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Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC
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How to Find a Good Personal Injury Attorney?

If you have been injured because of the negligent or intentional actions of another person or entity in Los Angeles, you may have the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties. While it is possible to file personal injury claims on your own, working with an experienced personal injury lawyer might make your chances of success much likelier.

People who retain personal injury attorneys often recover much more compensation than people who choose to represent themselves. However, it can be confusing to figure out how to find a good personal injury attorney. There are many attorneys who advertise their services, but not all of them will be the right lawyer for you. Here are some questions that you can ask so that you can find a good personal injury attorney for your case.

Has anyone you know recommended the attorney?

Getting recommendations from your friends and family members is a good idea. However, make sure that the lawyers that they recommend to you practice in the area of personal injury law. For example, if your cousin was happy with how her divorce attorney handled her case, that doesn't mean that her lawyer will be able to represent you in your personal injury matter. It is best to limit your list to attorneys who practice personal injury law.

Does the attorney focus on personal injury cases?

When you are considering a particular attorney, it is important for you to figure out whether he or she focuses on the area of personal injury law. You can peruse the practice areas that the lawyer has listed on his or her website or ask the lawyer whether or not he or she focuses on personal injury cases or if he or she has a more general practice. Choosing a lawyer who has experience handling cases that are similar to yours makes it likelier that your attorney will be familiar with the latest case decisions and other changes in the law that might impact your claim.

Has the lawyer taken cases to trial in the past?

There are many personal injury attorneys who never take cases to trial. Instead, they simply settle all of the claims that they handle as quickly as possible. Choosing a lawyer who never goes to trial may not be the best idea. When insurance companies know that a lawyer is willing to go to trial, they are likelier to make higher settlement offers so that they can avoid the costs of litigation and the possibility of verdicts against them. Ask the attorney who you are considering how many cases he or she has taken to trial and what his or her record is on them. It is also important for you to understand that the vast majority of claims are settled before trial. While your claim will likely reach a settlement, you still should find a lawyer who is willing to fight for you through trial if it is necessary.

What is the attorney's track record for past cases?

If you have extensive injuries, it is important for you to find a lawyer who will be able to obtain a large settlement or jury verdict so that you can be fully compensated for your losses. When you interview personal injury lawyers, ask them about their track record for settlements and verdicts. You can look at an attorney's website to see if he or she is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum or the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates' Forum. These are two exclusive professional organizations that limit their memberships to attorneys who have recovered settlements and verdicts for their clients that exceed seven or eight figures. If the attorney who you are considering is a member of one of these two organizations, his or her website will likely have a badge. You can also simply ask the attorney if he or she is a member of one of these organizations.

Is the attorney actively involved in state and national legal organizations?

Good personal injury attorneys often have memberships in state and national trial lawyers' organizations. When attorneys are members of these groups, their memberships allow them to learn from their peers about the latest trial techniques and legal changes that impact litigation. Trial lawyers can also learn about some of the new tactics that insurance companies might be using to try to avoid paying out settlements to injured victims. Keeping current with everything can help your attorney to improve his or her practice so that he or she can be an even better advocate for you.

Does the lawyer have published works, or has the attorney given presentations?

Attorneys who are highly knowledgeable about personal injury law might have published articles about the field or have been asked to give presentations about different personal injury law topics. Ask the lawyer if he or she has published any articles about personal injury law in the past or if he or she has given any lectures or presentations about it.

Will the lawyer provide you with references?

A good personal injury attorney should be willing to provide you with references from past clients if you ask. If the attorney has clients who are willing to speak to you about the good job that he or she did, that is a good sign that the attorney might similarly work hard for you. If you are provided with the names of past clients who are willing to talk to you, follow up with them. You can also look at reviews of the attorney that have been written by other people online about the experiences that they had.

Does the attorney have any disciplinary history?

Personal injury attorneys are subject to the ethical rules for attorneys and are regulated by the state. You are able to check online to see if an attorney who you are considering has any public disciplinary record on the website of the State Bar of California. Simply type in the lawyer's name with his or her last name first. If the lawyer has any disciplinary record, it will be displayed. While a past disciplinary action does not necessarily mean that you should avoid a lawyer, it is a good idea to ask an attorney who has received a disciplinary action to explain it to you.

How long has the lawyer been practicing law?

When you are choosing an attorney, you will want to find someone who is experienced. While it is true that there are many good attorneys who haven't been practicing for very long, you likely do not want to choose an attorney who is learning on your case. Ask the lawyers who you interview about how long they have practiced law and when they were first licensed. You might also ask the attorneys about how many cases they have handled and the percentage of cases that have been in your particular legal area.

Do you click with the attorney?

Personal injury cases can take a long time to resolve. When you choose a personal injury lawyer, you will likely be working with him or her for many months or a couple of years. It is important that you choose a lawyer with whom you click. Pay attention to the attorney's communication style and whether or not he or she listens closely to what you tell him or her.

Finding a good personal injury attorney to represent you is important. By taking the time to ask the right questions, you might find a lawyer who will work hard to recover the maximal amount of compensation. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat at (323) 944.0993.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
★★★★★
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
★★★★★
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
★★★★★
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
★★★★★
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.