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What is the best way to find a good lawyer for a personal injury (not auto)?  I have googled for review sites, etc, found nothing good.  The review sites have 1-2 reviews, or 0 for most local lawyers of this type.  One site had a rating but it seemed questionable how they determined this (probably based off 1 review).  And im sure lawyers being intelligent know about these sites, and may give themselves positive reviews (although from the lack of reviews I doubt they even care).  I live near Baltimore so there should be a fair amount of lawyers to choose from, just having trouble figuring out who is good, who is not.

Is there something I should look for on their site, or when calling? I would assume someone really aggressive who tries to get me to sign and pressures me will be more aggressive in court for me?

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Informative.

williamsham (Jan. 13, 2017 @ 4:36a) |

Instead of asking a local lawyer for a recommendation, try to find a local paralegal from a big firm to ask (they may re... (more)

dawndelion (Jan. 13, 2017 @ 1:33p) |

a couple of other practical pointers:

- google them! and read their website bio. that's why it's there - to help you deci... (more)

crabbing (Jan. 16, 2017 @ 5:27a) |

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Ask friends. Faceboook, text, email

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Look for a local lawyer on the National Association of Consumer Advocates site. http://www.consumeradvocates.org/

You may not find a local personal injury listing but talk to a couple of the listed locals to see who they can suggest--even if they don't want the case themselves.

Online reviews for lawyers are rather worthless.

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Ask at Nextdoor.com

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1) Go to the courthouse and sit in on cases similar to yours.
2) Observe.

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Any personal injury lawyer will give a free initial consultation, pick one that sounds good and go meet with them for a free consultation. If they won't give a free consult then either, they may be too busy and won't give your case the desired level of attention or they don't really want your case for whatever reason. When you meet, if you don't like them don't sign an agreement and go to another one.
 

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Get a referral from the state bar. The lawyers must be in good standing to get referrals, and will usually have a free or reduced price consultation. Good standing in the sense that they do not have unresolved complaints or public sanctions from the state bar. In most states lawyers are restricted in how they are allowed to solicit for new clients and state bar referrals are not something taken lightly. Many unscrupulous personal injury lawyers will pay referral fees and are just looking for a quick paycheck and not your best interests.

Make sure you understand their fee schedule, most personal injury lawyers are paid on contingency. 25% to 50% depending on the type of case. Often it will be 25% for a settlement negotiation only fee, and then jump to 40% if it has to go to trial.

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Judge Judy, pay attention to the commercials.

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This is similar to evaluating a Dr. You'd have to be one to actually critically evaluate them. Otherwise, you're just judging them on relatively unimportant things like their bedside manner or the quality of the front-office staff.

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Hi, lawyer here. The comparison to finding a good doctor is apt, as most people don't even know if their doctor is a hack or not. That said, I disagree with most of the above advice, everything except for "ask a friend". Referrals from other lawyers isn't a bad route, but most referrals will be to their buddies; your real estate lawyer friend might know if this PI attorney is a jerk or not, but probably doesn't know if they're actually any good.

Avvo could be good if you look only at client reviews, but most online review type stuff can be manipulated (anyone can claim to be a client). The state bar will probably only tell you if someone has been sanctioned, not if they're competent.

"I would assume someone really aggressive who tries to get me to sign and pressures me will be more aggressive in court for me?" I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, but HELL NO. Many of these lawyers will be very aggressive in getting you to sign, and then be very aggressive in getting you to settle. They go for quantity of settlements over quality of results.

Find someone who actually litigates cases, someone who has "recent case results" splattered on their front page that shows actual verdicts and not just settlements.

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Craigslist.

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The one William Shatner does the commercial for in your region. I know he's in Milwaukee and Detroit, is he nationwide?

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Yelp

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Look for ads on late night television.

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Avvo can be helpful:
-though the client area can easily be polluted with faux and grudge reviews
-the attorney rating itself is based on 'merit', not client reviews, and is cookable

Best bet:
-what attorney have you (or a trusted acquaintance) successfully worked with previously? phone she/he and ask that person for a recommendation. 

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CrazyTree?

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pietromoon said:   Avvo can be helpful:
-though the client area can easily be polluted with faux and grudge reviews
-the attorney rating itself is based on 'merit', not client reviews, and is cookable

Best bet:
-what attorney have you (or a trusted acquaintance) successfully worked with previously? phone she/he and ask that person for a recommendation. 


