Finding a personal injury lawyer may not always be easy, but these tips may point people in the right direction.

Whether people are driving to a job in the Chicago area, shopping at a mall or are just using a commercial product, they can become injured due to the actions of another party. A drunk driver, a store owner who failed to warn of a slippery surface or a company that sold a faulty design could be found responsible for the victim's medical bills, lost wages and other damages. However, without the right lawyer, injured victims may have a hard time obtaining the compensation the law entitles them to. Choosing a lawyer is often easier said than done though, because there are so many out there.

1. Look at past experience

Injured victims should search for a lawyer who has dealt with a situation similar to theirs in the past. According to Forbes, county and state bar associations often have a referral service that can help connect clients with lawyers who have experience with different types of personal injury, such as product liability, malpractice, libel, auto collisions, wrongful death, negligence and premises liability. Reviewing a lawyer's past experience may help people eliminate under qualified candidates.

2. Go to an initial meeting

While hiring someone based on their background and experience is advisable, it may not always be enough. It is also important the client and lawyer are able to work together throughout the proceedings. Forbes states that taking consultation meetings with more than one attorney can help people make a smarter selection. If this vital step is skipped, the client may sign a contract with a lawyer whose personality is jarring. This may seem like a minor issue, but it could lead to a loss of both time and money. The initial meeting is the perfect time for people to get acquainted with the attorney and staff.

3. Ask the right questions

In order to best assess a lawyer's competence, the Illinois State Bar Association suggests that people should ask each lawyer questions about how the case would be handled in that particular firm. These questions include the following:

  • What fees does this firm charge its clients and what payment plans are offered?
  • What type of cases does the firm typically handle?
  • Based on past experience, how might this case end?
  • In the past, how long have cases like this taken to resolve?

The way the different lawyers answer these and other questions should give people a better idea of who would be able to represent them well.

4. Do follow-up research

Even after the initial meeting, it is important that people continue their research of all attorneys they contact before the final decision is made. According to the Supreme Court of Illinois, there are a lot of resources available for public use. Some of these resources highlight the history of individual attorneys, opinions concerning various lawyers and the professional responsibility an attorney has for a client. This type of information could prove essential to hiring an experienced and caring lawyer.

People in Illinois need to make smart decisions when it comes to their legal representation. Working with a knowledgeable attorney may make getting compensation easier.