Once the dust settles after sustaining an injury, it is natural to consider having a personal injury lawyer represent you. Whether your injury happened due to a car wreck, medical malpractice, a slip-and-fall accident, or another scenario, the law protects the rights of innocent victims injured by other people’s negligence.
The challenge is that there are over 50,000 personal injury law firms in the United States. Here in Massachusetts, there may be an overwhelming amount in your local area, all claiming to be the right one to represent you in your fight for justice. With so many to choose from, how can you select the right personal injury attorney?
This guide will show you how to choose a personal injury lawyer in Massachusetts who will be on your side and fight for your rights down to the end.
Ask for Referrals
While the media is full of recommendations for various services, word-of-mouth marketing is still the form we trust the most. A study found that 88 percent of people trust recommendations from friends over traditional media. Personal injury law firms understand that their former clients are their best advertisers, so asking for referrals is a great place to start.
For one thing, you can harness the power of social media to get referrals. Consider putting a simple post on your WhatsApp or Facebook status or posting a message on Instagram.
Social media is a great way to connect with many friends and family members quickly. However, there is no need to provide any details that could jeopardize your legal case; simply let your trusted contacts know that you are looking for recommendations for personal injury lawyers they know and trust.
Remember, social media gives others an insight into your life. Anything you say or pictures you post about your personal injury lawsuit could be used against you later.
Therefore, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Do not post any details of your case or injuries
- Do not post photos of yourself engaged in physical activities or work while you are injured
- Do not reveal information about your case in comments on other people’s posts
- Do check your privacy settings and control who can see your posts
- Do carefully examine new friend requests and reject them if you have any doubts
As friends and family respond, you may soon find you have a whole list of Massachusetts law offices to start to contact. You may also get a few messages warning you about certain firms, which could be just as helpful.
Personal injury law is complex and covers many different areas. For example, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit due to the following:
- Medical malpractice: Clinical errors, misdiagnosis, and medication errors are a few examples of medical malpractice that can lead to long-term conditions
- Transportation accidents: Collisions involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians are common types of transportation accidents
- Serious injuries: Slips and falls, burns, construction accidents, animal bites, and child abuse may result in serious injuries
- Product liability: Defective products and medical devices can cause injury or death
- Wrongful death: Whether on the road, in the workplace, or elsewhere, if another person’s actions caused your loved one’s death, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit
This is just a sample of the many types of cases personal injury lawyers handle. Of course, an individual lawyer cannot have extensive experience in every kind of case. That is why it pays to find a personal injury lawyer with experience in the particular area of law that deals with your injury. Some firms employ a large legal team that has the capacity and experience to take on a wide range of cases.
Don’t hold back from asking attorneys about their experience in any particular area of law. You are entitled to as many questions as necessary. After all, you need to feel confident that you are making the right decision and have the best possible legal representation for your particular case. If you feel a firm lacks the experience and expertise you require, keep searching until you find the right one.
Find Out the Firm’s Success Rate
The right attorney for you is one with a great track record. He or she will be more than happy to discuss his or her personal success rate and that of the firm.
You can ask the lawyer to talk you through some of his or her recent victories and what settlements were achieved in those cases. An experienced attorney will also be able to give you a ballpark estimate of how much compensation you could achieve in your case.
Ask Who Will Handle Your Case
You may have a free case consultation and get along great with the attorney. He or she agrees to take on your case, and you sign the contract feeling sure that this is the right attorney for you. However, later you may find that this attorney will not be your point of contact.
This does not mean that the law firm is not giving your case the attention it deserves. The reality is that most personal injury lawyers work with a large legal team, including junior attorneys, paralegals, medical experts, and case managers. Therefore, finding out who will handle your case and who your point of contact will be for your peace of mind is essential.
Asking this question before signing the contract gives you time to assess how you feel about them. After meeting the team you will be liaising with regularly, you may feel more confident that you are making the right decision. If you do not, you can still explore other options.
Look for Fee Transparency
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay any fees unless your attorney wins your case. If he or she is unsuccessful, there will be no fees to pay.
This can be a great arrangement that allows you to pursue justice without worrying about how you are going to pay for it all. Yet, ultimately, there will be a bill to pay if you win, and you do not want to get a nasty shock when it arrives.
As soon as a lawyer agrees to take on your case, ask about the fees the firm will charge. Normally, this will be a percentage of the compensation you receive. However, some attorneys may add on extra charges, which could make the total cost much higher.
The right attorney will show you a breakdown of all the fees the firm charges before you sign a contract. This will also allow you to compare your options.
