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Suffering a personal injury can hit you hard, both physically and emotionally. Aside from having to cover the medical expenses, you also have to bear the pain due to someone else’s intent or negligence. 

The good thing is that the law is on your side regardless of whether you’re a US citizen or not. Anyone can file a complaint, even holders of green cards or nonimmigrant visas. However, if you think you need help with immigration law before filing a complaint, you can find more information here

It may seem difficult to find the right personal injury lawyer since there are so many law firms in New York. However, there are some steps you can take to make sure you find a lawyer you can trust. 

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  1. Do the research. 

The first step to successfully finding the right personal injury lawyer in New York is doing the research. Though your first instinct may be to simply Google a law firm in your area, we highly recommend asking your friends and acquaintances for a referral first.  

Remember, you need someone experienced with personal injury cases. 

Ask your friends and acquaintances for a referral. 

Talk to the people you know who have been represented by a lawyer in their personal injury claims and ask them about their experience. Were they satisfied with the lawyer’s expertise and service? Was the lawyer available to them for further questions?  

If the answer is yes, you can put their lawyers on the list. However, you should still schedule an appointment with them and hear what they have to say before making a final decision. Just because your best friend likes his or her lawyer doesn’t mean you will.  

Talk to the lawyer you already know. 

If you already have a lawyer who represented you in some other case, you can talk to them and check if they have experience with personal injury claims. Just because someone helped you get divorced doesn’t mean they can provide you with a high-quality representation in a personal injury claim. 

You can also ask your lawyer to recommend someone else if that’s not their area of legal practice. It could be a lawyer working at the same law firm or from another one.  

However, just as with a referral made by a friend, take some time to meet the lawyer and then make a decision. 

Do your research online. 

Another good idea is to Google the law firm and the lawyer you’re interested in. There are a lot of websites where people can write reviews about law firms or a particular lawyer, not just Google Reviews. That can help you decide if the lawyer you’ve run into should be on your list. 

You should also visit the law firm’s website. There’s usually quite a lot of information in the “About us” section that can be helpful. Not only will you be able to see the lawyers that would most likely be handling your case and information about their training, but you’d also be able to read about the law firm itself and the way it works. 

  1. Choose the right lawyer. 

Once you create a list of the potential candidates, you should decide which lawyer you want to hire. Here are the things you should have in mind. 

Check how experienced they are with cases like yours. 

Lawyers typically specialize in one or two areas of legal practice – family law, immigration law, corporate law, and so on. If you want to ensure a path to success, it’s best to hire someone who has extensive experience in cases similar to yours.  

Picking an experienced lawyer isn’t important just because they have more knowledge in terms of this particular field of law. An experienced personal injury lawyer will also more likely confidently put the case before a court if the settlement offer isn’t high enough. 

You should also ask the lawyer if they typically represent plaintiffs (victims) or defendants (insurance companies, businesses). Naturally, it’s better to choose a lawyer that has plenty of experience representing plaintiffs. 

Big or small law firm. 

While some tend to put more trust into the big law firm’s hands, this isn’t something you need to pay too much attention to.  

Both big and small law firms can provide a great service in terms of personal injury claims.  

However, it is possible you may receive more personal attention from smaller law firms. This is especially true if you’ve suffered a typical personal injury – big law firms have hundreds of similar cases, unlike smaller law firms. For that reason, they may be more invested in your case. 

Ask who will work on your case. 

Regardless of the law firm’s size, we highly advise you to ask the lawyer you’re consulting with who will be working on your case. You can also request to meet other lawyers that will be handling your case.  

If they decline and refer you to their secretary, ask yourself if this is the lawyer you want to proceed with. You want to have someone at your disposal when needed. 

Tell the lawyer your goal. 

After you present your case and the lawyer explains your options, you can discuss your settlement goals. The lawyer should be able to tell you how difficult it could be to reach the amount you have in mind. Based on that, there are three strategies you can proceed with: 

  • Obtain a settlement amount within a certain range while making sure the costs are as low as possible, and there’s little to no fuss as possible; 
  • Obtain any amount larger than the one you were offered as quickly as possible; 
  • Obtain as much as possible, regardless of how long it takes. 

Note that you can always change your mind. If you notice it’s taking too long to obtain what you were hoping for, you can simply tell your lawyer to accept any amount bigger than you were initially offered. 

Discuss the fees. 

Before signing a contract, it’s important to ask the lawyer about the fees they’ll be charging.  

Personal injury lawyers work on contingency, and they typically charge no more than one-third of the eventual settlement or judgment, plus office expenses. However, you should always be upfront and ask them to clarify their fees. 

We also advise you to try to get it in writing, too. You never know what could go wrong. 

Trust your gut. 

Before making a final decision, ask yourself if you felt valued as a person during the initial meeting. You should choose someone who genuinely cares about you as a person and has your best interests at heart. 

If this is not how you feel and you’re not sure you can trust them with your case, move on. You don’t want to regret anything later.