How to connect with the right attorney for you and your personal injury claim.
Any time an accident or injury looks like it's the result of someone else's carelessness or misconduct, it's a good idea to understand your options for holding the at-fault party responsible.
In some situations, getting the help of a skilled legal professional can be crucial, but:
- How do you know whether your potential personal injury claim is the kind that requires a lawyer's help?
- Where should you look when trying to find the right injury lawyer?
- How do you make sure a candidate lawyer will be the right fit for you and your case?
This article answers these questions, plus a few more.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
In some fairly rare scenarios, it might be a good idea to handle a personal injury claim on your own—when your injuries are minor, the other party was clearly at fault, and you're willing to fight for the best result from the insurance company, for example.
But in most instances, you'll probably want to put your personal injury case in the hands of an experienced attorney, especially if:
- you were seriously injured in the accident
- the other side (the at-fault party and/or the insurance adjuster for their insurance company) is trying to pin blame for the underlying accident on you
- the other side is questioning the legitimacy of your injuries or the necessity of the medical care you've received, or
- you've tried handling the claim yourself, but the other side isn't coming to the table with a fair settlement offer.
In most injury claim scenarios, there's simply no substitute for a lawyer's experience and expertise when it comes to:
- gathering all necessary records and other evidence to support your injury claim
- putting your strongest case together
- fighting for the best result at the settlement negotiation table, and
- navigating the personal injury lawsuit process if going to court becomes necessary.
Learn more about getting help from a personal injury lawyer.
You shouldn't turn to just any lawyer for help; look for someone who has experience handling your type of case—and who you feel you can trust.
How to Find Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
There are several ways to get referrals to experienced personal injury lawyers. Once you get referrals, be sure to comparison-shop. Get the names of several lawyers and talk (via phone or video call) or meet with each of them in person to discuss your claim before making a hiring decision. And be prepared for rejection. Many lawyers do not take cases if they fall below a certain potential recovery amount, or if the claim is not crystal clear.
Here's where to look for referrals:
Friends and Acquaintances
Talk with friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else you know who's been represented by a lawyer in their own personal injury claims. If your person has good things to say, put their lawyer on your list, but don't make a decision solely on the basis of someone else's recommendation.
Different people will have different responses to a lawyer's style and personality, so don't make up your mind until you've met (or at least talked with) the lawyer, discussed your case, and decided that you'd feel comfortable working with them.
Find a Lawyer With Nolo's Help
Nolo offers two ways to find an attorney to handle your personal injury claim:
- You can use the features on this page to connect with personal injury attorneys in your area who might be able to help you.
- Nolo also offers a unique lawyer directory providing a profile for each attorney with information that will help you choose the right fit. Nolo has confirmed that every listed attorney has a valid license and is in good standing with their bar association.
Referrals From Other Lawyers
Another place to seek a referral to an experienced personal injury lawyer is through other lawyers you know. Lawyers commonly refer cases to one another, and most lawyers have a few personal injury experts in their network. As with referrals from friends or coworkers, however, do not simply take another lawyer's referral as the final word.
Most local bar associations have referral services in which the names of lawyers are available, arranged by legal specialty. There is a wide variation in the quality of lawyer referral services, however, even though they are supposed to be approved by the state bar association.
Some lawyer referral services carefully screen attorneys and list only those with particular qualifications and a certain amount of past experience, while other services will list any attorney in good standing with the state bar, as long as the attorney maintains liability insurance. Before you choose a lawyer referral service, ask what its qualifications are for including an attorney and how carefully lawyers are screened.
What you may not get from any lawyer referral service, however, is insight into the lawyer's philosophy—for instance, whether the lawyer is willing to spend a few hours to be your legal coach, or how aggressive the lawyer's personality is. Don't make a decision about a bar referral lawyer until you've spoken with them.
How to Choose the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for You
To find out whether a lawyer is right for you, sit down with them to discuss your claim and possible ways of handling it. Bring copies of all your documents, including:
- any police report or incident report generated after the accident
- all medical records and bills you have that relate to your claim
- documentation of any income loss or other financial harm resulting from the accident and your injuries, and
- all correspondence with the insurance company.