Check Out the Competition
The first law firm you talk to may be the right one for you, but it is hard to know for sure without checking out the competition. When doing so, make sure you are comparing like for like.
Some questions to consider are:
- Does the firm have extensive experience in the particular area of law I need?
- How good is their success rate?
- What are their fees?
- Who will handle my case?
If you carefully evaluate these points, you can feel confident that you have made the right decision and have a successful, experienced attorney fighting in your corner.
Ask About Anticipated Challenges
Personal injury matters can be complex. This is especially true if it is challenging to prove liability or if you have sustained catastrophic injuries that may require long-term care.
Obtaining maximum compensation can be a long battle. While most personal injury cases can be settled out of court, your case may need to go to trial if it’s not possible to achieve the compensation you require through negotiation.
The most experienced and qualified personal injury lawyers are well aware of these challenges, and they will be open with you about them. They will also have strategies to try to overcome them.
It is crucial to work with a realistic attorney who has the skills to fight for your rights. If a lawyer cannot think of any challenges that may arise, this may be a sign he or she does not yet have the necessary experience to handle your case.
Read Reviews and Testimonials
Review sites and testimonials can give us an insight into the views of people who have had interactions with the firm you are evaluating. Most personal injury lawyers include a testimonials page on their websites that let you hear from former clients about their experience with the firm.
Cautions with review sites
Independent review sites can also be helpful. However, you need to read them carefully and take some reviews with a grain of salt. Even the most reputable personal injury lawyers may get bad reviews from time to time, and there are good reasons for that.
Reasons why people leave bad reviews
Some former clients may be disgruntled because their personal injury lawsuits were not successful. Other clients did not achieve the settlement they had hoped for. Of course, no claim is guaranteed to be successful or secure a large payout.
What you need are personal injury lawyers who put in the time and dedication needed to give you the best chance of success.
Reading varying reviews can give you a sense of the lawyer’s reputation. If there are many positive reviews, you are likely to see themes emerging which highlight certain qualities especially important to you.
Of course, the reviews may also mention certain negative traits. If several reviews mention the same one, it may be worth taking it seriously.
Some people may be unhappy that the attorney did not agree to take on their cases. At the case evaluation, a personal injury attorney will listen carefully to the details of the accident. The lawyer will use his or her experience and knowledge of Massachusetts law and similar cases to decide whether the case is likely to be successful or not.
An injury lawyer must be confident that a case has a strong chance of success before committing to take it on. If the answer at this stage is no, some people may take to their keyboards and fire off a negative review.
The law firm’s response matters
Finally, you can learn a lot about a law firm from the way they respond to reviews, both good and bad. The most reputable firms take the time to respond courteously to all reviews. If the review raises a complaint, they offer to follow up directly with the clients.
On the other hand, law firms that do not prioritize customer service may simply ignore bad reviews or, even worse, leave negative comments in response.
You can only choose one firm to handle your personal injury lawsuit, so make sure it is one with team members who care about their clients, endeavoring to give them the best service possible.
Choose Nationally Recognized Lawyers
One way to assess a personal injury attorney is by his or her reputation and level of national recognition.
Recognition can take many forms, but some accreditations to look out for include:
- Super Lawyers: A directory that adds the top 5 percent of attorneys in the country to its list each year. You know you are getting a personal injury lawyer with a track record of success and a high level of peer recognition.
- American Association for Justice: A nonprofit organization that focuses on safeguarding victims’ rights and ensuring justice for injured persons. Membership shows a law firm’s commitment to upholding these standards in its practice.
- Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation: Businesses are vetted and rated, giving you confidence you are dealing with a trustworthy business. The highest rating is A+.
Other accreditations to look out for include Avvo, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys. These memberships and accreditations show that you are working with a firm of personal injury lawyers that subscribes to the highest standards of ethics and justice.
Reasons to Trust Kiley Law Group
At Kiley Law Group, we understand that choosing the right attorney to handle your personal injury lawsuit is a serious decision. That is why we have assembled a team of intelligent, compassionate, and committed personal injury attorneys who are dedicated to getting the best possible results for our clients.
Our team is led by Tom Kiley, Sr., who has been practicing law for over 40 years as a personal injury lawyer. During that time, we have won over $1 billion in compensation for our clients.
We cover all aspects of personal injury law in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Our results page shows the outstanding settlements we have achieved on behalf of injured persons. We do not charge any fees for our legal services unless we win your case.
There is no need to go it alone in your pursuit of justice. The caring personal injury lawyers at Kiley Law Group are eager to listen to your case and provide the legal advice you need. Call our law offices 24/7 at (888) 435-1321 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. One call can make all the difference.