Finding a Portland Personal Injury Lawyer doesn’t need to be hard.
These are some general rules to follow and things to think about when seeking a good personal injury attorney. Remember, though, that these
aren’t hard and fast rules-exceptions abound, and you’ll need to figure out what works best for you.
- Ask around. Getting a referral from someone you trust can be an excellent place to start when you’re looking for a lawyer. But remember that the lawyer who did a divorce or reviewed a real estate deal for a friend is probably not a personal injury specialist.
- Find an expert. Specialists beat generalists; that means you probably want a lawyer who specifically focuses on personal injury. It’s fine if the lawyer is also involved with other side projects-but you probably shouldn’t hire a lawyer who only does personal injury as a side project. Personal injury cases should be their specialty.
- Meet with all potential lawyers. Don’t sign anything until you’ve met and discussed your case with several possible attorneys. A good Portland personal injury attorney is someone you will trust and feel comfortable with, since you’ll need to tell your lawyer everything and be completely honest.
- Take a look at the Client Bill of Rights. Figure out which ones (if not all of them) are important to you, and make sure you only hire a lawyer who agrees to abide by them.
- Make sure your lawyer is willing to go to trial if you do not get a reasonable offer. Of course, the lawyer and the injured party may not always see eye-to-eye on what’s reasonable, but if the offer is objectively unreasonable, your lawyer must be willing to go to trial. Not all lawyers are willing to take the time to do so.
- Have your attorney explain all fees and costs up front. You don’t want any surprises, especially unexpected fees.
- Look for a lawyer who is a member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) and the American Association of Justice (AAJ, formerly ATLA). Membership in these organizations shows that your lawyer is proud of what he or she does, cares about justice, and is willing to put money and time towards the cause of justice in Oregon (OTLA) and the entire U.S.A. (AAJ). A serious lawyer should be a member of the Oregon State Bar, the Multnomah Bar Association, and at least a couple of other justice-related organizations as well. This shows that they are in the profession because they care about justice for all, and not just to make a buck.
- Find out about a lawyer’s caseload. If the “personal touch” is important to you, ask lawyers about how many cases they handle at a time. We prefer to spend more time on fewer cases, but that’s not true for all lawyers.
- Make sure your lawyer is interested in educating you. We believe in the power of education, which is why we offer our book, 7 Common Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Oregon Injury Case, to all injured Oregonians for free – even if we can’t take their case.
- Make sure your lawyer has adequate malpractice insurance. Every lawyer in Oregon is required to carry at least $300,000 in malpractice insurance. A careful lawyer will carry more than that. Do not be afraid to ask your lawyer how much malpractice insurance they have.
These are some general words of advice for hiring a Portland personal injury attorney, but remember that the best way to find an attorney that you’ll be satisfied with is to know what you’re looking for-that is, what your needs are, and what is important to you.