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Thursday, December 1, 2016

How to choose the right personal injury attorney

The right personal injury lawyer could secure a settlement
Personal injury lawyers assist clients with settlments
By Bart Costello

You have been in an automobile accident. While no one was hurt, the other driver, whose car was totaled, claims you are at fault and follows through on a scene-of-the accident threat to take you to court.

Few in Boulder will ever face this situation. But if you do, you should hire a trial attorney. But with no concrete place to start, you can get overwhelmed by the number of attorneys in the area, especially with so many making promises of success.

So how do you filter through the hype and find the right one for your case?

 Referrals


First, get referrals. Check with friends, family members and coworkers for their personal experiences. 
If you have any attorney friends, this would be another credible resource. 

While you should also check websites of local attorneys, a potentially great local source is the Boulder County Bar Association. Their webpage includes a ‘Find an Attorney’ tab, which gives local attorney names listed by specialty.

No matter how strong the recommendation or how great the resume, make sure you follow-up each possibility with a personal face-to-face consultation. With each interview, you will gain more confidence in what kind of attorney you are seeking. And these initial consultations should be free. If not, you should probably walk.

The initial meeting


In that first meeting, discuss with the prospective attorney how he or she might handle the case. To show you are serious, make sure you bring copies of all relevant documents, including the police report, any pertinent medical records and all correspondence between you and all interested insurance companies. Watch the attorney’s body language, listen for philosophy, and begin determining if your goals mesh. Mentally ask, “Can I work with this person?” Also, “Do I want this attorney handling my case?” Finally, "Can I see this person fighting for me?"

The interview


You should have your questions ready, and rehearsing them with a friend a time or two wouldn’t hurt. Some standard questions include: How long has the attorney been in practice? Approximately what percentage of the firm’s practice includes personal injury cases? Does this lawyer more often represent defendants or plaintiffs? Are you interviewing the actual attorney who will represent your case, or will it be passed on to a less-experienced lawyer? If that’s the case, ask to meet that lawyer, too. How long have you been in practice? What fees can you expect?

Settlement goal


As the interview nears its end, ask the attorney how much he or she thinks your case is worth, and a guess as to the difficulty in recovery. Keep tabs on this question at each interview. And follow-up with, “How did you arrive at that figure?” You will especially want to note if one gives numbers wildly different than the others.

This level of preparation is a lot of work. But all the organizing will be worth the effort. Even selecting the right attorney doesn’t mean you will win, of course. But you will go into battle feeling confident that you have maximized your chances for a positive outcome.


About the author: Bart Costello is the founder of Injury Law. Bart is passionate about helping people. He has built a strong reputation over the last thirty years as one of the premier Boulder personal injury attorneys.