How to find a good personal injury attorney Part 1

Bellingham offers many personal injury lawyers who can help injured accident victims work through the arduous insurance claims process. If you or a loved one is injured, you may be wondering how to find the best lawyer to help you. Please read below for some things to consider as you begin finding the right attorney. 

First off, it can be a challenge to find the right lawyer to hire. There are many personal injury attorneys in Bellingham who serve our city and Whatcom County. Some you'll find advertising on billboards, on television, or in the Cascadia Weekly. Some don't advertise at all, and may show up in a Google search. Some work in professional office buildings, others out of strip malls. 

Many personal injury attorneys specialize in certain kinds of scenarios. For example, some attorneys just focus on medical malpractice cases, or wrongful death. Others, like we do at Bill Coats Law, specialize in car accident cases. Though we also handle different scenarios, like worker's compensation or wrongful death, we are especially passionate about serving drunk and distracted driving victims.

Regardless, your personal injury attorney should ideally work only on personal injury cases. Not divorce or estate law in addition to personal injuries, for example. Personal injury law is highly complex and specialized, so it serves you best to work with someone who has focused on these types of cases and generated experience, skills, and results in this arena over time.

Finding a lawyer you can trust is paramount. You must have total confidence in your attorney so that you don't have to worry about their competence while you focus on recovering your health. 

An old fashioned, but tried and true approach is to ask your network. Friends and family may have already worked with a personal injury attorney and can talk to you about their experience and recommendations. Alternately, if you've worked with a different type of attorney before, i.e. an estate lawyer, ask who they would recommend. It's likely your attorney will know someone in tort law who has similar values and experience. If you've never worked with any type of lawyer before, you can still ask friends and family if they'll ask their lawyer, no matter their specialty, for a recommendation on your behalf. 

Consider looking at attorney ratings to further pare your list down. Ratings are an objective indicator of a lawyer's skill and reputation. There are several ratings services available, such as Avvo and Super Lawyer. You can also check if they've won cases that resulted in a million dollar settlement, which would show you that the lawyer has experience winning high stakes, complex cases. 

Make sure your lawyer is in good standing with their state's bar association. Though Washington's bar association doesn't have a referral list, it links a few resources for the public on this page. 

You'll likely find different attorneys' advertisements throughout this process. They are handy for learning about what types of cases the lawyer takes on, and contact information. However, don't choose your lawyer based solely on their ads.

Next I'll talk about what to do once you've narrowed your list down to a handful of favorites. 

You can find that link here: How to find a good personal injury attorney Part 2

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