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Hiring the right personal injury attorney takes time, effort and good thought.

Picking the right personal injury attorney is critical. Many attorneys advertise that they accept personal injury / wrongful death cases – but few really know what they are doing. Here’s how to know you found a good one…

1. Web Site: Check his/her web site. Though it is tempting to simply go through the phone book, a good attorney will have a strong web site, outlining his/her values, what he/she will do in cases like yours, and what you can expect.

2. Board Certification: Be sure that he/she is a Board Certified specialist. This is extremely important. All attorneys have passed the Alaska Bar Examination – before being allowed to practice law in Alaska. Very few have gone the extra step of being Board Certified. It’s a lot of work – and few are capable of passing the extra examinations necessary to be Board Certified. The Nation’s premiere Board Certification group is the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Also, note that some of the senior members of the Alaska Bar are very qualified, but are not Board Certified. Call and ask.

3. Experience: Ask about experience. Again, many attorneys advertise that they will accept personal injury cases, but few have actually resolved many of them. A solid personal injury attorney will expect – indeed hope – that you ask about his/her experience.

4. Insurance: Ask if he/she is insured. Any good attorney will carry “Errors and Omissions” insurance, just in case he/she makes a mistake in your case. Don’t hire an attorney who has no insurance. It’s too dangerous.

5. Meet Eye-To-Eye: Meet the attorney eye-to-eye. Remember, a qualified personal injury attorney doesn’t need you. And, you don’t need him/her. A good personal injury attorney will explain to you that the attorney/client relationship is a “want” and a “like” relationship – not a “need” relationship. Never sign an attorney/client agreement on your first meeting – in front of the attorney. Instead, always wait for the attorney to suggest that you take the agreement home, read it carefully, and phone with questions. It’s far smarter – and puts you under less pressure.

6. Like and Respect: Only work with an attorney who you like and respect. Talk to friends and neighbors. Talk to other attorneys. It is no mystery in Fairbanks, Alaska who are the best attorneys for injury, death and automobile wreck cases. There are about four of us who do this type of work. Some of us take it seriously. Ask around. Call if you have any questions.

Finally, realize that a good attorney will give you good news … and bad news. Hire an attorney with the guts to look you in the eye and tell you when things go right, and wrong in your case. Believe me, things always go wrong at some point in every case. You want to know the truth. Hire an attorney who is blunt, honest and will look you in the eye. You have to be confident that he/she will be looking out for your best interests at all times, even when you are not in the room.

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