Finding an Accident and Injury Lawyer



If you decide to hire a personal injury attorney, it is essential that you find an attorney you can trust. You should also be sure that he or she has experience.

In today’s media driven world, there are many law firms advertising on television that can capture your attention. Does the advertising make them the best attorney for your case? Almost always the answer is NO.

If you cannot find the right lawyer through the recommendation of a friend or family member, check with your local Bar Association to find out if the lawyer you are considering has a good reputation. Look for a Board certification in the area of law that meets your needs.

Even if a lawyer you find cannot represent you, he may be able to refer you to someone who can. Note that it is illegal for lawyers to pay referral fees to non-lawyers. This is to discourage "ambulance chasing." If you insist on receiving such a fee, you will alienate your attorney, assuming he practices law ethically. If he offers you a fee for sending him cases, find a new lawyer.

The worst way to pick a lawyer is by the recommendation of someone you first meet at the accident scene. The Florida Bar Association has strict rules against these “ambulance chasers”.

Another questionable way to find an attorney is through an advertisement. Although almost all Attorneys need to advertise in today’s world in order to be found, you should still interview several and then investigate the credentials of those you like. Your state or city bar association maintains disciplinary files, which can help you to steer clear of unethical practitioners. These files are not always open to the public.

Personal Injury lawyers almost never charge for the initial consultation. You can interview as many as you like before you sign a fee agreement. However, it is a bad idea to wait too long before selecting one. A prompt investigation by your lawyer may be crucial to your case. So if you’re comfortable with the first lawyer you meet, you can sign a fee agreement and let him begin the investigation. If you sign a fee agreement but then change your mind, you can still fire the first lawyer and hire a new one. The first lawyer is required to turn your file over to the new lawyer. The lawyers will divide one attorney’s fee. You should not have to pay extra for changing lawyers.

Treat your selection of a personal injury lawyer the way you would any matter of importance in your life. Your choice of a lawyer may make the difference between years of uncertainty and stress, and a rapid, successful and not unpleasant experience.


Michael E. Seelie, PA has represented people in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding communities of Orange Park, St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs, Callahan, Palatka, Fernandina Beach, Gainesville, and Lake City in accident cases since 1978.