This is truly up to you. You need to have confidence that the personal injury attorney you hire is not merely competent, but is empathetic and sympathetic to your situation and needs and is also knowledgeable, skilled and aggressive enough to fight for you, etc.
You may get a good vibe that the first attorney you speak with and/or meet will have all of these qualities and abilities. You may have researched that attorney and/or firm before speaking and/or meeting with the attorney.
They may have already been recommended by a friend or colleague. Under these circumstances, you may be absolutely justified in retaining that attorney without speaking to any other attorney.
On the other hand, you should never feel pressured into signing with the first attorney you meet. When I have a potential client that tells me they are attorney shopping and/or want to meet with another attorney before deciding who to hire, I encourage them to do what feels right for them.
I suggest some things they want to keep in mind when comparing attorneys. I’ve touched on these things before, but they deserve repeating:
How experienced is the attorney you are considering?
How experienced is their support staff?
Is the firm you’re considering an assembly line, with a different person handling every aspect of your claim?
Will the firm handle every aspect of your case? Some firms do not assist with property damage, while other firms do not litigate their own cases.
Does the fee change dependent of the type of case or whether it is litigated? Some attorneys charge discount fees if they can settle your case without litigation but then jack up the fee dramatically if your case requires litigation. Other attorneys charge larger fees for non-auto accident cases, such as premises liability or products liability cases.
What is the attorney’s policy in terms of his/her fees as compared to your potential in-pocket recovery at the end of the case after attorney fees, costs, and medical bills? Many attorneys will take a full fee even if the eventual recovery was capped by inadequate insurance coverage or due to other circumstances which leave the client with far less than the attorney’s fees. Other attorneys will reduce their fee so that their fee does not exceed the client’s in-pocket recovery if the case resolves without litigation.
Does the injury attorney estimate the probable length of your treatment, amount of your medical bills, or probable settlement amount during that initial meeting?
Every person and every case is different, so unless that attorney has a crystal ball or mystical powers, any such suggestions made at your initial meeting is designed to get you to sign on the dotted line.
While I encourage the prospective client to educate themselves and do what they need to do to be comfortable with their decision, I will also advise them if, given the facts of their case, any delays in making a decision could potentially adversely affect their case.
For example, there may be a case where it is critical to make every effort to preserve possible evidence as soon as possible, such as surveillance footage, products, witnesses, etc.
I have found that, more often than not, when I educate the potential client as to what they should consider in hiring an attorney, they usually decide that I have the qualities they are looking for and they retain me at that initial meeting.
Of those that still elect to attorney shop before making a decision, many come back to me after having met with one or more other attorneys.
Remember, the choice is yours! The right Personal Injury Lawyer WILL make all the difference in your case.