A personal injury can lead to substantial expenses in the form of medical bills or property damage. If you’re wondering ‘How do I find a personal injury lawyer near me?’, then you’re already off to a good start.
Personal injury claims can take the burden of paying for medical expenses or property damage off your shoulders. Soon after your injury, your insurance company could call you to talk to you about your claim. However, never talk to the insurance company without an experienced personal injury lawyer representing you. You want to ensure that you get the highest possible settlement for your case, and a personal injury lawyer can greatly increase your chances to obtain fair compensation.
Where do you find a personal injury lawyer?
The first place you should turn to if you’re looking for a personal injury near you, is your family and friends. If anyone in your circle has dealt with a personal injury claim before, then they can give you a referral. More importantly, you also get to learn about the steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit.
You may not know anyone who has dealt with a personal injury claim before. In this case, the internet is your best resource. There are thousands of personal injury lawyers practicing in Los Angeles alone. How do you find the right personal injury lawyer near you?
Use a search engine
A search engine like Google can help you find the best personal injury lawyers near you. All you have to do is type your keywords into the search bar. Write ‘personal injury lawyers near me’ to instantly access websites from lawyers near your area. The more specific you are, the better your results will be. For example if you live in Palmdale, California, type ‘personal injury lawyer in Palmdale California’, to find the best personal injury lawyer in Palmdale.
Aside from the Google search engine, Google Maps is another place where you can look for personal injury lawyers near you. When you type in your search query, you will be presented with personal injury lawyers in your area, as well as reviews about them.
For a bigger city like Los Angeles, this could be a little more complex. The search engine is likely to show you thousands of results. How do you determine whether a personal injury lawyer will be good for your case or not? Search engines also help you find legal and non-legal directories. These will help you find information and client reviews on lawyers that deal specifically with personal injuries.
Use legal and non-legal online directories
A legal directory is a more specialized version of a search engine. These search engines specifically direct you to lawyers.
The best legal directories that can help you find a personal injury lawyer near you are:
- Avvo: On Avvo you can find information of a prospective lawyer. The website tells you which law school they graduated from, whether they have ever been disciplined by the California State Bar. Their contact details are also available. Avvo also has a great review system that you can use to gauge the expertise and success rate of a prospective lawyer.
- FindLaw: Another popular legal directory, here you can locate a lawyer’s personal bio, their academic history, as well as their contact information.
- Lawyers.com: A resource owned by Martindale-Hubbell, you should absolutely look up the AV rating of a prospective lawyer on this website. The AV rating is provided through peer review and can help you determine the expertise of a prospective lawyer. This website also contains biographies and client testimonials of a different lawyer.
The most popular non-legal directory to find a good personal injury lawyer is Yelp. This website will provide you with contact information, a biography, as well as reviews for different lawyers.
The California State Bar Website
Whether you’re still looking for personal injury lawyers near you, or you’ve already selected someone, you should always view their details in the California State Bar’s website. This website details the educational qualifications, contact information, and other data about various lawyers. More importantly, you can also discover whether a lawyer has been disciplined by the California State Bar or not. Before visiting any personal injury attorney, ideally you should look them up on the California State Bar’s website.
Los Angeles County Bar Association
The Los Angeles County Bar Association is a great resource if you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer in LA. They use a referral system to match you with a lawyer. The lawyers listed on the website have all been screened before.
You will need to provide information on your case – such as the specialization your lawyer should have, what your case is about, as well as your contact details.
Why do you need to hire a personal injury lawyer?
In California, tort law is practiced. Personal injury claims are divided into fault and no-fault claims. There are also specific procedures that need to be followed when it comes to personal injury claims in the state. If you want to maximize your personal injury claim, then you will need to strictly adhere to the rules and regulations on personal injury claims in California.
Only an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you reach a settlement that you’re satisfied with. While it’s easy to find good reviews for personal injury lawyers online, how do you determine whether they are a good match for you?
Book a free consultation with your prospective lawyer
If you have found a lawyer that you think will help you obtain a high settlement, wait. You should reserve your final decision until you have spoken with them directly. Do not opt for phone calls or emails. Instead, visit them at their office so you can speak with them in-person and view how their office operates.
