Between mainstay Cellino & Barnes, plucky William Mattar and upstart Connors & Ferris… there’s certainly no shortage of Buffalo legal options in case of personal injury.  While their ads are…

Personal Injury Lawyers

Between mainstay Cellino & Barnes, plucky William Mattar and upstart Connors & Ferris… there’s certainly no shortage of Buffalo legal options in case of personal injury.  While their ads are ubiquitous and impossible to ignore, there are a few things you should know before picking up the phone and dialing 8, or 4 or whatever.

1 – Initial consultations are usually free

Many people don’t call a lawyer because they believe it will cost too much. A good lawyer will be willing to discuss the basic facts of your case and tell you whether he believes you have a case, for free.

2 – Experience matters

Most good lawyers limit their practice to one or two kinds of law. If you are hiring a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case, make sure that lawyer has experience in personal injury cases.

3 – Beware of ambulance chasers

Ambulance chasing is illegal in most States for good reason. If you were in an accident and get a call, letter or mailing from a lawyer right afterward, beware. Check with friends and family about a lawyer before you hire any lawyer.

4 – You don’t always have to file a lawsuit

While most cases settle without going to trial, some cases do not even need a lawsuit to be settled. A lawyer can sometimes get the important information to the insurance company for the defendant and settle the case without the need to file a lawsuit. This is often faster and less expensive.

5 – Know the Fee

If you hire a lawyer, he has to be paid for his time. Almost all personal injury lawyers work on a “contingency fee.” That means the lawyer gets no fee for his work until you get paid. This kind of a fee allows you to hire a great lawyer without having to pay that lawyer upfront. Be sure you understand the fee before you hire a lawyer.

6 – Expenses are not included

While the fee is often stated as a percentage of your settlement, that fee only pays for the lawyer’s time. When a lawyer has to pay someone else for work on your case, he pays what are called “expenses.” Most lawyers pay the expenses for you and then bill you for the expenses at the end of the case. Ask about expenses before you sign the contract.

7 – You may have to pay back your insurance companies

The number one misunderstanding clients have in personal injury cases is insurance. If you have health insurance, you may have to pay them back for bills the health insurance company paid. Good lawyers will work with you and your insurance companies to make sure you get the most possible from your settlement.

8 – Cases take time

Every case takes a lot of time to complete. When you hire a lawyer, ask how long he thinks the case will take. Good lawyers will be able to give you a realistic estimate. Beware of promises for quick settlements or fast cash. They are almost always untrue.

9 – There are no guarantees

If a lawyer guarantees you a result, don’t walk away, run! A good lawyer will give you an honest opinion of what he thinks of your case.


  1. It is very important to do your research before you choose an attorney. My brother was injured badly in an accident a couple of years ago. He lost a ton of money. With no health insurance, he was nearly bankrupt. He made sure that did his research before hiring his attorney to help him get his money back. After all, he didn’t want to waste money on a terrible attorney. He was already broke.

  2. Randall, this was really helpful information you provided about personal injury lawyers. I like that you included that cases take time. It seems obvious, but it is something a lot of people don’ think about. In this age of internet and cell phones, people are used to instant gratification. That is not something they are going to get when filing a personal injury case. I will have to show this to my sister. She was recently injured in a car accident and has been thinking of taking the incident to court. She may want to know this information before she makes any decisions.
    Emily Smith |

  3. Great tip about watching out for ambulance chasers! My sister-in-law was recently involved in a car accident, and it wasn’t even until a lawyer approached her that she even considered filing a lawsuit! Although I think it might be beneficial for her to hire a personal injury lawyer, I will have to let her know not to hire the one(s) that contacted her!

  4. I know that it’s important to hire a good lawyer for cases like this. I think a lot of people are unsure of ways to get in contact with these lawyers though. I liked the point you made about initial consultations being free. If more people knew that they could meet with lawyers for a lower price, it would help immensely in getting people the help that they really need for themselves.

  5. These nine things are definitely great to know when someone would be in need of hiring a personal injury attorney. Working at a law firm as part of an internship program has given me a broader view of just what personal injury attorneys go through. They so much in their hands but yet they handle it quite well.

  6. I can see lots of people disagreeing with some of these points. Sometimes the most eager personal injury attorneys are the most effective. That kind of enthusiasm can do a lot to help people get what they deserve. After all, court cases aren’t won in the courtroom, they’re won in the office after hours and hours of research and preparation.

  7. Thank you for the things to know before I higher a personal injury attorney. I really like the tip to find those who offer free consultations. It is really good to meet the lawyer in person and ask him or her specific questions. Then you will be able to gauge if he or she will be a good lawyer.

  8. Thank you for this information. My brother was recently injured in a car accident and he wants to hire a personal injury lawyer. I’m trying to help him research what to look for in a lawyer and this article was very helpful. I absolutely agree that experience matters. If you are going to hire a lawyer, you want one that knows what they are doing.
    Walter Kowalski |

  9. I agree that experience matters a lot when it comes to attorneys. It is worth spending some time making sure the attorney you hire has a lot of experience in the subject you are hiring them for. It can make all the difference in whether or not  your case is successful. That is something to keep in mind.

  10. I would say that most of these facts apply anywhere, not just in Buffalo! I love what you said about avoiding lawyers that guarantee a certain result. If an attorney is honorable, they’ll accept the fact that they may not be successful. When you’re dealing with a personal injury, you’re going to want the most honorable law firm possible. I also really like what you said about knowing the expenses. It sounds simple, but a lot of people forget to get a good idea of what they’ll have to end up paying. Thank goodness there are so many good personal injury attorneys to choose from out there! Thanks for the article, Randall!

  11. You gave a really good set of tips for finding the right personal injury attorney. While lawyers do their best to give quality estimates of what to expect from the case, there are always extra expenses that come up from unforeseen problems in the case. It is best to plan to have around 10% of the cost of the case as extra money that can be used if needed.

  12. Christopher, these are some really great tips about personal injury lawyer. I liked your tip about the cases taking time. It can be really frustrating when something takes a long time. So it a good idea to know that it could take a while for the proceeding to be completed.

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