How To Choose the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL

Your choice of lawyer could make or break your personal injury claim. The best lawyer for your case will establish a strong working relationship with you. They will have experience handling your type of claim and knowledge of personal injury law and insurance claim procedures.

But how will you find this lawyer? Most clients do not have any prior experience finding, interviewing, and hiring attorneys. Without guidance, they may need to change lawyers during their cases, leading to delays in resolving their claims.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

To understand the qualities you need in a lawyer, you first need to understand what the lawyer does in your case. Whether you get injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident, defective product, or other incident, your case is governed by tort law.

This field of law sets out the rules for actions between parties. These parties can be individuals, businesses, or even governments. When one party causes mental, physical, or reputational harm to another party, tort law determines whether the injured party receives compensation.

Torts fall into three categories:

  • Negligent torts
  • Intentional torts
  • Strict liability torts

A party who intentionally harms another bears liability for the injuries they caused. They may also face criminal charges. Suppose someone threw a beer bottle during an argument, injuring the victim. The person who threw the beer bottle might get arrested for criminal assault. They may also get sued for the intentional tort of battery.

Negligent torts cover most injury claims. To prove an intentional tort, you must prove that the at-fault party intended to perform the harmful action. In many cases, you simply cannot do that. But you can still pursue a negligence claim by showing the other party knew or should have known their actions failed to meet a reasonable standard of care.

This legal language means you can pursue a claim against someone whose failure to act with reasonable care caused your injury. You can often show this failure by pointing to what they could have done differently if they had been careful. For example, a store might negligently injure you by failing to mop up a spill in a reasonable time.

Strict liability torts apply to inherently dangerous activities like keeping wild animals or putting defective products into the stream of commerce.

Steps For Choosing the Best St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer For Your Case

You should approach your decision to hire a lawyer carefully and thoughtfully. The right lawyer will secure a full and fair outcome based on the facts of your case. Some steps you can follow in choosing a lawyer include:

Gather Names

You should gather as much information as possible about potential personal injury attorneys for your case. The right lawyer might not have the most billboards or the flashiest TV commercials. You may need to do some digging to gather a pool of candidates for your case.

One of the best resources for finding an attorney comes from referrals. Family members, friends, co-workers, or neighbors can suggest lawyers they know or used previously. Referrals give you insight into how lawyers deal with real cases for real clients. If someone strongly recommends a lawyer, you know they had a good working relationship and accomplished the desired outcome.

On the other hand, if someone strongly recommends against a lawyer, you also gain insight. While you might have a different experience than they had, you should consider their criticisms of the lawyer.

Another source of names comes from lawyers, judges, paralegals, and other legal professionals you know. They might not handle injury cases, but they might know someone who does. Again, these referrals carry weight because legal professionals know each others’ reputations in the legal community and can recommend someone you might not have otherwise found.

Research Lawyers

Once you have some names to work with, you should conduct some online research about them. You can start with their law firm webpage to read their biography and understand their accomplishments. The webpage might give you insight into the lawyer’s experience, knowledge, and skills. You can also weed out any lawyers who do not handle your type of case.

Another source of information is the Florida State Bar’s attorney discipline records. This online database can tell you whether the state bar has sanctioned a lawyer for unethical actions. With this information, you can decide whether to keep the lawyer on your shortlist or remove them from consideration.

Finally, you should use online reviews very carefully. Some clients blame their lawyers for unexpected or adverse outcomes and post negative reviews even though the lawyer did everything they could. Some adverse parties even post negative reviews to take revenge on the lawyer for the winning party.

Conduct Free Consultations

The most important tool for choosing a lawyer is the free consultation. Most injury lawyers offer a free consultation to new clients. During this consultation, you can discuss your case and what the lawyer can do to help you.

You should treat the initial consultation as a job interview for the privilege of representing you. This approach can help you focus on the qualities that will help you win or settle your case. 

Some issues to discuss include:

  • Contingency fee rate
  • The lawyer’s experiences with similar cases
  • Steps you can take to help your lawyer win or settle your claim

You can also measure intangibles like the rapport you have and your confidence in the lawyer’s communication skills.

Choose a Lawyer

You will use your experiences with free consultations to choose a lawyer for your case. You want a lawyer who shares your goals and wants to use the same strategy as you. You also need a lawyer who charges a fair fee and will respond to your calls and emails.

The most important factor is whether you can work with them. Your case could take a few months to a year or longer. You need someone who communicates clearly and follows your instructions.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida

To recap, you should gather as many names as possible, then winnow them down through research and initial consultations. Once you settle on a lawyer, you will hire them by signing a fee agreement. The lawyer can then get to work immediately, gathering records and fighting for a fair outcome of your case.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm – Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

Contact a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 933-0015