Most lawyers do not charge for an initial consultation. If a lawyer wants to charge you before they'll discuss the basics of your case, look elsewhere.
After you and the candidate lawyer have discussed your case, you may want to learn a few things about the lawyer and their practice, including:
- How long has the lawyer been in practice?
- Roughly what percentage of the lawyer's practice involves personal injury cases?
- Does the lawyer most often represent plaintiffs or defendants? You do not want to be represented by someone who has experience with personal injury cases but who has primarily been a lawyer for defendants, or for insurance companies. Their way of thinking may be too closely tied to the attitudes of insurance companies and they might not fight as hard—consciously or not—for your claim.
- Would the lawyer personally handle your case or pass it along to another (perhaps less experienced) lawyer in the office? It's normal for more than one attorney in an office to work on the same case, and to have less experienced attorneys handle routine tasks. Find out which lawyer would have responsibility for the case and which lawyer you would be dealing with directly. If there is to be another lawyer directly involved, ask to meet that lawyer, too.
Should You Settle or Go to Court?
After you have discussed the facts of your case and the history of your settlement negotiations with the insurance company, you may be able to get some sense from the lawyer about how much your personal injury case is worth, and how difficult it may be to get the insurance company to pay that amount.
Now is the time to discuss your objective, and to get a sense of the likelihood that you might:
- obtain a certain settlement amount with as few costs and as little hassle as possible
- obtain an amount higher than what the insurance company has offered as soon as possible, or
- obtain as much as possible, no matter how long it takes.
Part of this discussion will likely cover the pros and cons of settling versus pressing on and taking your claim to court by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Every situation is unique, so there's no one-size-fits-all strategy. Learn more about why most personal injury cases settle, and filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Discuss How Your Lawyer Will Get Paid
It's important to discuss issues like how your lawyer will get paid for their services, and how financial issues like case costs are handled. Most personal injury lawyers work under a contingency fee agreement, meaning they don't get paid for their legal services unless you receive money via settlement or court award. At that point, the lawyer takes an agreed-upon percentage as their fee.
Case costs (like filing fees, investigator/expert consultation services, and so on) can be a bit more complicated, so it's important to learn how right up front how everything will be handled on the financial side. Learn more about how personal injury lawyers get paid and how "costs" work in a personal injury case.
If you feel confident with the lawyer's experience, and comfortable with their idea of how to proceed with your case, chances are good that you've found a lawyer you can work with. Learn more about what to ask a potential personal injury lawyer.
Once you've found a lawyer you like, your job isn't entirely done. You'll need to create a clear, written fee agreement and then keep in contact with your lawyer as your case is progressing. Get tips on being a good personal injury client.
If you're just starting the lawyer search process and you're ready to reach out to a few potential candidates and discuss the basics of your case, you can use the tools right on this page to connect with injury lawyers in your area.
What percentage do most injury lawyers take? ›
As a general rule, the personal injury lawyer will receive 33% of the final settlement amount in the case. However, cases that go to trial often incur different costs. The goal of this fee structure is to minimize the client's financial risk in hiring an attorney to represent them.How do you interview a personal injury attorney? ›
- Do You Specialize in Personal Injury Law? ...
- How Often Have You Gone to Trial? ...
- How Long Do You Think My Case Will Take to Resolve? ...
- Can You Provide Me with Referrals? ...
- What is Your Fee Structure? ...
- Talk to Our Office Today.
- 1) What kind of experience do you have with similar cases?
- 2) What would be your strategy for my case?
- 3) Are there any alternatives to going to court?
- 4) What are my possible outcomes?
- 5) Who will actually handle my case?
- 6) What is my role in my case?
- Experienced. While all attorneys must prove academic prowess to achieve their law license, the more impressive trait is their level of experience. ...
- Pragmatic. ...
- Studious. ...
- Communicative. ...
- Transparent. ...
- Focused. ...
- Empathetic and Compassionate. ...
