When you’ve been injured due to no fault of your own, you’ll need an experienced professional to represent you in court and to help you get the compensation you deserve.
After filing a lawsuit, consider hiring a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will make the process easier. They will explain how your case is moving along in court and translate the court proceedings in a way you understand. A personal injury attorney will also ensure you and your case are well-represented.
Injuries commonly requiring the assistance of a personal injury lawyer are:
- Slips and falls
- Vehicles accidents
- Product liability
- Animal attacks or dog bites
- Assault or battery
What to Look For When Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
When looking for a personal injury attorney, there are certain criteria to consider before deciding which lawyer is best for your case. Consider the following before selecting a personal injury attorney:
Area Of Expertise
Before hiring a personal injury attorney, evaluate each candidate’s area of expertise. Does the lawyer specialize in personal injury law or are they a general practitioner?
While a general practitioner covers most areas of law, they do not specifically specialize in personal injury law. That’s not to say they wouldn’t be a good fit for your case. Chances are, they could be, however, weigh your options before deciding.
Before hiring a personal injury attorney, make sure that a lawyer is licensed to practice law in the state you’re filing your lawsuit in. Check the American Bar Association’s site to see if your lawyer has a license.
When you access the American Bar Association’s website, click on the state your case is handled in. You’ll be directed to a “lawyer search” page. Simply type in the lawyer’s name, their ID number, and any other relevant information the website asks.
Thoroughly search the law firm you’re interested in before calling them to set up an interview. Is the law firm’s reputation solid? Do the attorneys that work for the law firm have a strong reputation that produces results?
Make sure the attorneys you’re looking to hire has experience in personal injury law. Research to see if they’ve handled cases like yours. Also, find out the number of cases they’ve handled that are similar to yours. You can also ask the attorney questions about previous cases in their interview.
When researching lawyers to hire, see how many years of experience that lawyer has. Did they recently start practicing law or have they been practicing law for years? How many years have they been practicing law?
Also, make sure that your personal injury attorney has experience in the courtroom. If your case complicated or requires a heavy workload, ensure that the lawyer that you hire is seasoned and can handle your case.
Sometimes you may not get the amount of compensation you ask for, however, if you have a personal injury attorney with excellent negotiating skills, they may be able to get you an amount close to the compensation you’re asking for.
During the interview, ask the lawyer about their negotiating skills. Can they provide examples of cases they won? Also ask how they helped their client. Did they go above and beyond for them?
Remember this is your case and finding the best attorney for it is crucial.
Questions To Ask Before Hiring
There are a series of questions you should consider asking a lawyer before hiring them. Here are ten important questions to ask a personal injury lawyer to see if the qualify for your case:
1) Have you handled cases like mine? If yes, what were the results?
It’s important to understand an attorney’s background. If they’ve worked with cases like yours, they’ll be able to guide you through the process with ease and get you the results you’re looking for.
2) What are your areas of expertise?
What areas of law does the attorneys excel at? What areas of law do they have the most experience in?
3) What other areas of law do you practice?
If an attorney practices other areas of law, consider how much knowledge and experience they have with personal injury law before making a selection.
4) Do you have references?
Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer for a reference. A reference will be able to provide you with more information. They may direct you to speak with another professional that has worked with them, like another lawyer, a judge, or anyone else that can validate their credentials, experience, and ability to handle your case.
5) How many years of experience do you have?
Another great question to ask any personal injury attorney, how many years have you been a lawyer? If you feel it’s necessary, ask them where they obtained their degree or got their education.
6) How many cases have you representative? Out of those cases, how many have you won?
It’s important to ask each attorney you interview about their history in the courtroom and the details of their caseload. While they may not be able to provide you with all of the details due to legal reasons and client confidentiality, they can provide you with details about the results.
7) What should I be considering regarding my case? Do you think my case is solid and that I’ll win?
Ask as many questions as you deem necessary about your case, like what’s going to happen? How does the court process work?
Don’t forget to provide your personal injury lawyer with as many details about your case as you can. This will help them build your case against the defendant. The more details you provide, the better your lawyer can establish a case.
If you’re lawyer thinks you have a solid case and chooses to represent you, be prepared to pay for their services and legal fees.
8) What are your rates? How do you charge? Per hour? Per case?
Before hiring a personal injury attorney, don’t forget to ask them how much they charge for their services. Some lawyers are willing to work with you and may provide a sliding scale fee.
If a sliding scale fee is available, a lawyer will charge you based on your income or how much you’re able to pay. You’ll be able to make manageable weekly or monthly payments for their services within your budget.
Other options for fee arrangements are:
Fixed or flat rate fee – This means that a personal injury lawyer will charge you a fixed, one-time fee for their services.
Hourly fee – Some lawyers charge by the hour. Remember with all the work they put it building a case, investigating statements and claims, and the hours they put in the courtroom, the cost can add up. Depending on your case, you may want to find a lawyer that charges a fixed or flat rate.
Retainer fee – Most lawyers will charge a retainer fee. A retainer fee is an amount set by a lawyer to “lock in” their services and represent you. In other words, a retainer fee means to “retain” an attorney’s services.
In addition to their rate and retainer fee to represent you, your personal injury attorney will also charge other legal fees.
9) What other fees do you charge for your services?
Most lawyers may charge additional fees, such as;
- Copying fees and postage for documentation like transcripts, police reports, medical records, reports from workers compensation, or reports from your place of employment or the building you were injured at.
- If necessary, your lawyer may need to hire an investigator. If that’s the case, you’ll need to pay for the investigator’s services.
- You may need to pay for court costs and court filing fees as well.
10) If I win my case, what percentage of my final settlement will you take?
A personal injury will charge a contingency fee if you win your settlement. A contingency fee is a percentage that the lawyer will take from your settlement for helping you win the compensation you asked for.
Remember that lawyers will take about one-third of your final settlement if you win, possibly more, depending on the amount of your settlement.
An important thing to remember is that most lawyers will charge a contingency fee of 33 to 40 percent of your final settlement.
If the contingency fee your lawyer charges seems high, you can always try to negotiate it.
Important Things To Remember
Ensure you interview several different lawyers before selecting the right one for your case. It’s important to hire a lawyer with experience in personal injury law. The more experience they have handling cases like yours, the higher the chances will win your settlement.
Ensure that you review each fee your lawyer is charging, including the cost for their services before signing an agreement. Also, make sure you understand why your lawyer is charging the fees they do. If you’re confused about anything in the agreement, ask your lawyer to explain.