Your life can get filled with stress and anxiety when you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. You should know if the lawyer is a good fit before you hire them. It pays to invest your time in finding the best lawyer to handle your lawsuit. The right attorney can win the compensation you deserve in a seamless and straightforward manner. These are a few questions you should ask before retaining the services of a personal injury attorney.
1. What kind of lawsuits do you handle on a daily basis?
Most lawyers are general practitioners. They take up all types of legal cases, including personal injury lawsuits. You should work with an attorney that handles personal injury cases on a daily basis. Personal injury lawsuits are of several types. You should also make sure the lawyer has enough experience in handling the kind of lawsuit you have.
2. How much experience do you have?
Lawyers, by and large, filing for personal injury lawsuits tend to charge the same fee. This is regardless of their experience and the time they have been practicing. Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency fee basis, which is a percentage of the compensation recovered. For the same fee, you can acquire an attorney that has 2 or 20 years of experience. Obviously, you should try finding an attorney that has the maximum experience.
3. How are your cases usually settled?
Many attorneys don’t have trial experience and try settling the case out of court. Few lawyers may also refer the case to other associates or attorneys. Many people don’t think to ask whether on an average the cases get settled out of court, referred to other attorneys, or end up in trial. The only way you can get top dollar as settlement is if the insurance company realizes you are ready to take the case to court. You may get a substantial discount on the settlement amount if you retain an attorney that never goes to court and settles.
4. What is your track record of settlements and verdicts?
It is better if the attorney you choose has a long list of successful outcomes. Insurance companies defending malpractice and personal injury lawsuits know the attorneys that are unafraid to take the case to trial. Insurance companies make use of this information for evaluating their risk. In fact, the first question asked by insurance adjusters is to determine the lawyer representing the plaintiff.
5. Who will be handling the case?
You should ask this question of the lawyer you meet. It is very seldom that the first attorney you meet will in fact represent your case. You should find out if the attorney is thinking of giving the case to an associate. You should know the experience and skills of the attorney that is going to work with you. While there is nothing wrong with having more than one lawyer on your case, it is recommended that you know the lawyers who would be on the frontline.
6. Are you the member of any legal organization that specializes in representing personal injury victims?
Major organizations include state affiliates like Virginia, Maryland or DC Trial Lawyers Associations, the American Association for Justice (formerly Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA), the Inner Circle of Advocates, and the Etheridge Society (an organization of Virginia medical malpractice plaintiff lawyers).
These organizations go a long way in providing extensive education to all their members. You may find a good lawyer that is not affiliated with any of these groups. However, you would lose out the experience and research material that lawyers belonging to these groups will have.
7. Have you won any awards or honors?
Your first concern will be to hire the best attorney for your case. This is especially true if the injury is serious in nature. The honors and awards given by legal organizations is the mark of a top attorney. Another honor is leadership of bar associations. Legal professionals elected to leadership posts at bar associations have the admiration and attraction of their peers.
8. How will you be taking your fee?
Many attorneys representing personal injury clients work on a contingency fee basis. They would use statements like “no fee if no recovery”. It’s fundamental that you ask what these kinds of statements mean specifically. This is because they can mean several different things at the same time. Contingency fee usually means that the law firm would take a percentage of the compensation awarded to you.
However, expenses are handled differently by law firms. In some cases, expenses can run into tens of thousands of dollars or more. This is the amount paid to investigators, expert witnesses, court reporters, nurse consultants, treating health care providers, and other third parties. You should know exactly how the law firm is going to take their fee before signing them on.
Consult a Capable Personal Injury Attorney
It can be devastating getting injured in an accident because of the fault of another. You should seek help from a capable and skilled law firm that knows how to win compensation. The attorneys at lawyers at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn are here to help you win maximum compensation. Give us a call at 800-752-0042 or use our online contact form to set up an initial free consultation.