- Driven and Passionate.
The vast majority of personal injury claims in the United States are resolved outside the courtroom. Up to 95% of all accident settlement negotiations are settled in out-of-court agreements.Why do most personal injury cases settle? ›
The vast majority of personal injury claimants settle to save time and money, while reducing risk. There are easily hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs and defendants currently tied up in personal injury cases nationwide.What are 3 questions you should ask a lawyer before hiring? ›
- Will you be the attorney personally handling my case?
- Will you take the case all the way to trial if necessary?
- What results have you obtained in the past for cases like mine?
- Can I call or email you directly with questions I have about my case?
Whether you're meeting in person or virtually over video conference, make sure the setting is clean and comfortable. Also, the lawyer-client interview is not the time to try to impress the client with your fanciest lawyer-speak. Avoid using legal jargon and overly technical language.What should I expect from my personal injury lawyer? ›
An attorney assisting you in an injury claim should provide you with guidance and an assessment of your claim. In our firm, we start with an investigation of the claim, including obtaining all evidence, records and police reports. We work to obtain video evidence, statements and other evidence from witnesses.What is the hardest question to ask a lawyer? ›
- What's your opinion of the probate process?
- Under what conditions do you recommend a Living Trust?
- How do I protect my children from abusive relatives if something happens to me?
- Can I keep my kids from controlling their entire inheritance at 18?
Can you tell everything to your lawyer? ›
The attorney-client privilege is a legal protection that keeps communications between lawyers and their clients confidential. This means that you can tell your lawyer almost anything without worrying that it will be used against you in court.What is the second question you should ask a potential lawyer? ›
2. How long have you practiced law? – This is a critical question to ask a lawyer because it takes years of time and practice for a lawyer to become an expert in their legal field.How do you negotiate a higher settlement in a car accident? ›
- Initiate a Claim as Soon as Possible After an Auto Accident.
- Keep Accurate Records About the Accident.
- Calculate a Fair Settlement.
- Send a Detailed Demand Letter to the Insurance Company.
- Do Not Accept the First Offer.
- Emphasize the Points in Your Favor.
- Get Everything in Writing.
A good car accident settlement offer is one that fully covers your medical expenses, property damage, and time off from work. It compensates you adequately for the pain and trauma you have experienced related to the accident. A skilled attorney can evaluate your settlement offer and advise you if it is reasonable.How do you get a good whiplash claim? ›
- Exchange personal and insurance details with the other driver after the accident.
- Take photographs at the scene of the accident where possible. ...
- Contact your insurer and tell them about the accident.
- Visit a doctor for a medical examination and an injury report.
It is well known within the legal world that most cases settle before they ever get to trial. Generally, less than 3% of civil cases reach a trial verdict. So, around 97% of cases are resolved by means other than trial.Why do judges prefer settlements? ›
Settlement allows the parties to control the outcome of the case. The outcome of a trial is never certain. Even if your case appears to be a “slam dunk”, it is still possible for a jury to find for the defendant, or award much less than your case is fairly worth. Settlement allows you to avoid the risks of trial.How long do most personal injury cases take to settle? ›
On average, the typical settlement can take up to six weeks for processing after the case is settled. This is due to a number of factors and may vary from one case to another. This is just an average on how long it will take to get paid after your case is finished but varies depending on a number of factors.Why is settling better than going to trial? ›
Reaching a settlement agreement is typically much quicker and less stressful than taking a case to trial. You and your attorney have more control over the outcome because you can walk away from the negotiations at any time. Most of the settlement money is available soon after a settlement is reached.How can I speed up my personal injury settlement? ›
- Seek medical treatment immediately.
- Collect and preserve all evidence.
- File your personal injury claim as soon as possible.
- Aim for the full value of your claim.
- Do not accept the first offer without review.
- Include past, current, and future damages.
