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How to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

June 24, 2013 Info Articles

By Bill Winingham

lawHiring an attorney can seem like an overwhelming task.  According to a recent article I read, Indiana has 15,512 lawyers. If you’re in the need of a lawyer in Indiana, that’s a large number from which to choose.  So, how in the world do you start narrowing down this list?

First, rely on those around you.  Ask your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Chances are, they know an attorney or have used an attorney in their lifetime.

Even if your neighbor’s divorce lawyer can’t help you with your personal injury claim, he or she may know a few attorneys who can. Although 15,000 sounds like a big number, the legal community can be a tight-knit group. Lawyers know other lawyers, so use them and their legal networks to help you find a quality referral.

If you don’t want your close family and friends knowing your personal business, contact your local bar association. The bar association has a list of attorneys who are fully qualified to help you with your matter.  The Indianapolis Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service makes referrals by telephone Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 317-269-2222 or you can visit their website to submit an online form.

Once you’ve taken the steps above, you should have a few recommendations. Next step: the Internet.  You can find an incredible amount of information on an attorney’s website. Most attorneys should have an online biography page that lists their education, practice areas, awards, bar affiliations, and professional memberships. Another option is to visit Martindale-Hubbell‘s website. Martindale is an online resource that rates lawyers. The Martindale Peer Review Ratings are completed by other lawyers, so they are often considered a credible resource.

Your research should prepare you to schedule an initial consultation with one or more attorney. Most lawyers offer free consultations. Take advantage of those. You can call the attorney’s office and discuss your matter over the phone, or schedule a face-to-face meeting. Bring all of your records and prepare questions, both about your case and the attorneys track record. You can’t be too prepared and there’s no such thing as a dumb question.

Here’s another bit of advice: Look at the scope of the attorneys practice. While some law firms provide legal assistance for every matter, some attorneys and law firms focus on specific types of law. As an attorney, I have chosen to represent people who have been injured due to the negligence or fault of another person or company. The majority of my cases deal with medical malpractice law, but I also handle personal injury and wrongful death cases. Although I am legally qualified to assist with a divorce, I have decided to focus entirely on personal injury claims.

In closing, always trust your gut. Pick an attorney you feel confident can handle your case and one that makes you feel comfortable. Ask plenty of questions. I can’t stress enough the importance of asking any and all of your questions at the initial meeting. It will benefit you to be clear on what the next step will be once you leave the office.

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