When you go to visit a prospective lawyer, always do your research on them beforehand. You should also have a list of questions that you will be asking them ready before you go. Almost every personal injury lawyer offers a free consultation. Make sure you use the opportunity to learn as much as you can about your case, and how your lawyer can help you.
The questions you should be asking your lawyer include:
- How many years of experience do you have in dealing with personal injury claims?
- When did you decide to work exclusively with personal injury claims?
- Are you comfortable with cases that go to trial, or do you prefer to negotiate a settlement?
- Which law school did you graduate from?
Here, you are trying to determine the amount of experience and expertise the lawyer has in dealing with personal injury claims. The lawyer you sign a retainership with should specialise in and focus on personal injury law. This ensures that they have the knowledge and practical experience you need to get a fair claim. A lawyer that focuses on various kinds of law will not have the in-depth knowledge a specialized lawyer has.
- Have you ever been disciplined by the California State Bar?
- Have you dealt with jury trials? How many?
- How many previous cases went to trial?
- Can you show me your previous successes and verdicts?
- Have you worked for both the client and the insurance company before?
These help you to verify the authenticity of the lawyer. By visiting the California State Bar website, you can determine for yourself whether they have been disciplined before or not. A good personal injury lawyer will also be open about their previous successes. Successful law firms keep records of their wins, and these records can also be accessed by you.
Insurance companies are aware of the good law firms. If you hire a personal injury lawyer from a good law firm, then you are more likely to receive a better settlement. The reason behind this is that a good firm is more likely to take your case to trial if a good settlement is not reached.
Ask them about their fee structure
Before you sign a retainership with your selected lawyer, ask them to detail their fee structure. Most personal injury lawyers in California take between 20-45% of the compensation you get from your settlement. This is a contingency based form of payment. When this happens, your lawyer can tell you that they won’t make any money unless they win your case.
However, contingency based payment does not always include additional fees that go towards hiring experts, depositions etc. To make sure that there are no hidden fees, ask your lawyer about them directly. If there are hidden fees involved, your personal injury lawyer should tell you how much these fees could amount to. Even when there are no hidden fees involved, the amount you have to pay your lawyer once a settlement is reached could take away more from your settlement than you realize. To avoid this, you should know exactly how much they expect you to pay them for their services. This should include any additional charges that go towards hiring other services pertinent to the case.
How well are you getting along with your lawyer?
It is important that you feel that you can speak openly with your lawyer. You should not feel uncomfortable when talking to your lawyer. At the same time, your lawyer should not appear distant towards you. While the first meeting itself may not be good enough to understand this, the following few interactions can give you crucial details on how well you get along with your lawyer.
When you call them, do they pick up immediately? If they are busy, do they revert as soon as they can? Are your emails being answered in a timely manner? If you find that the prospective lawyer is not accessible, don’t go for them. Looking for another personal injury lawyer near you is a good idea. You should look for a lawyer who is willing to fight for your case. You should be able to open up about the details of your situation. The ideal personal injury lawyer should also be able to give you clarity about your case.
Should you opt for a big or a small law firm?
Bigger law firms charge more and tend to employ lawyers with more experience. Smaller law firms may be cheaper, but the lawyers they hire may also have less experience. While more experienced lawyers do not always perform better than less experienced once, bigger firms have a greater success rate for good reason.
Experience and expertise are important when it comes to personal injury claims. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. While a bigger law firm has more experienced lawyers and sometimes even pay litigation fees for you, they also usually have a large number of clients. This means that the amount of time your personal injury lawyer can devote exclusively to you is less. Usually, their support staff – paralegals and legal secretaries – will be the ones managing your case.
A smaller firm does not handle as many clients and can offer you a more exclusive service. The law firm you select should depend on your personal situation. But you should approach a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. The reason behind this is that there is a statute of limitations when it comes to personal injury cases in California.
Get in touch with Kuzyk Law – the best personal injury law firm near you
At Kuzyk Law, we have been working with personal injury claims since 1971. We are based in Los Angeles, Lancaster, Palmdale and Antelope Valley in California. We are also the only personal injury law firm for Lancaster, Palmdale and Antelope Valley.
Personal injury claims require thorough knowledge and practical experience if you want to get the highest settlement for yourself. We specialize in all kinds of personal injury claims – from truck accidents, to motorcycle accidents, to dog bites. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer near you, then contact us today and book a free consultation to benefit from the best personal injury legal firm in California.