Avvo ratings (as most attorney ratings) are not very useful.  I moved my Avvo rating up by 2 points (out of 10) in half an hour while talking with the Avvo representative over the phone and entering information in my profile.

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the smart ones represent themselves

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Best place to find a really good lawyer is in the graveyard, buried there, naturally.

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I have had to use a few recently and i think it's VERY hard to find a good one. I'm an MD and I think the comparison to finding a good MD like jmar99 said is similar. I know amazing world class doctors who have aggressive/off putting bedside manner but give stellar results and work super hard. And I know plenty of below average doctors whose patients LOVE them b/c they are so nice. And I've seen miserable MDs at world renowned cancer institutes, and vice versa. Personal recs can be bad etc. I frankly don't know how to find a good one. I think the BEST recommendation would be from someone in the field (an unbiased lawyer who isn't just referring a friend- but they tend to do that so watch out). Lawyers know who are the best ones I'd bet- you just need to find one who can be honest about it.

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I've had the best luck via referrals from friends who are lawyers. I needed an employment attorney and an lawyer friend who I respect professionally and personally made a recommendation that turned out to be excellent.

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Logan71 said:   CrazyTree?
  lol

PI is incredibly systematic and unless there is some type of traumatic injury, one experienced PI lawyer is as good as the next.  The margins are very slim on these types of cases, as it's a volume business... so don't expect the moon.  Most of the work will be done by non-attorney paralegals in any event.

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homersboy6 said:   
pietromoon said:   Avvo can be helpful:
-though the client area can easily be polluted with faux and grudge reviews
-the attorney rating itself is based on 'merit', not client reviews, and is cookable

Best bet:
-what attorney have you (or a trusted acquaintance) successfully worked with previously? phone she/he and ask that person for a recommendation. 


Avvo ratings (as most attorney ratings) are not very useful.  I moved my Avvo rating up by 2 points (out of 10) in half an hour while talking with the Avvo representative over the phone and entering information in my profile.

  Correct ...cookable

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Better Call Saul OP.

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I agree with getting a referral from friends, family members, and neighbors

I once had an injury lawyer for a car wreck. There was a lot of follow up needed and i quickly figured out I needed help or I was going to get screwed over big time. It took a long time. The attorney was a patient person (not aggressive) and on top of his stuff. The insurance company for the guy that rear-ended my car on the freeway messed up badly. This attorney was sharp. first thing this nasty insurance company did was offer me wholesale value for my totaled car. I did my research and knew it was not right. it was $3k lower than what I could purchase a similar used car for in the same condition (same mileage). The attorney told me that they low ball you because they believe you need the money for a down payment on a new car. his advice was get into a different car without taking that offer. It was painful but i did it. That totaled car sat in my driveway for 3 years until the settlement.

The next trick the nasty insurance company played was they called the rental car company with 2 of their representatives on the phone and talked to the rental company manager and made false statements that they were unable to get a hold of me and they were not going to pay for the rental car as of that date. They did this after the insurance company was notified I was represented by an attorney and they needed to call the attorney directly for anything else related to this case. The insurance company apparently recorded that call. They made the rental car manager call me at work. Of course was shocked by such a dirty trick. I called the attorney and he had seen that trick before. He said not to worry...just keep the receipts.

a lot of letters went back and forth and I was still getting physical therapy and seeing doctors. apparently there was a deadline to settle or we were going to court. the insurance company asked for more time. my attorney gave them a 30 extension. they missed the date. i got a call to be at court the next day and we got a default judgement -- this is rare! this is where having a very good attorney matters. the insurance company screwed up and had to refer the case to outside counsel, which cost them more $. The case then settled in less than an month and they sent a tow truck for the totaled car. this insurance company is the one referred to as too big to fail. the outside attorney approved the original ask on the value of the car based on proof we showed of similar cars at the time. my attorney didn't make much money because the value of the policy was just minimum coverage and the other driver didn't have any assets. I really felt bad for him.

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I would look at recent appellate decisions in your jurisdiction. See which attorneys are taking personal injury cases to trial (and preferably winning).

