up-close, and we’ve devoted our professional lives to helping people survive and thrive after being injured.
#3. They’re Empathetic and Understand Your Suffering
Clients come to personal injury attorneys during a painful and challenging time. You’re adjusting to life after your accident, hoping you’ll heal, missing time from work, and watching the bills pile up. You don’t know if your life will ever be the same again.
That’s why you need a lawyer who not only feels genuine empathy but can translate it into the words it takes to win a personal injury case. They must be able to clearly articulate your pain and suffering to the insurance adjuster, opposing attorneys, judges, and jurors.
Trust your instincts on this one. If your attorney comes across as cold or distant, then it may be wiser to pick another more personable attorney.
#4. You Don’t Pay Them a Dime Unless They Win
The majority of personal injury lawyers in California work on contingency. That means that they take a cut of whatever you win and if you win nothing, they get nothing. In other words, there’s no fee unless you win.
The contingency fee model is a good one because it gives you both a strong drive to win your case. Your attorney knows they’re working for free unless they win!
Watch out for tricky fee models and beware of any attorney who won’t explain their fees clearly. Some personal injury attorneys will advertise that there is no fee unless you win, but they’ll expect you to pay for expert witnesses and whatever other expenses come up – even if you lose.
Don’t fall for it. The best personal injury attorneys will not make you pay a dime unless you collect on your claim.
#5. Trust is the Foundation of Your Relationship With Them
Trust is an important quality to look for in a personal injury law firm. Any lawyer with a law degree can try to take on a personal injury case but do they have the expertise, time, and devotion it takes? Bottom line: Do you trust them?
Trust is the foundation of the attorney-client relationship. What are your instincts telling you about your lawyer? If you don’t feel that you can trust them from the start, you’ll never feel a sense of trust throughout the process.
Here are some things that build trust between you and your lawyer:
- Ask a lot of questions before you enter into an agreement with them.
- Clarify whether they have plenty of expertise in your particular type of case.
- Ask for testimonials and references.
- Request payment terms in writing.
- Pay attention to how quickly they get back to you with answers to your questions.
- Note whether they make outlandish claims and over-the-top promises that seem too good to be true – and if they do, move on quickly.
#6. They Take the Pressure Off of You
You have enough to deal with recovering from your accident. The last thing you need is insurance adjusters calling you and the other driver pestering you. Your lawyer should be handling that!
Look for a lawyer who encourages you to focus on your recovery while they take care of the legal details. They should have a decently-sized staff of people at their firm that takes care of the paperwork, phone calls, and any drama that arises from the other side of your case.
Hiring a good lawyer should feel like a huge burden is being lifted from your shoulders. Now you can make your health a priority, even as your personal injury case proceeds swiftly toward a positive outcome.
Curious about whether the team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers is the right fit for you? We’re here to help! We have the qualities you need in an excellent personal injury attorney. Contact us now for a free online personal injury case evaluation or call 877-380-8852.
We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a personal injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including personal injuries in severe car accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.