You might consider enlisting the services of a qualified personal injury lawyer if you’re thinking of making a compensation claim. A personal injury lawyer will help you understand whether you’re eligible to make a claim, assist you in preparing your claim, and guide you throughout every step of the claims process.
While a personal injury lawyer can make the claims process straightforward, picking the right lawyer is a process in and of itself.
Obviously, at Gouldson, we feel we’re already the best injury lawyers to represent you. But, while we may be a little biased, we still know a thing or two about personal injury lawyers in general.
We’ll go over a few simple tips for finding you next lawyer, including what does and does not make a good lawyer, and why Gouldson might be an option worth seriously considering.
7 tips for finding a good injury lawyer
Here are 7 handy tips to finding a lawyer to assist with your claim:
Ask for a referral
Not sure where to begin? Ask for a referral.
This could be from somebody you work with or friends and family who have recently had a positive experience with a lawyer working in personal injury law.
Alternatively, if you have used a lawyer from a different area of law in the past, you should ask them for a recommendation for a personal injury lawyer.
Lawyers always keep a good network of contacts of lawyers in other areas of law, so if you had a good relationship with a property lawyer, they should be able to put you in touch with a good injury lawyer – a lawyer that they trust.
Spend a bit of time doing your own research online and comparing lawyers.
Lawyer directory websites are a great place start. Here, you can enter the details of your claim, where you live, and be shown qualified lawyers near you — the Queensland Law Society is a great example.
Other great resources include law review or award sites. Doyle’s Guide is a good example, ranking the top lawyers and law firms all over Australia. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Gouldson Legal, has been recognised as a leading Queensland Law Firm every year since 2014.
From there, you can check the reviews of the individual lawyer and their firm online. By seeing what past clients had to say about their experience, you can get a better feel for the reputation of the lawyer.
Checking Google reviews is a great place to start. Plus – you can quickly get an idea of the lawyer by checking their average rating. Gouldson, for example, has an average rating of 4.8 – so we must be doing something right.
Always check how the lawyer or firm in question structures their fees.
Understanding what you will pay for a lawyer’s service should not be difficult. If you are unclear about anything on your contract, ask the lawyer.
Any trustworthy and reputable lawyer will be more than happy to walk you through the fee structure and ensure you feel confident moving forward. Avoid any lawyer that makes this process more difficult than it needs to be or avoids your questions.
Also, check what percentage of your settlement sum the lawyer limits their professional fee at. For many personal injury lawyers in Queensland, this may be up to 50% of your total sum.
At Gouldson Legal, on the other hand, we cap our fees at 30% of the total sum. So, while we aren’t mathematicians, 30% does seem a lot lower than 50%…
Never trust guarantees
Do not trust any lawyer guaranteeing your case being successful or offering an exact compensation amount. The legal system is made up of many different moving pieces and, as such, it is impossible to specify a settlement sum for your case at the outset.
In addition, avoid lawyers promising the world and claiming things like “a 98% success rate”.
Ultimately, nothing is guaranteed in personal injury claims. Parties on both sides of the claim have the right to tell their side of the story, and ultimately all facts and circumstances are taken into account in arriving at an outcome, both in terms of success and an amount of damages.
While a good lawyer will be able to give you an estimate of what you could receive, there is simply no way to guarantee a specific amount.
Ask who will be handling the case
Ask the lawyer you’re speaking to who will actually be handling your case. Sometimes, the lawyer you speak to at the initial consultation may not be the lawyer who handles your case.
At Gouldson, your case will only be handled by one lawyer and his or her legal assistant. This means that you’ll only speak to the same two people about your case, no matter what.
Meet in person
Consider meeting the lawyer in person before engaging in your personal injury claim. Depending on your personality, meeting someone in person is the best way of gauging whether you will develop a rapport with them or not.
Also keep in mind that you may be dealing with your lawyer for a long time. Therefore, aim to pick someone you get along with (or at least don’t mind being around) before you make a claim.
At Gouldson, we believe strongly in personal face to face meetings with our client, in the office, at your home, or anywhere else that suits you.
In addition, be upfront and honest with your lawyer about any concerns or questions you have. Lawyers understand that the laws around personal injury are complex, and that most people rarely deal with lawyers – if at all.
Do not feel you need to alter your story to match your lawyer’s questions. If you feel uncomfortable telling the truth or get the feeling your lawyer wants you to answer in a specific way, consider looking elsewhere.
What should I avoid?
The above tips outline a few things to keep in mind when looking for a lawyer. There are, however, also things you should avoid in a lawyer.
If you notice some, or all, of the below red flags, you may be dealing with a bad injury lawyer.
- Non Responsive. Once you’ve made a first enquiry about a possible claim, your lawyer should be very quick to respond. Delays in responding to your first enquiry is an obvious red flag.
- Poor communicators. Your lawyer should regularly communicate updates about your case. If they do not, it may be a cause for concern. Your lawyer should always be easy to reach and open to your questions.
- Not confident. While your lawyer shouldn’t be cocky, you should get the impression that they are confident in handling your case. If your lawyer changes their position on certain topics or overcompensates (picture a used car salesman), you may be dealing with a bad lawyer.
- Disrespectful or unprofessional. Lawyers work their way up from the bottom; any disrespect your lawyer shows to you, their peers or anyone else, should be considered a red flag. Unprofessionalism, on the other hand, can range anywhere from showing up to meetings late to making important decisions without discussing it with you.
- Not compassionate. Despite the stereotypes, good lawyers actually care about their clients. If it seems like your lawyer couldn’t care less about your injuries or their impact on your life, you may want to look at other options.
Where can I find a good injury lawyer?
You’ve already found one!
Just kidding – we always recommend Queenslanders follow the above tips and do their own research when looking for a lawyer. Consider the tips we’ve given you today and get started looking for a personal injury lawyer.
If you do consider Gouldson though, just know that you’ll be backed by a lawyer that:
- Won’t charge you unless you win.
- Operates on a 30% fee cap – not 50% like most lawyers in Brisbane.
- Will take the time to get to know you and your case.
- Will support you at every step of the process, translating legal jargon into everyday English.
- Is supported by his/her own legal assistant, meaning you’ll only deal with these two people during your case.
How do I begin the claims process?
The first step of the claims process is to lodge an enquiry. While we cannot speak on behalf of other legal firms, we can tell you a thing or two about our free case review.
Get started by lodging a free case review with Gouldson. Once you complete your submission, one of our qualified lawyers will read over your case.
They’ll consider the specifics of your injury and situation and gauge whether you have grounds for making a compensation claim. From there, if you choose to do so, you and your lawyer will move forwards with the claims process.