Well yeah, right? Of course you want an attorney with trial experience. But when it comes to personal injury attorneys, trial experience isn't everything, especially when it's the wrong kind of experience.
There are a lot of reasons to hire a lawyer, and trial experience can be one of them. So find out how to assess that experience before hiring your personal injury attorney.
Trial Experience Cons
When considering a potential injury lawyer's trial experience, you want to make sure it's the right kind of experience. That means your lawyer has experience trying the kind of injury cases you may have. There are all kinds of personal injury cases, from car accidents to slip and falls, and from product liability to fraud or economic injuries. Some cases may involve intentional torts like assault, workplace accidents necessitating workers' compensation claims, or even wrongful death actions. Each can require a very specific skill set and knowledge of that area of law. Just because an attorney was successful handling a few fender benders does not mean she'd be great at a massive class action.
Also, was the attorney successful at trial? A long track record of losing cases isn't great. And while verdicts in court can't really be equated to a sports team's wins and losses, you probably want your attorney coming out on top more often than not.
Trial Experience Pros
So you want an attorney with extensive experience in your area of injury law, and preferably positive experience as well. But if your lawyer doesn't have a ton of trial experience, that's not necessarily a bad thing. It could be because she is a master negotiator, and gets great deals for her clients without needed to go to trial. Knowing how to negotiate a settlement is a key factor for hiring an injury lawyer, and one you should consider on par with trial experience.
Additionally, even if an attorney hasn't gone to trial often or tried many cases all the way to a verdict, that doesn't mean she is unfamiliar with the litigation process, as well as the filings and timing necessary to bring a successful injury claim. And pre-trial experience can be equally as valuable as time spent in court.
You're going to be asking any potential personal injury attorney a lot of questions, and you should definitely inquire as to his trial experience. Just know that his answer might not be the only determining factor in whether to hire the attorney or not.