Aug 1, 2023
Taking the time to research and then choose the best accident or personal injury lawyer for your specific case can have major implications on the ultimate success or failure of your lawsuit. An accident lawyer’s proven history, reviews, and qualifications are all important factors when making this type of decision.
Although estimates vary among different public and government agencies, data indicates that nearly 700,000 personal injury claims are filed each year in the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics also found that the most common types of personal injury cases were:
The high number of such claims highlights the fact that over a lifetime, you or someone you know may be impacted by a personal injury accident that requires a lawsuit. If you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation, knowledge is indeed power, and understanding how to find the best accident attorney to represent you is critical.
Let’s take a look at the wide-ranging arena of personal injury law which accident attorneys specialize, and then examine steps for researching and ultimately hiring the best Los Angeles-area lawyer according to your specific case.
When accident happen and someone is injured, personal injury law allows that individual to file a lawsuit for damages (such as lost wages or medical bills) which resulted from the accident or incident.
Personal injury law encompasses a wide variety of scenarios:
If you have been the victim of one or more of the above incidents, you will want to find the most competent attorney to represent you. However, the search process can be difficult and time-consuming if you aren’t familiar with how to separate accurate information from misinformation. While some clients seek an accident lawyer through referrals from friends and family, the majority of us will go online to conduct research. But there are many red flags to be aware of:
Knowing how to differentiate between ad-based pages and legitimate, independent pages (also known as organically generated results) can be an important step to finding the best attorney for you. Thoroughly researching an accident attorney’s website can also be beneficial to your search process.
Once you’ve taken the steps to ensure that you’re not being fooled by advertisements or misinformation (and have found examples of attorneys that seem like good options), you may want to determine whether or not the attorney has experience in winning lawsuits similar to yours. For example, the best dog bite attorney in California – one who has secured major settlements for a large number of clients – may not have any experience in other areas of personal injury law. Accordingly, that attorney wouldn’t be right for your car accident case. Again, the world of personal injury law covers many different types of cases, so you want to find a lawyer who has experience winning settlements similar to your type of accident.
To find important information on an attorney’s qualifications (always after verifying the attorney through independent and organic search results) you can check their actual website for information concerning win/loss records in specific types of cases. If they have several examples of securing large settlement awards for car accident victims, and you happen to be a car accident victim, that attorney might be right for you. Additionally, their past experience and settlement victories should provide you with an estimate for the type of settlement you may receive given your injuries and any damages. However, if this type of information is nowhere to be found on their website (and, especially if they refuse to provide examples of car accident settlements and win/loss ratios for such cases over the phone), you should probably view this as a red flag and move on to the next lawyer you found through organic search results.
You want to be confident that you have covered all your bases by finding as much pertinent and accurate information as possible before scheduling an in person consultation (which is preferable to a phone call, as you will want to have a sense of how you interact one-on-one with the attorney). Additionally, as seeking a second opinion from a physician is commonly advised, seeking a minimum of two consultations with accident attorneys is equally advisable.
Once you’ve gone through each of the above steps, such as cutting through the misinformation and finding examples of attorneys specializing in cases similar to yours, you’ll be ready to meet in-person to determine if a specific attorney is right for you. Consider this to be like a job interview, only you’re the interviewer and the attorney is the interviewee responsible for demonstrating why he or she is the best person for the job.
As this process involves establishing a working relationship with a professional, you want to be comfortable with this individual as your personal representative, and also be confident that they will be an advocate for securing justice on your behalf. That’s why communication between you and your attorney is key. Let’s break down some examples of determining an attorney who is a “good fit” in further detail:
The attorney should be sincerely interested in you and your case, he or she should empathize with your current situation (particularly if it involves injuries/pain and suffering), and he or she should ask questions about your accident – allowing you to provide a description of how the events that caused the car accident, dog bite, slip and fall, or other type of case transpired.
While the lead attorney should always be your main contact, and consistently available, you should also have access to a second, and even third contact option within the firm who is available in the event of an emergency (or when your lead attorney may be in court and unavailable). These individuals may be paralegals, case managers, intake specialists, etc.
Your attorney should handle every detail from start to finish. You want to find an attorney who will proactively manage all aspects of your case – from the claims filing process to demand letters and liens to witness preparation and even extensive research.
You should expect to hear back about a question pertaining to your case within approximately 24 hours. That timeframe is considered a general standard. And you should receive regular updates on your case. Personal injury cases are fluid, and keeping you apprised on such changes should be a priority for your attorney.
If you are involved in any type of accident suit that involves medical care (and therefore bills) – you will absolutely want to ask your attorney about this. It’s important to note that many doctors – potentially even the very doctor treating you for injuries sustained via an accident – also work for or with insurance companies. Most of us would have no way of knowing whether or not such a relationship exists (which is extremely unfortunate given the negative effects it could potentially have on your case).
Insurance companies do not have the best interests of you (the victim) in mind, as their primary goal is to negotiate the lowest possible settlement. This type of “lowball” settlement offer rarely reflects the fair amount of damages you may be entitled to for pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of work, reduced quality of life, and multiple other factors. Therefore, doctors who simultaneously work for insurance companies and see patients (car accident victims, for example) have been found to regularly submit biased reports to benefit the insurance companies. Such reports can be intentionally subjective, including an inaccurate medical diagnosis. Sadly, very few accident victim patients are privy to such information.
Your attorney, however, should be knowledgeable of such bad actors. If your attorney is experienced, he or she should be aware of conflicts of interest existing between doctors and insurance companies. Consequently, your lawyer should be able to recommend an impartial doctor to properly oversee your treatment.
You should be prepared to ask questions and receive answers on everything above (and include any additional questions that might be unique to your case) prior to meeting for an accident attorney consultation. The attorney’s responses, and whether or not you’re able to develop a genuine rapport with them, should be a factor in how you decide to proceed.
In personal injury cases, the general rule is that you pay no fee unless you win your settlement. This places the burden on your lawyer to not only present the best possible case on your behalf, but to also secure you the highest possible settlement (as that figure affects their own financial interests).
Once your case is settled, an accident lawyer’s fee is generally between 33% and 40% of the settlement amount secured on your behalf. While this may seem like a substantial portion of money you feel you are entitled to after experiencing such a harrowing accident, it’s important to realize that your attorney assumes all the risk in such personal injury cases. Moreover, if you decided to negotiate an hourly fee structure with your lawyer, it would almost certainly end up being more expensive than the contingency fee percentage figure – not to mention that by doing so, you would inherit all the risk.
At Dordulian Law Group (DLG), our experienced accident lawyers only accept a fee AFTER we’ve secured maximum financial compensation for your case. There’s never any risk to you – you pay nothing until we win your claim and obtain a damages award which covers your losses, including things like pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your car accident, dog bite, premises liability, medical malpractice, sexual assault, or wrongful death case. DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a proven and aggressive trial attorney who began his career as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Today, Dordulian and his team of accident lawyers fight for justice in civil court on behalf of injured victims like you.
With more than 100 jury trial victories, a 98% winning record for clients, and over $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts secured for injured victims like you, Dordulian and his high-powered team of California lawyers offer the peace of mind and results that you deserve.
When you’re injured in a California accident of any kind that was due to someone else’s negligence, don’t settle for anything less than the DLG Advantage.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.