What to Look For When Hiring an Attorney For a Personal Injury Case
Adam had texted his lawyer days ago, and still no reply!
The average text response time is 90 seconds, and that’s just for everyday communications. Adam’s text message was an urgent inquiry about his injury lawsuit.
The medical bills were racking up, and he desperately wanted to know what was going on! Every minute he waited to hear back from his lawyer, felt like an eternity.
If you don’t want to work with an attorney that ignores you, then you have to be picky during the hiring process. What type of questions should you ask when hiring an attorney, and what are good personality traits? Read on to find out!
Stellar Personality and Patience
First, when it comes to hiring an attorney, you should always meet with them in person. While talking to a law firm over the phone is a great way to assess the details of your case, it’s not the best way to determine an attorney’s demeanor. Hopefully, your case will be an easy one that resolved within a matter of weeks or months.
However, there’s always the chance that complications will arise, causing your injury lawsuit to draw out. Since you could be potentially working with your attorney for a long period, they need to be somebody you’re comfortable being around. For instance, do they actively listen to you when you talk, or do they cut you off mid-sentence?
Attorneys who are rushed into overworked, might not take the time that’s necessary to help their clients feel at ease. Instead, their sole focus is on getting things done as quickly as possible. Of course, you want things to go by quickly so you can get your settlement awards sooner than later. However, you don’t want speed at the cost of efficiency.
When you’re meeting with the lawyer in person, check to see that they’re not rushing through your consultation. After you give them the details of your case, notice if they start asking questions about things you’ve already told them. If the attorney doesn’t seem to be listening, you should take your business elsewhere.
Is this your first personal injury claim? You should feel comfortable asking for more information about the legal process. Your attorney should thoroughly explain what steps lay ahead of you, and how you can prepare for what’s to come.
After finding an attorney who has a personality that you get along with, the next step is to find out their case history. You’ll want your attorney to have specific experience handling personal injury lawsuits. It’s even better if the attorney has handled cases that have details similar to yours such as a personal injury lawyer.
For instance, if you were in a multiple vehicle car accident, you’ll want an attorney with experience handling that type of case. Finding a case-specific lawyer becomes even more important when a fatality is involved. If you’re suing for emotional distress or opening up a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to seek out punitive damages.
Unlike economic damages that help you pay for monetary things, such as medical bills, punitive damages are all about justice. If your attorney doesn’t have experience seeking punitive damages or suing for emotional distress, they won’t present your case as strongly as they could.
Whereas an attorney who is well versed in handling wrongful death lawsuits will know how to present your case to the court in a compelling way. After finding out if the attorney has experienced handling cases similar to yours, find out what the outcomes of those cases were.
It’s okay if the attorney doesn’t have an all-win record, since some cases aren’t winnable. However, if the lawyer you’re considering using doesn’t have any wins, they probably aren’t somebody you should be working with.
Case Outcome Predictions
Next, ask the attorney what they think the likelihood is that you’ll win your case. What are the strengths, and weaknesses of the case? Is there any evidence you could gather that would help make your case stronger than it is now?
These are all questions you should get out there before you decide whether or not to move forward with a lawsuit. In most cases, personal injury attorneys can help clients settle outside of the courtroom.
However, there are situations where going to court can help. If your case needs to go to trial, would your lawyer be willing to accompany you? It might seem like a no-brainer, but not every personal injury attorney is willing to go through a trial.
Trials are expensive and time-consuming, so a lot of lawyers prefer fast, out-of-court settlements. Make sure that the attorney you’re hiring will take your case to trial if it’s for your best benefit.
Transparent Fee Structure
Last on our list of tips for hiring a lawyer, you’ll need a law firm that’s open and honest about its fee structure. Find out if the lawyer will be billing you by the hour or if they’ll offer a flat rate. Next, be sure to find out what your potential settlement award is to decide if hiring a lawyer is worth your time.
If there are any injuries, chances are securing legal counsel will be in your best interest. Next, find out if the law firm offers contingency payment plans. A contingency payment plan is the percentage-based fee structure. The personal injury attorney will receive a pre-agreed percentage of your settlement award.
If you don’t win your case, then you don’t have to pay the attorney the percentage rate. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have any type of legal bill. Even when you set up a contingency payment plan, the law office may still have some type of flat rate legal fee that you’ll owe if the case is unsuccessful. Find out all the specifics about the fee structure, and get it in writing.
Hiring an Attorney You Trust
Congratulations! You’re well on your way to hiring an attorney you trust to handle your case. Since meeting in person is such an important step, go ahead and set up a consultation today. Consultations are usually free, and they’re a great chance for you to assess whether or not you should move forward with your case.
If you have a strong case that’s worth pursuing, hold out until you find a likable and experienced attorney to work with. For more tips, explore the rest of this website.