Finding the right lawyer to represent you is one of the most crucial steps in your successful recovery. Your eventual recovery is directly linked to the experience and skills of your lawyer. One tip is, to stay away from ‘high turnover’ lawyers that aim to settle cases quickly for lower payouts in order to move onto the next case.
Experience in Personal Injury Law
You want to ensure that you have a good understanding of your lawyer’s personal experience and ability in the field.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Law as A Licensed Attorney?
The bare minimum you want to know is what the experience is of the attorney handling your case. More specifically, you want to know if your attorney has handled cases like yours before.
In What Areas of Law Do You Specialize?
If you are filing a malpractice lawsuit, you do not want a divorce attorney taking up your case. The law is vast and complicated, and you want to be sure that the attorney handling your case is a specialist.
What Kinds of Cases Do You Handle on A Daily Basis?
Long-term experience is always good, but you also want someone that handles your type of case daily. The law is constantly changing, and you do not want an attorney that is out of practice.
Has Your License Ever Been Suspended or Revoked?
This question is important to ask, as an attorney that has had his or her license suspended is a red flag. If that is the case, find out the circumstances of the revocation of the license, and proceed with caution.
Has the Attorney Ever Been Censured or Disciplined by Any Legal or Ethics Committees In The Past? If So, why?
Similar to the revocation of the license, this point is also a red flag. These disciplinary hearings often happen when lawyers steal from or misrepresent their clients. Find out what the circumstances were that gave lead to the hearing and proceed with caution.
How Long Have You Been Practicing as A Personal Injury Plaintiff Attorney?
The overall experience of a lawyer is important as many skills and techniques are learned over time. However, it is also important to know that your case is being handled by someone who is familiar with the field and not just breaking into it.
What Percentage of Your Practice Is Related to Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases?
If you want to determine the expertise and specialization of a lawyer or an attorney, you need to determine if personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits make up the majority of his or her cases. ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’, as the saying goes, is not a good approach when dealing with specific types of lawsuit.
Is This Lawyer A Member of Legal Organizations That Specialize in Representing Injured People?
Many law firms outsource their personal injury cases. Ensure that the lawyer you are working through has all the necessary credentials and is personally representing you and not acting as a middleman.
Capacity of The Firm to Take on A Personal Injury Case
Many law firms refer personal injury and wrongful death cases rather than dealing with it in-house.
Often, the reason for this is that the case is too complex or the firm is too busy.
There are a few questions you can ask to ensure that you are leaving your case in the hands of people who are able to handle it.
Does This Lawyer Have the Financial and Staffing Resources to Take on My Case?
If a lawyer is stretched too thin between cases, or is under other financial or staffing pressures, they may be unable to give you the service you need. This could affect your case negatively and may even damage the compensation you receive.
Which Attorney or Staff Member in The Firm Will Be Handling My Case?
You need to be in contact with the individual handling your case in order to build a personal relationship. It will help you to have a better understanding of who is in charge of your lawsuit, and to ask all the questions you need to until you are certain it is in safe hands.
Will Other Attorneys Be Working on This Case?
If your case is complex or has different elements to it, multiple specialists may be involved to ensure each facet is fully covered. Make sure you know exactly who is working on your case.
Has the Attorney Taken Cases Similar to This One in The Past?
How Did They Turn Out?
While the law firm may have a solid reputation for this particular kind of case, it is important to ask the individual working on your case what their track record is and how much experience they have with your particular kind of case.
Client’s Role in The Personal Injury Claim
After approaching a law firm to handle your case for you,
there are a few questions you can ask to gain an understanding of what the firm will need from you.
What Level of Participation Will I Have?
It is important to know how much involvement will be needed from you in the case. Whether it is a case of time or resource management, you need to know when your presence is required, and what you will be required to do.
How Much Communication Can I Expect About My Case?
When you are not there in person, you still need to know what is happening and how your case is being handled. It is advised to set certain days as report back days, so you can be kept up to speed with any changes and developments.
What Information Should We Bring to Our Consultation?
In order to file a successful lawsuit, your attorney will likely need a wealth of information. Asking this question ensures your lawyer can get everything they need in one consultation, making the consultation and further proceedings more efficient and streamlined.
Are There Other Ways I Can Resolve My Legal Issues?
Not every case needs to result in litigation. Your lawyers may be able to direct you to other avenues that you can use to get compensation without the stress of a lawsuit.
What Do You Need from Me Before and During My Case?
As your case progresses, your lawyer may need objects, photos or even just your presence and testimony. Get a firm understanding of what is required of you and your role in the case.
