There are few more stressful times in life than the immediate aftermath of an accident where you have been seriously injured. It can be a challenge to manage the pain and injuries you have received while also trying to make sure you receive the best medical care possible. And, unfortunately, all too often the insurance adjuster for the person or persons responsible for causing your injuries is out to limit your chances to ever receive a just and fair recovery.
It is during this already stressful time that you are faced with the most important decision: which attorney to hire. A simple Google search makes it clear there is no shortage of attorney options and while it is important that you hire an attorney as soon as possible after an accident, it is also important to hire the right attorney for you. No matter the specifics of your situation, there are 4 questions you should ask before making the decision to hire a particular attorney.
Question 1: What is the Attorney’s Actual Experience with Cases Like Yours?
Every case is unique. However, it is beneficial to hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced in cases similar to yours. While an attorney may boast of 30 plus years of experience, that doesn’t do you much good if 28 of those years were spent handling bankruptcy cases. Similarly, how beneficial is it to you if the attorney who is promoting having settled over 500 cases has only dealt with car accidents and your case is a premise liability case? The fact is only you can decide which attorney is the best fit for you, but you are entitled to know the attorney’s experience handling cases similar to your case.
Question 2: What Type of Communication Should You Expect Between You and Your Attorney?
Every law firm is different. Some law firms have virtually all of the communication with clients go through legal assistants and other non-attorneys. Sometimes this even begins at the initial consult. Maybe this is OK with you, but if you are someone who wants to speak directly with the attorney then you should know before you sign with that firm. Other attorneys will only allow calls directly to their office after their staff has screened them. Yet other firms, like ours, will provide you with direct access to the attorney via email, messaging, and cell phone. Again, you have the right to know what to expect before you retain the attorney.
Question 3: How Much will the Attorney Fees be?
Most clients will agree that this is an important one, yet many clients fail to ask for specifics about how the attorney will get paid from any settlement. While virtually all personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, it is important to know more than just what the percentage of the fee will be. For example, your attorney is always going to get the agreed-upon percentage on any recovery for your actual bodily injuries. But do they also collect the same percentage for any property damage recovery, such as the damage to your vehicle in a car accident? If you have PIP (personal injury protection) do they take the same percentage for that recovery? These are questions you have the right to know upfront, not after the attorney fees are assessed on your settlement.
Question 4: What are the Reasonable Expectations for your Case?
Too many clients hire an attorney and then go home and realize they know very little about what the next step in their case will likely be. As the client, you should always know where you are in the process and what the next step the attorney intends to take in your case. And while there are no guarantees in any personal injury case, you are entitled to know what the attorney’s reasonable expectations are. Is your case a million-dollar case or is it more like a $10,000.00 case? Do cases like yours normally settle or should you anticipate going to trial? Does a case like yours typically resolve itself in 6 months or should you expect a multi-year litigation process?
Remember you are the person who was injured and it is your case. Now you just need to find the attorney and law firm that is the best fit for you and your case.
Have further questions? Do not hesitate to CONTACT US.