A personal injury case is never a good experience. Whether it’s a car accident, a slip and fall case, an accident at work or any other kind of injury, there are a number of things you have to take care of before it’s all over.
After the immediate needs are done, it’s time to find someone to help you with the legal part of your case. But finding the right personal injury lawyer in Charleston, WV for your unique needs takes more than opening up a phone book or calling a number in a TV ad. That law firm on TV might work for you, but might not, so don’t be quick to sign them up.
You need to find and hire a lawyer soon, but you also need to find one that you can trust. For him or her, it’s a case, but for you, it’s a big part of your life, so there’s nothing wrong with being choosy.
Gather Some Names
The first thing you want to do is start finding names and numbers for personal injury lawyers. You can get them out of the phone book, but getting referrals from friends, coworkers and relatives who have had good experiences with specific attorneys is a better idea. You won’t be calling them just yet. Referrals can tell you who to talk to, what to expect, and who to avoid. Wouldn’t you want to know if that law firm on TV isn’t as good as they say they are?
Online searching is the new “word of mouth,” and can find the best personal injury lawyer in a short distance, or a longer distance from your home. Is the law firm three blocks from your home a good one, or is it worth it to drive farther to a different one, because it looks like it’s more what you need?
Have you used a West Virginia attorney recently for a different matter? Not just an accident attorney, but someone who took care of a will, an incorporation, a traffic ticket, or even a divorce? Contact them and ask for a referral. It doesn’t matter what kind of law they practice, chances are they have friends who are Charleston WV attorneys and can give you a name. Attorneys also like to refer business to their colleagues, and may be happy to help with a name.
If you don’t know anyone to ask, or don’t want to, you can use some online lawyer directories such as Enjuris, Nolo, Findlaw and Avvo. These websites have names lawyers available for nearly every specialty in West Virginia.
Do Your Research
Once you’ve assembled a list of attorneys you want to interview, it’s time to do some additional research. Fortunately, research is fast and easy with Google and other search engines. Online reviews are one way to qualify or disqualify an attorney you’re considering, but that’s not all of it.
Reviews are a big benefit from online searches. If your cousin swears by one attorney, wouldn’t you want to know what other clients have experienced? While there are good and bad reviews for nearly everyone, you’ll get an idea of what to expect when you meet with them.
Reviewing an attorney’s website is a great way to get a feel for what kind of lawyer they are and what kind of law they actually practice. Your cousin’s referral may turn out to specialize in DUI defense, and it’s not likely he’s also the best personal injury lawyer in Charleston WV. Many law firms publish helpful content on their website that will give you some additional information you need to make your decision, but not outright legal advice.
It’s important to find out what people are saying on Google, Facebook, Yelp, social media and other places where reviews aren’t going to be cherry-picked as they are on the attorney’s own website. While everyone is going to have detractors, it’s important to look for specific trends in the reviews, such as inattention, not returning phone calls, etc. Are there more one-star ratings than four-star? What common threads do you see in these reviews? Take these into consideration as you decide who to interview.
You’ll still need to dig a little deeper and find out more—as in what kind of trouble they’ve had. The West Virginia State Bar also offers an online portal that you can use to investigate any attorney in the state. Here, you’ll be able to find out if a particular attorney has been disciplined, suspended, or been in any kind of trouble that could cause problems for you.
Your Consultation Interview
Once you’ve decided who you want to talk to, it’s time to schedule your free consultations and meet these people in person. If you think it sounds like a job interview or a blind date, it’s very similar. You’re meeting with people who you may have a long-term relationship with, for a specific purpose, and you want to get the right person.
The attorneys and their staff will ask questions of you to find out if they should take your case, but you should ask questions as well. Your goal is to find the best personal injury lawyer for the case, and one that you can work well with.
Among the many questions you should ask:
- “What’s your level of expertise in handling a case like mine?” Whether it’s a car accident, medical malpractice, slip and fall or any other personal injury case, you want to know if he or she understands the specifics of your type of case, and knows what kind of experts to contact.
- “Who will be working on my case?” Lead attorneys frequently delegate tasks to paralegals, junior attorneys and legal secretaries. This keeps costs down and frees the lead attorney to handle more complicated parts of your case. It’s also a good idea to ask who your point of contact would be when calling or emailing for a case update.
- “How much courtroom experience do you have in a case like mine?” This may sound like a bad question to ask, but you should ask anyway if you really want the best personal injury lawyer. Even though many cases don’t make it to trial, an attorney without experience trying cases may be reluctant to take a case to trial. This could result in a much lower settlement, since the other party knows there probably won’t be a court case. An attorney who is not afraid to take a case to court and does well in court will have a better chance of winning your case for you.
You should also ask about associated case costs, and who will pay them. While your attorney’s fees may not be paid until your case is won, court costs, administrative fees, expert fees and the like may or may not be paid from your settlement, and you could receive a surprise bill for these fees. You should know about these before choosing the best personal injury lawyer Charleston WV and signing on with a particular law firm.
Enjuris’ free checklist of questions can help you ask the right questions and get the answers you need. Questions about fee arrangements, points of contact, and other important topics are included in this easily printable PDF document.
We’re Ready To Help
Call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect. We offer contingency fee arrangements, and there’s no fee if we don’t win your case.