Personal Injury Trial Cases in Court
Many cases do go to court.
You want to get a feel for the lawyer handling your case and how they react to the pressures and demands of representing you in a court of law.
Does This Lawyer Actually Try Lawsuits in Court?
If your case ends up in litigation, you need to be sure that your lawyer is up to the task. Many lawyers are great at the legal paperwork but do not stand up in court and speak to a jury. You want to ensure that your case is in competent hands.
How Many Court and Jury Trials Have You Handled? What Are Your Results?
A lawyer’s record of accomplishment is a good indication of what his performance on your case will be. You are ideally looking for a lawyer that has had experience in court and jury trial and achieved the goals his client was looking for.
How Frequently Does the Attorney Go to Trial?
Like any other skills, going to trial needs to be done regularly for the attorney to ensure he or she does not get rusty. Ask how often your attorney goes to trial, and when the last time was that they were in court to ensure they are not out of practice.
Will My Case Go to Trial? What Is Your Success Rate at Trial?
Normally 5 – 10% of cases go to trial. However, your attorney should have a feel for whether your case will be tried and should be able to tell you what your chances of winning are based on their previous experience and success rate.
References of Previous Personal Injury Cases
The best way to get an objective opinion of your lawyer is to find out what others think of his or her service, success rate and experience.
References are one of the most expedient ways of finding such things out.
How Are You Rated by Your Peers?
One can get a good feel for the success and professionalism of a lawyer from their peers. A good peer rating is a good sign.
Can You Provide Me with The Names of References That I Can Contact?
Many jurisdictions now allow lawyers to provide a reference list of past clients. If this is the case in your jurisdiction, contact these clients and ask about the service they received.
Do You Have Any Testimonials About Your Services?
If a past client reference list is unavailable, testimonials from these clients about the lawyer will help give a better insight as to how he or she will handle your case.
Are There Sources That Rate Personal Injury Lawyers Based on What Their Colleagues Say About Them?
There are multiple websites, including Super Lawyers, The Martin Dale Bar registry and The Best Lawyers in America that contain peer reviews of lawyers. Find your lawyer on this reference list and see what their peers have to say about them.
Have You Been Recognized by Anyone or Any Association for Your Representation?
Winning awards and receiving recognition are a mark of pride for the lawyer and a good measure of their capabilities.
Payments and Costs in Personal Injury Claims
Whenever filing a lawsuit with a lawyer or a law firm it is always advisable
to get a thorough understanding of the cost structure and how payments will work.
Do I Have to Pay Advanced Costs If We Lose?
There are many law firms and attorneys that advertise “no costs unless we win” and other such tag lines. In many of these cases, the costs are often hidden or called something else. Get a thorough understanding of how much you have to pay in every scenario.
Does the Attorney Work on A Contingency Basis?
Often filing a lawsuit is inaccessible to most due to the high fees. However, many lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning ‘no win, no fees’.
What Is Your Contingency Percentage?
If your lawyer does work on a contingency basis, you will want to know how much you will have to pay him should you win your case.
What Will This Case Cost Me?
Whether your lawyer works on a set rate or a contingency basis, he or she will need to be paid. You need to know the final figure and plan around that.
Who Pays Case “Costs” And When Are They Paid?
It is important to understand where the money to cover your legal fees is coming from. Will it be taken from your compensation, paid for by the defendant or come out of your own pocket?
Other Questions on Personal Injury Claims
Will You Be Able to Look Me in The Eye, Tell Me the Truth About My Case, And Not Just Tell Me What I Want to Hear?
It is important to know that you can trust your lawyer to be honest and blunt. White lies do nothing to help and can end up costing you money and time.
How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Case?
Having a timeline of the estimated duration of the case will allow you to plan around it and make any necessary arrangements.
If Client and Attorney Disagree On Accepting A Settlement, Will The Attorney Yield To The Client’s Wishes?
This is an extremely important point especially in the case of lawyers that work on a contingency basis. Ultimately, it is the client’s wishes that must be adhered to and not the lawyer’s percentage.
What Settlement Value Should We Accept?
It is extremely important to know how much your complaint is worth and when to settle, to avoid any miscommunications between the client and attorney.
Why Should I Hire You?
While it is a broad question,
this allows the attorney to show off some of their best points and put to ease any reservations you may have.
Shamis & Gentile, P.A. – South Florida Injury Attorneys
As one of the leading Personal Injury Law Firms, Shamis & Gentile, P.A. will work with you to get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for further information.