How Do I Know If A Lawyer Is Right For Me?Request Free Consultation
One of the comments I get from client’s often are that they want to make sure that our firm is the right fit for them. While I have the same concern, and there are some clients who are difficult, for the most part there are ways to determine if the attorney and their firm are the right fit for your personal injury case.
Meet With Your Attorney
Personal Injury attorneys universally do not charge for initial consultations. So, while the “free consultation” might seem nice, it is not a luxury, it is the norm for personal injury consultations. This is because personal injury attorneys only are paid if they settle or win your case.
Your free consultation should be face to face. While I still prefer meeting with clients in person, your face to face can be remotely with today’s technological advances. This initial consultation should allow you to gather enough information to become acquainted with your personal injury lawyer and inform you before you decide to hire him or her. When clients are familiar with attorneys, initial consultations can go smoothly, but many clients are nervous to meet with an attorney, especially when it is their first interaction with an attorney, and especially an injury attorney.
You should not feel nervous, pressured, or intimidated during your initial consultation. If you do, it is probably a good sign that the lawyer and you are not a good fit, and you should explore alternatives. Additionally, there are some valuable questions you should ask your personal injury lawyer before you make the final hiring decision.
What Questions Should I Ask My Personal Injury Lawyer?
Your first question should be about the lawyer’s expertise in personal injury cases. How long has the lawyer been practicing personal injury law? What kind of personal injury case does the lawyer handle most often? Does the lawyer do other areas of law. While the answers to these questions may vary, you should feel comfortable with the lawyers’ responses that they are experienced in this area of law, that they handle your particular type of injury case, and that other areas of law they handle do not impede their time working on your case.
Who Will Work on My Personal Injury Case?
Your next question should be to inquire about who at the firm will be working on your case. For example, at We Win Injury Law we employ an office manager to be a go between with the attorneys and staff, a bills and record specialist to make sure every bill and record is requested and part of the case file, and a case coordinator to follow the case as it progresses. Additional staff members are required when cases go to trial with ligation specialists and paralegals to handle the sheer volume of documents required to prepare a case for trial. Lastly, a team of attorneys is often needed to divide up case management with depositions, trial prep, negotiations, motion practice and the like.
The Lawyer Referred Me to Another Lawyer.
There are sometimes occasions where a lawyer in the firm will refer you to another attorney within their firm for a particular type of injury. This is because sometimes the original lawyer is too busy or requires another’s expertise. While clients don’t want to be shifted from one attorney to another, it is common within a firm to have attorneys focus both on different types of injury cases, or at least focus on different parts of the case. For example, one attorney might take the lead on the firm’s litigation and trial prep, while another specifically handles negotiations with the insurance companies. However, you should request a straightforward explanation from your lawyer as to why you’re being referred to another lawyer.
What do Personal Injury Lawyer Charge?
Personal Injury Lawyers do not charge for their services. You may have heard an advertisement saying some variation of “we don’t get paid unless we win.” This is because personal injury cases are done on contingency fee basis. Contingency fee means that the lawyer is only compensated if the injury case settles, or you win at trial. In other words, the lawyers fee is contingent on you receiving compensation. You are not required to pay the up-front costs of your injury case, and in return the lawyer takes a percentage of what you recover.
The universal standard is one-third because of who pays for litigation costs and the complexity and risk involved in your case. There are pros and cons of contingency fees, but they are universally standard in personal injury cases. On larger complex cases, this means that the attorney pays all of the costs of litigation, which include experts and specialists, and if the attorney loses, he bears those costs.
While there are pros and cons of contingency fees, the benefit to you is that you don’t pay anything throughout your lawsuit and the attorney is incentivized to maximize the amount of money of your settlement or jury award is because the more you make, the more the attorney makes.
Should I Ask About the Outcome of My Case?
You should certainly ask about the outcome of the case. However, you should avoid any attorney who guarantees a big settlement or assures a victory in court. Remember, there are always two sides to almost every legal issue, and personal injury is no different. The insurance company and you will oppose one another.
Instead, you can and should ask the lawyer’s opinion of your personal injury case’s strengths and weaknesses. You should ask whether or not your injury case is one that will likely go to trial or settle out of court. There are obviously pros and cons to both. You should ask if the personal injury lawyer does trial work, whether they are willing to appeal decisions and the like.
While there is no crystal ball to guarantee the right personal injury attorney, meeting with your attorney and asking the correct questions is the best way to make the right selection when retaining a personal injury attorney.