Hopefully, you will never require the assistance of a personal injury attorney. No one wants to be in an automobile accident, or be the family member left behind following a wrongful death, or be the victim of negligence. Sometimes, things happen, and you may need to retain the services of just such a person.
There are many factors a client should investigate when seeking a personal injury attorney. First, what are the person’s qualifications? What are his or her credentials? What other sorts of cases does the attorney handle?
Some lawyers in general practice take a full range of cases, having divorce, personal injury, worker’s compensation and general civil litigation files all open and active at any given moment. It is a good thing to be well rounded. If you have a simple slip and fall with a minor sprain, sure. The same attorney who got you out of the traffic ticket may be able to handle it. But if your car was totaled by a tractor trailer, leaving you with extensive, permanent injuries, you want a specialist. You would not ask your general practitioner to do heart surgery, so why seek a general practice attorney for a complicated lawsuit?
Attorneys frequently enlist the assistance of professional staff, such as clerks and paralegals. Law clerks are frequently students in law school, or recent graduates who have yet to pass the bar. Paralegals are generally degreed or certificated individuals who perform many of the duties of an attorney but do not represent the client before the court, and are forbidden by law from giving legal advice.
Every so often, you will come across an attorney who is totally hands on, who makes it his job to personally oversee every step of his cases. If you prefer an attorney who takes a personal interest in all the cases in the office, this is the sort of attorney you should seek out.
Look for a lawyer who has garnered an AV or BV rating in Martindale Hubble. Martindale Hubble is a list of attorneys across the United States, their various specialties and qualifications. Martindale also utilizes peer review, attorneys grading other attorneys. Only the most successful, most ethical and those best versed in laws and procedures attain the highly prized AV rating.
Of course, those attorneys who have an AV or BV only the most cases of serious personal injury, automobile accidents and wrongful death. Their records will speak for itself. The fact that these attorneys conduct every step of his or her case, from start to finish, without utilizing the help of para-professionals speaks to not only the perseverance but also the ability to manage complicated cases. Because these sorts of cases are contingency based (meaning payment is a percentage of the final settlement received by the client) it costs no more to retain the services of a superior lawyer than those of a less skillful litigator.
Whether taking a case to court, or settling it in arbitration or negotiation, you want a skillful, knowledgeable attorney on your side in a fight.