The gift of mobility is something we often take for granted. After getting injured, there are many things that you may need assistance with – physical, let alone tedious, tasks. Then, you have medical bills – and are clouded by those hovering over your head. You probably are not thinking about all of the logistical, administrative, and compensatory tasks. But you should consider at least a few.
WHO CAN HELP
What you might not immediately consider – yet should look into right away – is how to find the best personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers are skilled at their craft, which is compensating plaintiffs (people injured) as a result of their injury (which is the fault of another – another person, a company, a store, a landlord, an employer, and so on).
WHY YOU NEED A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
Chances are, if you were injured at the fault of another, you were not anticipating your injury. You probably did not have the money to spare on medical bills either, and even if you did, you probably were not planning to spend your money on surgery, physical therapy, check-ups, stitches, medicine, and other medical bills. You might even be wondering whether you can or should spend the money to hire a personal injury lawyer – after all, lawyers are expensive.
For one thing, there is something called the “statute of limitations” – this is the length of time between your accident or injury and when you must file your lawsuit. In other words, it is a major deadline that you cannot miss – and no lawyer could talk their way out of missing this one, even if they are the best personal injury lawyer in New Jersey. That is why you should start looking for a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, so that you can ensure your lawyer has time to act (and because they will know when this deadline is).
Personal injury attorneys are not part of the problem – they are part of the solution. Personal injury attorneys can help you recover the money that you deserve, and more, in order to compensate you for your medical bills, pain, and other costs.
Yet, personal injury lawyers sometimes get a bad reputation – aren’t they called “ambulance chasers?” Yes, there are a few bad eggs, but that should not spoil the whole entire basket. There are many personal injury lawyers – if not more – that truly care about their clients (meaning you) and your recovery (physical and financial). Personal injury attorneys are those that hold big companies liable for malfunctioning products, landlords for unsafe buildings, and bad actors that intentionally hurt innocent people.
But there are so many personal injury lawyers in New Jersey – how do you know where to start, in order to find the best personal injury attorney in New Jersey and sort the good from the bad?
FINDING THE BEST PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER IN NEW JERSEY
So where do you start? How do you know whether your personal injury lawyer is an ambulance chaser or an attorney with ethics? Here are a few tips to help you find the best personal injury lawyer in New Jersey:
STOP SURFING THE WEB, START ASKING FRIENDS
If you simply surf the web for your personal injury lawyer, you will probably spend more time online than you do speaking to lawyers – and you might put off the task even longer. Before you become overwhelmed sorting through all of your Google search results, you should ask your friends, family, and acquaintances if they know of any good personal injury lawyers, who are licensed in New Jersey.
Lawyers obtain a good majority of their new clients through word of mouth and referrals – good lawyers, that is. So, the best way to ensure that you find a reputable (rather than repulsive) New Jersey personal injury lawyer, you should ask around. This way, you get the names of people that you trust, trust.
If anything, you will be surprised at just how many people know New Jersey personal injury lawyers – through personal experience or through their friends and families – that you will probably still become overwhelmed with options.
Once you get names from friends, then you should do a Google search to look up their names and firms.
NARROW YOUR LIST – THEN CALL TO SET UP CONSULTATIONS
After you receive advice – and names - from your friends, family and acquaintances, you should call each of the New Jersey attorneys to set up a consultation.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. This is so both of you can identify whether they are a good match. Schedule a few appointments – do not just settle for the first lawyer that gives you an appointment, either! Really take the time to meet with at least 3 lawyers so that you can choose the personal injury firm that fits your needs. Some might specialize in car accidents, while some might have a niche in malpractice.
ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS BEFORE YOUR MEETING
In order to make the most effective use of your time at these consultations, you should organize your thoughts before each. Nail your summary of what happened, this way the lawyer can focus your attention less on fact-finding and more on discussion of the legal implications, next steps, ultimate goals – all so that you can get a more accurate picture of the costs associated with hiring a personal injury lawyer and filing a lawsuit.
This is key because you want to ensure that the lawyer you meet with has all of your information up front, this way you can let him or her do the talking. You can hear their legal strategies and you will be able to judge for yourself whether they sound like they are reputable or repulsive.
“DATE” YOUR LAWYERS
At your meetings, you will be able to ask questions like “what is your area of expertise” and “how much experience do you have with cases like mine,” in order to gauge their level of experience with your particular issue.
You can also ask questions such as “what is the main issue of my case” “what claims do I have,” to not only learn more about your case (which you should want to be involved in, to some extent), but also to hear how the lawyer reacts – if they hesitate, or are unable to provide answers, chances are this lawyer either does not have experience with your case type or is not competent in this subject area.
You should also ask who in the firm would be handling your case – sometimes, partners and other lawyers higher up in the firm meet with potential clients. Even if they are not directly involved, ask to meet the associate who will be doing most of the research, writing, and other heavy lifting for you.
YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM SHOULD BE HANDLED BY A CERTIFIED TRIAL ATTORNEY
The Board on Attorney Certification has raised the level of competence of attorneys in New Jersey in-order for to help you to make a well informed decision when seeking and selecting an attorney. Out of approximately 60,000 active New Jersey lawyers 1,550 currently hold Board certification as of December 2008. Only attorneys certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court are entitled to use the designation “Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney” on their letterhead, business cards, Yellow Pages listings or in their advertisements.
CONCLUSION - USE YOUR INFORMATION – AND YOUR GUT
Your best guide to finding the best New Jersey personal injury lawyer is your gut. If lawyers seem to make grandiose promises, cannot tell you a straight answer about your case (other than likelihood of success – which lawyers never, or should never bet on), or you do not get a good feeling when you visit their office (it is unorganized, they are rude, or you are confused), then you should follow your instincts. With all of the information that you collected, and with your intuition, you will be able to find the best personal injury lawyer in New Jersey to represent you.