Why Choosing the Right Personal Injury Lawyer Matters
There are a handful of choices you, the injured party, can make that will affect the outcome of your personal injury case. For example, you can choose not to seek medical attention after an injury, which could seriously jeopardize your ability to recover damages.
Your choice of attorney is likely one of the harder decisions you’ll have to make. It’s not a two-option “do” or “don’t” decision. It’s a multichoice question with a hundred different possible answers.
In the Atlanta area, dozens and dozens of personal injury law firms would be happy to take your case – all with varying degrees of experience and knowledge. Some of those attorneys are attentive, dedicated, and aggressive. Many genuinely care about their clients’ outcomes and well-being.
Others, not so much.
You want to find an experienced personal injury lawyer who is in the business of law to help people and make a living, not one who is just interested in the easiest path to a quick percentage of the subpar insurance settlement they negotiate on your behalf.
Steps to Choosing the Best Personal Injury Lawyer
Read Their Online Bios
Every professional paints the best possible picture of themselves in their website’s bio, so you have to take them with a grain of salt, but these descriptions do give you an idea of what matters to a personal injury lawyer and what their qualifications are.
Bios may also include some concrete facts about the attorneys and their experience. For example, you can learn that Dressie Law Firm associate attorney Ryan A. Rucker has worked on more than 10,000 personal injury cases and has obtained more than $13 million in judgments and verdicts for his clients from his bio.
Look Up Their AVVO Rating
You should consider checking the lawyer’s AVVO page or finding other reliable ratings before making your choice. Not only can you find the attorney’s work history, contingency fee rates, and information regarding their consultations, but you can also find valuable reviews from past clients.
A lawyer’s AVVO page should also include a list of professional misconduct if there is any, which could be a red flag.
Emanuel David Dressie has a 5-star client rating and an 8.2 AVVO rating (out of 10).
Ask Good Questions During Your Free Consultation
During a free consultation, you should be trying to ascertain several important things:
- Do you get along with the lawyer on a personal level?
- Do they have much experience with your type of case?
- Are they giving you their undivided attention?
- What type of results have they gotten on similar cases?
One of the most common complaints you see in reviews of poorly rated auto accident injury and personal injury lawyers is low marks for communication.
During your consultation, did they provide clear answers to your questions? If you had questions for which they couldn’t provide a specific answer – like how much money should you expect to win – did they explain why? Does it seem like the attorney has time for you? How hard was it to get in touch with them to schedule your free consultation?
If you get the impression it will be hard to get in touch with a particular personal injury lawyer, you may want to look elsewhere.
Read Through Their Social Media and Even Their Advertising
You can learn a lot about how a law firm conducts itself and what it values by how it approaches advertising or its social media presence.
Trustworthiness can be tough to judge during a brief free consultation because most personal injury lawyers can talk a good game. Still, you may be able to get a better idea of how they approach client service and outreach by familiarizing yourself with their advertising presence.
Fee Structure and Arrangements
In your quest to choose the right personal injury attorney, understanding their fee structure is crucial. There are typically two types of fee arrangements – contingency fees and hourly rates.
Contingency fees mean the attorney only gets paid if they win your case. They receive a certain percentage of the compensation awarded. This rate varies but is typically around one-third. Make sure you understand what percentage your attorney will take and if this percentage changes depending on when your case settles.
The second type, hourly rates, means the attorney charges for each hour they work on your case. This rate can vary greatly between attorneys and regions, and it can add up quickly. Ensure you know in advance how much your attorney charges per hour and how they record their time.
Transparency in fee discussions is essential. The attorney should be able to explain to you clearly and upfront about their charges. Avoid attorneys who dodge the question of fees or aren’t clear about how much they charge.
Be aware of potential hidden costs as well. Some attorneys may charge for expenses such as photocopying, expert testimony, travel, or court filing fees in addition to their service fees. Be sure to ask about these potential costs upfront to prevent surprises later on.
Trust Your Gut
Choosing a personal injury lawyer is ultimately about finding someone you feel comfortable with and trust to handle your case.
A good personal injury attorney should be able to answer all your questions clearly, provide resources and connections when necessary, and strive to get you the best outcome possible. Ultimately, you want an attorney who will treat you with respect while also aggressively advocating for your rights.
Find a Lawyer Who Wants Your Case
There are certain situations where an injured person may clash with a personal injury attorney during their consultation. Not everyone will get along. Working with an attorney you don’t see eye to eye with is often not worth the hassle.
Conversely, there may be reasons why a personal injury attorney doesn’t want to take your case, even if it looks to you like a good one. There could be details of your case that a lawyer may think reduce your chances for success.
Georgia is a comparative negligence state, and if it looks like you may be mostly responsible for your own injuries, a personal injury lawyer may not think a percentage of your reduced settlement or verdict would be enough to cover their expenses.
However, another attorney may think differently, so you shouldn’t necessarily give up your search based on one or two negative experiences.
Contact the Dressie Law Firm
If you’re looking for a personal injury, auto accident, workers’ comp, or medical malpractice lawyer in Atlanta, schedule a free consultation with the Dressie Law Firm by calling 770-756-6333. Our local personal injury attorneys understand the importance of transparency, communication, and fighting for what’s in our client’s best interests over our own.
We know that you will be considering several other lawyers in the Atlanta metro area, and we’d be grateful for the opportunity to meet you and see if our firm is a good fit for you and your case.