Are personal injury claims usually settled out of court? ›
In the vast majority of cases, a personal injury compensation claim will be settled out of court. However, responsibility (known as liability) for the accident or injury may be denied by the defendants, or there may be disagreements between the two parties about the value of a claim.How do I prepare for my first meeting with a lawyer? ›
You should ensure that you bring all documents given to you by the police or the Court to review with your lawyer at your first meeting. It is also extremely helpful for you to write a detailed summary of the events relating to your charges.What you should know before you talk to a lawyer? ›
- Have Your Documents Ready. ...
- Research the Elements of Your Case. ...
- Don't Call if You Just Have a Question. ...
- You May Not Speak to a Lawyer Right Away. ...
- Do Not Ask the Legal Support Staff for Advice. ...
- Don't Provide Too Much Information. ...
- Answer the Lawyer's Specific Questions.
The first meeting you have with your lawyer will serve as a consultation. During this time, you will have the opportunity to share your situation and learn more about the attorney you may want to hire.What are three negative aspects of a lawyer? ›
- High-stress situations. When you're in this profession, it's important to meet deadlines and the demands of your clients. ...
- Long hours. ...
- Expensive education. ...
- Not as many client opportunities. ...
- Client's aren't spending as much. ...
- Threat of outsourced legal work. ...
- Negative stigma. ...
- Difficult clients.
The decision to decline a representation is best to communicate that declination in writing. "Non-engagement letters" should clearly inform the prospective client that the law firm will not represent the prospective client in that matter and that he or she should not rely on the lawyer for any advice or legal action.What makes a lawyer not fit and proper? ›
It is commonly accepted that in order to be "fit and proper" a person must show integrity, reliability and honesty, as these are the characteristics which could affect the relationship between a lawyer and a client or a lawyer and the public.What if you can't afford a lawyer for a personal injury case? ›
Of course, you could find a pro bono lawyer, or you might find someone willing to take your case on contingency. That is, if you lose your case, you won't pay, but if you win, the law firm will take a portion of the money awarded to you. However, it's important to proceed carefully before choosing a lawyer.Why do you need to hire a personal injury lawyer? ›
A personal injury attorney will file personal injury claims on your behalf. They will also help bring knowledge, skill, and experience into your case; and this will help you get the settlement you deserve.What does a personal injury lawyer do and why is it beneficial to hire one? ›
A personal injury lawyer conducts a comprehensive investigation on how the victim incurred your jury and who's responsible for the injury. The lawyer gets enough evidence and creates a legal strategy for proving liability. Sometimes when another party injures one, the tortfeasor might accept the liability.
Do most personal injury lawyers make a lot of money? ›
Some personal injury lawyers make more than $200,000 annually. While this is an extremely impressive figure, a personal injury lawyer's salary is more variable. The average personal injury lawyer makes about $73,000 per year, but is still below the coveted top-five averages.How much does a top personal injury lawyer make? ›
|25th Percentile Personal Injury Lawyer Salary||$73,605||US|
|50th Percentile Personal Injury Lawyer Salary||$86,342||US|
|75th Percentile Personal Injury Lawyer Salary||$99,875||US|
|90th Percentile Personal Injury Lawyer Salary||$112,197||US|
The firm bills itself as "America's Largest Injury Law Firm." Morgan & Morgan is headquartered in Orlando. As of 2022, the law firm had over 3,000 employees, including 800 lawyers in 49 states. In 2018, the firm received over two million phone calls and signed up 500 new cases each day.In what state do lawyers make the most money? ›
- District of Columbia: $198,820.
- New York: $179,060.
- California: $176,610.
- Massachusetts: $167,980.
- Connecticut: $153,200.
How Much Does a Lawyer Make? Lawyers made a median salary of $127,990 in 2021. The best-paid 25% made $194,580 that year, while the lowest-paid 25% made $81,620.Where do attorneys make the most money? ›
- Corporate Law. Lawyers who work for corporations can earn millions of dollars as a general counsel. ...
- Criminal Law. ...
- Personal Injury. ...
- Bankruptcy Law. ...
- Family Law.
Peace of mind and family security
An accident cover will give your family financial protection in the form of accidental compensation and ensure their financial security. The insurance companies pay 100% compensation in the event of death.