How To Find an Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer
(5 Easy Steps)
This is an article by Modoline Altenor, your personal injury attorney serving all of greater Orlando.
You’ve been injured, and you’re not sure what to do next.
You’ve been told to seek legal counsel,
but you don’t know where to start.
Does this sound familiar?
If so, you are not alone. People are (sometimes justifiably) apprehensive around lawyers. Derogatory terms like ambulance chaser and vulture get thrown about when it comes to lawyers. But really, at the end of the day, you need to find an Orlando personal injury lawyer who is fighting for you.
It is the age-old story of the underdog. When people find themselves wondering, “What is personal injury?” or debating whether or not they need personal injury protection, or even whether they deserve compensation for an injury, they turn to a lawyer. That lawyer agrees to try their case, and takes the fight to the person or entity responsible for the injury. The daily mission of this Orlando personal injury lawyer is to make sure our clients are never left at a disadvantage or misrepresented in their claim.
While that’s all well and good, the question does remain:
Where do you start?
My name is Modoline Altenor and I know that choosing a personal injury lawyer is a daunting task. Whether you’ve been in a car accident or suffered some other mishap, you want to know that the person you’ve chosen to help you knows what they’re doing.
So how do you separate the experienced, talented Orlando personal injury lawyers
from those without the skills needed to get you every penny you deserve?
It takes a lot more than a personal injury law degree and a website, that is for certain.
In this article, we are going to go over five tips and tricks that will help. They are a combination of advice and lessons learned over hundreds of cases. Our hope is that they will help you choose the best possible lawyer for your personal injury claim – even if that lawyer is not us.
Here is how we believe you should research, locate, vet, and finally hire an Orlando personal injury lawyer:
1. Personal Injury lawyer Orlando – Start with word of mouth.
Most lawyers (ourselves included) are excellent with words. Most lawyers are expert at representing themselves well. It is a basic requirement of the job that we be personable and articulate.
Personal injury lawyers are among the most public lawyers, as well. They’re the most commonly seen lawyers on television ads, online ads, and billboards. Worse, while there is regulation in place; there is nothing to prevent a lawyer from presenting their practice as better or more experienced than it is.
One of the best ways to ensure you aren’t taken in is to speak to friends and family, neighbors, local officials, and other trustworthy individuals in your life. Seek their advice before seeking a lawyer’s counsel. They may have already been through a personal injury case.
If they had a positive experience, it will certainly bode well for you.
If you don’t have any close friends or relatives to turn to, consider speaking to a central figure in your community. This could be a pastor, a councilperson, a medical professional, an accountant, or something else. Pillars of the community are more likely to have heard the good, the bad and the ugly about local lawyers.
At the Altenor Law Firm, we pride ourselves on our relationship with the Orlando community. You can ask around about us – we have nothing to hide, and a great deal in which to take pride.
When you’ve got some names, we recommend a phone call before taking any next steps. Sure, you can submit cases online to a lot of lawyers, but that’s not your best foot forward. A lot can be taken out of context online. Speaking to a person engages your instincts.
When it comes to choosing a lawyer, instincts matter.
2. Ask About Personal Injury Case Fees … Up Front
In any financial transaction, it is important to remain transparent at all times. That definitely applies to your lawyer. You should always get your fee agreement in writing. Personal injury lawyers often work on speculation, commission, or contingency.
Those words all mean the same thing, of course:
We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
At that point, it is standard for a personal injury attorney to take an agreed-upon percentage of the eventual settlement, plus office expenses and the like. However, you should never allow your attorney to gloss over precisely what that means.
You might hear a phrase like “no fee if no recovery,” but it is important to clarify with your attorney, as some lawyers still charge fixed fees, whether or not they win your case.
3. Research Your Orlando Personal Injury Attorney Online
The Internet is an enormous help when it comes to finding a lawyer. Phone books are completely obsolete, and word-of-mouth only applies if you know someone with a useful contact. For most people, the search begins with a Google search for “personal injury lawyer Orlando” or a similar geographically oriented keyword.
This is good news for you.
You can, with minimal effort, make certain that your lawyer is licensed and in good standing with the state bar association. Every state has a database of registered attorneys. That means you can check a potential lawyer’s bar status and see whether or not they’ve been sanctioned or disciplined in any way. This is a link to the Florida Bar…
Also, when you do progress to a phone call, don’t be afraid to use your online research in conversation. A pointed question or two against a lawyer you’re not sure of is good for several reasons:
It puts them on the spot and lets you know how they react in pressured situations.
It can prove instantly whether or not they’re honest.
You’ll learn more about whether you like them.
That last one is important, by the way. You’ll be working very closely with your lawyer anytime you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit.
Don’t let statistics make the final decision, either. Verdict count and success rate are indicators of an attorney’s skill, but they’re not the only factors in play.
4. Trust Your Instincts When Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer
At the end of the day, the deciding factor should probably be simple.
Do you believe that this attorney honestly cares about you?
When you’re speaking to a potential lawyer after an auto accident or medical malpractice, you should be thinking about this. It matters, quite a lot. There are absolutely attorneys who care more about the value and potential damages in the case than they do about the benefit to their client.
How can you tell if your lawyer cares?
They will be honest with you. A lawyer who wants the best for you will be clear about the weaker aspects of your case up front. If they’re playing up the strengths and offering optimistic half-guarantees of high damages, they might be thinking more about the win than they are about your well-being.
Trust your instincts. If you develop a negative feeling, move on in your search. In fact, even if you’ve already hired a lawyer, you should feel perfectly free to fire them and seek better representation if you don’t believe they care about you.
5. Interview Your Personal Injury Lawyer – NOT the Other Way Around
Find out how much experience and training your Orlando personal injury attorney has had before you let them take your case.
Do you believe that this attorney honestly cares about you?
How long have you been practicing law?
How many cases like mine have you handled in the past?
Do you have any potential conflicts of interest? (This sometimes happens in medical malpractice cases if a lawyer has previously represented the hospital or doctor who will be the defendant in your case.)
Have you ever been accused of misconduct?
What is my role in preparing this case?
How you handle client-attorney communication?
It is also imperative that you find out who will be handling your case. Everyone has seen the commercials on television from self-styled “accident lawyers” and the like, promising that they’ll fight for you and get you the money you deserve.
In many cases, those men and women never try cases at all, and farm all incoming cases out to associates at their firm. If you call and speak to a lawyer, and it is determined that an associate will be handling your case, make sure that you speak to that associate before deciding.
Essentially, you should speak to your lawyer, not just a representative of their firm. By that same token, you should consider it a red flag if communication is regularly filtered through secretaries, assistants, or paralegals.
A lawyer who hasn’t got a few minutes to speak to a client
doesn’t deserve your business.
Altenor Law Firm has represented thousands of Floridians who have been wrongfully injured. As an Orlando personal injury lawyer, we have handled claims ranging from automotive accidents to medical malpractice, slip and fall, defamation, workplace accidents, and a great deal more.
If you find yourself in need of a lawyer who is driven, compassionate, and tenacious, contact us today. The Law Offices of Modoline Altenor have recovered millions in settlements for injured persons – but our reputation in the Orlando metropolitan area is twofold:
We don’t just win. We also care.
Call me, Modoline Altenor if you have questions or would like to sit down and discuss your case one-on-one at no charge.
And remember, Get Paid or I’m Free! 407-442-4444