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Some good advice in this thread. I'd only add that however you got the attorney names, meet with four or five candidates to discuss your case. See how they communicate with you. They should explain how the process works, what the options are in your specific case, and who will actually be handling your case. Inquire about their actual trial experience. Find out the percentage of their cases that ultimately go to trial. From the initial filing of the claim to a final check in your hands can be a long process (a year or two or longer). A good attorney will keep you updated on your case with details of the negotiations and the options available at each stage. Ultimately, you are in control and have the final say. Beware of someone who puts pressure on you to sign up with him.

Also be aware that your cost will be the attorney's contingency fee (25% - 40%) plus costs. The attorney's fee is based on the total settlement or judgment amount and comes off the top first. After that, all the costs of the case are deducted.  You receive the remaining balance.

If your case becomes an actual lawsuit and starts proceeding toward trial,  the costs can start adding up quickly. There is always a cost benefit analysis to be done along the way.

Finally, don't deal with any lawyer that advertises. Those type of places are mills based on volume and quick settlements, not your best interests.

Good Luck.

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sandkaushal said:   Try this
http://www.martindale.com

  99% of AV-Rated attorneys are not going to take a PI case unless there are catastrophic injuries.

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Crazytree said:   
sandkaushal said:   Try this
http://www.martindale.com

  99% of AV-Rated attorneys are not going to take a PI case unless there are catastrophic injuries.

But they can maybe refer to less-busy partners in their offices, which would be better than picking out of the yellow pages.

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BrianGa said:   I would look at recent appellate decisions in your jurisdiction. See which attorneys are taking personal injury cases to trial (and preferably winning).



How does someone go about doing this?
 

  

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You better call Saul.

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      I would love to hear the conversation of someone trying to more or less do a cross examination a lawyer or doctor
of their qualifications. If you could even get one to sit long enough.

Referral sites fall inline with who's next at the car dealer or car tow call.

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good luck finding an good lawyer or an honest one,,thats like saying where can i find a good used car salesman ,,or a good politician..they are nearly extinct

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vansville said:   
BrianGa said:   I would look at recent appellate decisions in your jurisdiction. See which attorneys are taking personal injury cases to trial (and preferably winning).



How does someone go about doing this?

  

What's your jurisdiction?

Edit: just looked at MD, assuming that is yours. It doesn't look like they list attorney/firm names on their opinions, so this method would be a lot harder in MD.

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skarydrunkguy said:   the smart ones represent themselves
  the stupid ones represent themselves 

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My option would be to ask a lawyer IN THAT AREA who they would pick to represent one of their family in the particular case.  One thing to be aware of there are local quirks. aka the local rules .  An example is the then Solicitor General for Texas ( Harvard Law grad and now junior Senator) failed to show up at the 341 meeting of creditors to announce the State's objection to the debtors plan.   Said Solicitor General had just won an appellate case in the 5th circuit on point saying he is right in that the claim should be treated as a priority claim.   He also did not file his objection within 10 days of the 341 meeting.  Both steps are required by the local rules. 90 days goes by and the debtors plan is set for confirmation.  SG files his objection to the plan under Rule 3015.  Debtors' counsel answers objection with notice that State's objection was not timely announced at the 341 meeting and not timely(10 days after the 341 meeting) filed under the local rules. US Supreme Court says the local rules not the general rules prevail. State's objection is denied and plan confirmed.  Then the SG files proof of claim for a tax lien as a priority unsecured claim.  Confirmed plan treats State as a general unsecured creditor, SG loses again and state is paid 11 cents on the dollar instead of 100%. Court awards 10% of States allowed  claim as attorney fees to be paid by SG for frivolous filing as per FRCP11.  So the best book lawyer or Martindale Hubble rated lawyer may not be the best lawyer for your needs.   Local lawyers know who knows the rules and their way around the court house.

Skipping 11 Messages...
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a couple of other practical pointers:

- google them! and read their website bio. that's why it's there - to help you decide if that lawyer is a good fit for you.
- like others have said about appellate lawyers, you probably want to avoid specialists.
- in general, avoid large firms. they can be full of lawyers worked too hard to care, or they are actually insurance defense firms who will only try to settle. high-priced firms will just ignore you.
- look for someone nearby. driving 30+ minutes to see your lawyer is a pain. don't equate nearness to the court with convenience - it's the lawyer's convenience, not yours, and you'll only go to court yourself once or twice.
- look for someone nice. hard to quantify, but your lawyer is your advocate and your counselor. you should be able to feel that you can trust them.

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