Trying to find a lawyer to represent you after you’ve suffered a personal injury can be a challenge. You already have to deal with physical pain, but now you have to face financial insecurity as well. And you’re about to go up against insurance companies with lawyers who are trained to look after their best interests. So, how do you go about finding the proper personal injury lawyer to represent you? Here are a few questions that you should ask.
Personal Injury Law is Your Specialization?
Lawyers are specialists, just like doctors, and they all have a few areas where they have more expertise than others. Before you work with a firm, you have to make sure that personal injury law is one of their fields of expertise. Anyone can advertise themselves as injury lawyers, but personal injury is one of these areas where experience is crucial. You need a lawyer who is used to dealing with insurance companies and who will be able to tell the difference between a good deal and a bad one. An experienced personal injury lawyer will work on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve.
They should also have some experience with your exact type of injury as well if you want better results. An experienced lawyer should be able to give you an accurate idea of what kind of compensation you can expect and how claims are quantified. Personal injury cases vary greatly and dealing with an attorney who actually has a track record of successfully winning these types of cases and understands the process thoroughly will significantly improve your chances of getting a good settlement.
How Many of Your Cases have Actually Gone to Trial? And how Many did You Win?
Personal injury claims are routinely settled without going to court and there are times when actually going to trial could be the wrong decision. But the lawyer you’re going to pick will have to have significant trial experience in case you have to go before a judge. You can’t go with a lawyer who’s reluctant to go to trial either if you both agree that what is being offered isn’t fair, you need a lawyer who won’t be afraid to aggressively pursue the case.
Try to find out how long solving cases takes them on average and try to know how fast they usually take cases to trial as well. You should also make sure that the lawyer you end up picking actually has time to spend on your case. You want someone who will be ready to give you their time, and lawyers that are too busy might try to rush through a case to achieve an early settlement, even if that is not in your best interests. So, try to choose a lawyer who doesn’t have too heavy a caseload. However, some firms have large enough teams to allow lawyers to take on more cases, so you should take this into consideration as well.
Also, be wary of lawyers who try to make it look too easy. It’s not uncommon for personal injury cases to take years until they’re settled, so if they tell you that everything will be settled in a few months, beware. If they can’t give you an honest answer, then chances are they don’t fully understand the personal injury trial process.
How Much Personal Attention will I get and How Often will We be Communicating?
One major red flag you should be looking for is if your lawyer sends an “investigator” to your first consultation. You have to be able to discuss your case face to face with your lawyer as much as possible. That doesn’t mean that you won’t occasionally have to work with other members of their team, but you should have decent access to them whenever you need their help.
You should also ask them if they are going to be the one actually taking your case to trial if it does. Not all lawyers in law firms are trial lawyers and others might do better with negotiating settlements out of court. Ideally, you want to work with a lawyer that can do both and will actually be representing you if needs be. So, make sure that you clarify this from the get-go.
Is it Possible to Get References from Previous Clients?
Like in any line of business, your lawyer should be ready to provide references from other satisfied clients. If they seem reluctant to do so, then this is another major red flag. Checking a few testimonials on their site is nice, but you have to ask them if you could talk with previous or current clients to see what their experience was like and how satisfied they were with the results.
Have You Ever Faced Disciplinary Action?
It’s very important that you find out if the lawyer you were thinking of hiring has either faced disciplinary action or been suspended in the past. And if they have been suspended for any reason, then you should start looking for another lawyer immediately.
What’s the Fee Structure?
Many people have a tendency to avoid legal services due to the costs related to hiring a lawyer. There are some lawyers who will ask for a retainer fee or work by the hour, however, most personal injury lawyers will have more lenient fee structures.
For instance, most personal injury lawyers will work on contingency. This means that they won’t be asking for a payment until you get your settlement. They will usually work out a percentage of your settlement as a fee. That also means that they will only take serious cases, so you have to make sure you have a solid case on your hands. If you’re looking for a personal injury law firm with flexible payment terms, click here to learn more.
Finding a good personal injury lawyer is possible, as long as you know what you should be looking for. Make sure that you ask these questions early to make sure that you’re going in the right direction.