How to choose a personal injury lawyer in New York?
Choosing a Queens personal injury lawyer is a very personal and important experience. Presumably you’ll be sharing intimate details about your life and most likely will be dealing with them for a period of time therefore, it is important that you pick the right one for you and your situation. But navigating a vast array of choices and options, especially in a city like New York can be daunting prospect. You might be wondering how to go about choosing someone who excels at what they do and who makes you feel comfortable.
The good news is with hundreds of choices, you’re bound to find the perfect match. On the flip side, it can be a time consuming search, but not an impossible one. The first thing you need to do is decide what you’re hoping to achieve with your suit, do you want an apology for the wrongdoing, an admission of guilt or financial settlement? Make a list of the qualities you’re looking for in your personal injury lawyer, for example, are you looking for someone who graduated from an Ivy League college or someone who has X years of experience?
Once you’ve done that chances are you’ll be left with a smaller pool of candidates to choose from. Now you can start a search within that pool and the internet is a great place to research on what kind of lawyer you want. You can read other people’s experiences, you can look into an individual or firm’s reputation and make a shortlist of the lawyers you would like to meet with. You may even consider getting a referral from a trusted source.
When you have your shortlist of lawyers you can set up consultations. Keep in mind an initial consultation offered by the lawyer or the firm should be free of charge. In certain situations, i.e. if you are hospitalized or bedridden, the lawyer can meet you at the hospital or at your home for consultations.
This session allows both parties to ask questions and get a feel for each other.
During and after the consultation when finalizing your choice consider the following:
- Experience and History:
Ask your potential lawyer about their past cases and experiences. All lawyers start from somewhere so a lack of experience does not necessarily mean the lawyer won’t be a good one but it’s always helpful to go with someone who has experience or knowledge on your specific case. For instance if you’re suing a hospital for negligence treatment it might be a better idea to go with a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice. Some additional things to ask may be: How many cases did they win and why? How many did they lose? What went wrong?
A lawyer’s credibility, ethics and honesty is very important. Do they have good references? Is your lawyer discreet and trustworthy? Do they follow the law? Are their practices ethical and above reproach? If your case goes to trial, your lawyer’s demeanor, reputation and past history could have an impact on the judge or the jury.
This is an important factor to consider. How much are the lawyer’s fees? Will they charge you a fee upfront, regardless of whether you win or lose or will they work on a contingency fee? Most personal injury lawyers will only charge you if they win the case, in which case they take a percentage of the settlement but they may bill you for out of pocket expenses incurred during the course of the suit. What happens if you drop the suit? Make sure to understand all those additional details.
- Case Load:
A busy lawyer is a good sign, because they’re obviously doing something right. But if a lawyer is too busy your case may not be a priority or they may not be able to devote the same attention and focus to it. Make sure to talk about those things.
The importance of meeting your lawyer in person before making a decision cannot be stressed enough and make sure to meet at least a few different lawyers so you can make an informed decision. Remember to outline your expectations, what do you expect from your lawyer? Be informed about how your lawyer works. Will they provide you with regular status update as the case proceeds? Will they be accessible if you have questions or concerns?
When you make your selection, you are entering into a fairly intimate and personal relationship with them and you need to feel comfort and trust in the person representing you. What you’re going through is significant to you and your family and you need an lawyer who understands that and one who will stand by you and fight for you and won’t treat you as just another number.
From the first meeting to the last, you need to feel valued and important.