There are a couple of ways to locate a good personal injury attorney. Consider asking friends, colleagues and family members for a referral. Check with your state bar association. You could use Google or listings such as lawyers.com. Referral services could also help you find an attorney. However, it is important to be careful while making a selection. You should look for an attorney that meets the following criteria:
- A Lot of Experience
Narrow your search down to attorneys who have the “right kind” of experience. Any attorney can have experience practicing law, but is it the type of experience that could lead to an adequate settlement or verdict? Does the attorney have experience with cases that are similar to your case? Does the attorney have trial experience? Is the attorney a certified civil trial attorney? As of 2016, only less than 3 percent of practicing New Jersey attorneys had earned this distinction. Attorneys John E. Keefe, Jr. and John E. Gregory, Jr. are certified civil trial attorneys in New Jersey. These are important questions that you should attempt to answer before making a selection. Most successful law firms post general information about their previous cases on their websites.
- Relevant Practice Areas
Choose a law firm with practice areas that are relevant to your case. Some attorneys may take cases involving defective and dangerous consumer products. Other attorneys may focus on car accident or medical malpractice cases. When you are shopping for an attorney, look at the types of cases they focus on. If you were harmed by a medical error, then you would want to select an attorney or law firm that regularly takes medical malpractice cases. You can generally find this information on a law firm’s website. Many law firm websites list their practice areas.
- No Disciplinary Record
You can check an attorney’s disciplinary history before making your selection. Some attorneys may have been disciplined for unethical or illegal conduct while practicing law. To perform a search in New Jersey, access the New Jersey Judiciary’s website. On a PC, you can easily search through quarterly disciplinary reports by hitting “Control-F” and typing in the full name of the attorney. Just be sure to verify that you have the right person. There is also a search feature that can help you determine whether an attorney has a disciplinary record.
- A Proven Success Record
You should narrow your search to attorneys and law firms who win cases. Many law firms market themselves by listing their victories online. In most cases, you can determine whether a law firm has a history of obtaining verdicts and settlements by looking at its website. Be wary of law firms that do not have a history of successful cases. It is important to give yourself the best possible chance of recovering adequate compensation for your injuries or loss.
- Good Reviews
If you are like most people, then chances are you would check reviews before going to a restaurant or staying at a hotel. You can also check reviews before selecting an attorney to take your case. An excessive number of bad reviews might be a red flag. Listings, such as Yelp or Martindale, often list client reviews for attorneys. Although reviews are not always accurate, you can at least see what other clients have said about the firm. Some law firm websites also list testimonials from clients. Testimonials can help you determine how the law firm treats its clients.
- Numerous Credentials
Successful personal injury attorneys have a good reputation among their peers. Choose a personal injury attorney who belongs to organizations that are dedicated to helping plaintiffs (like yourself). You could also look for an attorney that hosts CLE courses or seminars, as it is an indicator he or she is truly engaged in practicing personal injury law. When making your selection, look for attorneys with lots of credentials.
The Final Step: Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney
Once you have a few good candidates, you can begin narrowing down your selection. Contact the law firm’s office and ask to speak to the attorney who would handle your case. You could ask the attorney if they have taken cases that were similar to yours and whether they successfully obtained compensation.
In addition, you could ask general questions about how the attorney would handle your case. An interview may also allow you to determine how the attorney would treat you as a client.
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Keefe Law Firm is a New Jersey law firm with a proven record of success. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our New Jersey personal injury attorneys by calling (732)224-9400 or by using our online case review form. Be sure to follow our firm on Facebook and Twitter for future blog updates.