You were injured in an accident; you need a personal injury attorney. But how do you find one?

Once the unthinkable occurs, you may find yourself in the hospital in terrible pain. You may be unable to work and pay the bills. Anxiety and worry and a sense of urgency can cause you to make quick decisions. However, choosing a personal injury attorney requires some research. You want someone who will actively preserve your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve. Here are five tips to help you find the best personal injury attorney near you.

1. Don’t just choose the first name on a search engine.

The top searches are probably going to be paid ads. This isn’t always a bad thing, but you don’t necessarily want someone who paid money to have their name listed first.
Take a look at some websites and don’t be fooled by flashy graphics and bold claims. You want someone who can represent you with integrity and offer reliable results. Tread cautiously with boastful and unrealistic claims.

2. Ask around. Your friends and family may have recommendations.

Although everyone seems to have a lawyer joke, some of your acquaintances may know a few lawyers. Ask any local friends or family members if they have any recommendations. Your neighbors or church members may also have suggestions.

You want a law firm that has a respected reputation in your community. Take recommendations with a grain of salt, however, and do some research before committing. Be confident that the attorney you choose specializes in personal injury law and has the case record to prove it.

3. Look for experience.

An attorney that understands your particular situation can make all the difference. Ask any prospective attorneys about their experience. If they haven’t handled cases similar to your own, it might be best to keep looking. You cannot compromise. Choose an attorney that has the expertise to maximize the compensation you may potentially receive.

4. Expect honesty and integrity.

The first consultation is often free. You shouldn’t have to pay money to simply discuss your case. Be wary of law firms that require large payments before a case has been reviewed.

Many personal injury cases settle before trial. It is important to have an attorney that knows how to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement. You want someone who will fairly represent you, and not close your case quickly to cash out.

5. Personality is important.

You probably won’t become best friends with your attorney, but you should expect someone to be there for you, especially when you are injured and suffering.

You want someone who is going to professionally represent your interests. Finding someone that you feel comfortable with is important. Your needs should come first, and you want someone who will answer questions and support you during a difficult time.