Finding the Right Personal Injury Attorney in Charlotte, NC
There are hundreds of thousands of personal injuries annually, and a good portion of those matters end up in the hands of attorneys. Less than 5 percent of all personal injury claims end up in the courts, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. That’s good news because our court system would be swimming in personal injury matters and making it a longer wait for victims of personal injuries to receive their legal remedy. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the primary sources of personal injury cases are:
- Motor vehicle collisions at approximately 52%;
- Medical Malpractice at approximately 15%;
- Product Liability at approximately 5%; and
- Other at approximately 28%.
Personal injury is not only serious legal business, but it is serious to your health. It is imperative to find the right attorney who will advocate your cause on your behalf so you can spend your time healing.
If you have been injured, whether due to a slip and fall, car wreck, product malfunction, or by anything or anyone else, and it is not your fault, then you will likely want to consult an attorney. But in North Carolina, or any place for that matter, the market is saturated with personal injury lawyers. Finding a good one, sometimes, can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for or what you need. Finding a good lawyer that is right for you is even more difficult. The following suggestions act as guidance to help you in this process.
Though we are living in the age of technology, word of mouth is still one of the most potent forms of marketing. The best way to find an attorney is through referrals, but because we are in the age of technology, referrals come in more than one ways.
The Referral: Ask Someone You Know
Begin with a simple referral. Ask someone you know and trust for a referral. If you do not know someone, then check with someone you don’t know, such as a service online.
The Referral: Ask Avvo or Martindale
If you have access to the internet, you can search services like Avvo or Martindale as both are reputable services that dominate the industry. In the search box, type in keywords: “personal injury attorney, Charlotte,” and a long list of attorneys will populate. These kinds of websites are full of information, information overload, if you will. So, though they offer a lot of detailed information on thousands of personal injury lawyers, it can be daunting and time-consuming. You may choose to narrow your search by looking at the attorney’s ratings or reviews.
The Referral: Ask Google
If Avvo or other services like it are too intenstive, you may want to turn to Google or another search engine. Type in the same keyword phrase to produce search results. Know that the first few attorneys are paid advertisements and are represented as such with the symbol: . The second section is usually reviewed attorneys, which is good, because that is where you will start. Click on any of the starred attorneys to generate the review page. Look for the highest reviews and consider the following:
- How many reviews are there;
- How old are those reviews; and
- What do the reviews say?
Once you find an attorney, explore his or her profile, reviews and website and ask the following:
- Does the attorney have any rewards or recognition, i.e., Best Lawyers, Martindale Hubbell AV, BV, AV Preeminent rating?
- How long has the attorney been practicing? How long has the attorney specifically been practicing in personal injury?
- Are there any bad reviews, and if so, what do they say? Do the good reviews seem sincere?
- Is there any indication on pricing, contingency fees, other fees?
- Does the attorney offer a free consultation?
In sum, finding an experienced, qualified personal injury attorney is hard work, but is worth it if you find the right attorney. You simply cannot trust your case to someone who is unqualified.
Consultations vary. Some require a fee while most are free; some are telephonic while most are in-person. While most clients anticipate speaking with an attorney during this consultation, some law offices will have clients meet with a non-attorney staff member such as a paralegal or “case manager.” You may wish to select a law office, like Brown Moore & Associates, where you get to meet with an attorney at your first consultation. Whatever form the consultation takes, you need to be prepared. The more prepared you are, the less time you need to figure things out and answer questions during the consultation, and the quicker the attorney will be able to assess your case and respond accordingly. To prepare yourself, do the following:
- Bring copies of all the evidence you have collected. You keep the originals, especially since you may not know yet if you will hire this attorney.
- Bring pen and paper. You will want to take notes, and these notes will include everything from your impression of the attorney to the legal problems the attorney cites.
- Be honest. Be honest about all the details of your personal injury matter.
- Ask questions. You should come prepared with a list of questions. Basic questions include: How long have you practiced in this area of law? How many cases have you represented that are like mine? How and when will you let me know what’s happening in my case?
- Observe. While at the office for the consultation, observe what’s happening around you. How was the secretary or receptionist? What is the general feel of the place? Do you feel comfortable or uncomfortable? How does the attorney respond to your questions? Is the attorney open and direct or does the attorney avoid answering your questions?
THE FINAL DECISION
Now that you have met a few attorneys and kept notes on each, it is time to make your decision. List the factors that matter most to you and compare it to the strengths and weaknesses of each attorney. Hopefully this will highlight one or two attorneys that work best.
Overall, this may seem like a lot of work. You’re right. It is a lot of work. Finding an experienced, qualified North Carolina personal injury attorney that fits your needs is a process. Rest assured that we at Brown, Moore & Associates PLLC are here to help you, so your work is pretty much finished before it starts.