When To Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer & What To Look For?
Any lawyer that has a law degree is not always the best lawyer for your personal injury case. You need to make some inquiries from the personal injury lawyer as well, based on the significance of your personal injury. The following is a list of questions and queries you should make before you work with the personal injury lawyer on your case.
1. Has The Personal Injury Lawyer Participated In A Jury Trial For Personal Injury, Recently?
Whether a personal injury lawyer has recently participated in a jury trial could make all the difference to your case. It might not matter so much if you have a modest case that you want to get over with simply to complete the paperwork. It is completely alright to hire a lawyer who is inexperienced with jury trials.
You need to be certain that the lawyer you are hiring has unprecedented experience with trials and juries with successful results if you have extensive injuries. Getting a lawyer who has experience in successfully dealing with juries is more likely to be able to achieve successful results with insurers. There are more chances that the case will NOT go to trial if you have such a lawyer. For example, this Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Montgomery, AL has extensive experience dealing with juries and personal injury cases.
It is for this very reason that insurers are more likely to settle earlier. It is because they know that this lawyer has a reputation for successfully supporting their clients in court. This is in no way meant to be an encouragement to go to trial. You are well prepared for the contingency, on the off chance that your case does go to trial.
2. Is The Lawyer Experienced With Your Kind Of Injury Case?
Initially, the most important thing you need to consider is whether the lawyer has experience in handling any kind of personal injury cases. But a personal injury lawyer will not be of much help if you are just looking for a car accident lawyer without any kind of injury. No two personal injury cases are the same. In some cases, there are multiple parties involved making the whole matter even more delicate.
You need a personal injury lawyer with expertise in your kind of personal injury especially if you have sustained severe injuries or malpractice. In scenarios where job-related negligence is the case, professionals are unlikely to admit their guilt without the proper action. For example, in the case of medical malpractice, a doctor will seldom admit they made a mistake. A lawyer with the expertise and experience in dealing with medical malpractice is the best person to help you out in this case.
3. Does The Personal Injury Lawyer Represent Mostly Plaintiffs Or Insurance Companies?
Some lawyers represent commercial organizations and insurance companies. Depending on the reputation of the firm, a team of lawyers can get a large number of clients on a regular basis from their business connections. You will notice that the team of lawyers constantly changes in such a firm. These kinds of organizations are seldom concerned about their client’s complaints or their client’s objections.
These law firms are more interested in maintaining a mutual relationship with the other partnering organizations. The other organizations can be insurance companies or other businesses. These law practices will not give any client importance over their business interests. On the other hand, there will be legal firms that are more interested in connecting personally with their clients.
Such a practice of law will have a few expert lawyers that have been with the firm for a long time. These lawyers will be exceptionally qualified and experienced over a length of time. They might also have other lawyers who are not so well-experienced but still highly qualified. These are the lawyers that are more likely to support and facilitate their clients to legally achieve their goals.
4. Which Personal Injury Lawyer Will Primarily Manage Your Case?
Law firms often invite prospective clients for a meeting and a free consultation. The main motive of the meeting is to help the potential client decide whether or not they want to hire this law firm. Some people fail to understand that they might not be represented by the exact same people if they decide to hire them as their legal representative. It is a very likely possibility that the attorneys to represent you are not even from the group of people from the day of the consultation.
In some cases, your legal case will be assigned to a completely different legal practice. Some law practices work more as marketing and advertising agencies rather than as an office of law. In most cases, it will not make a huge difference if a different attorney at law represents your case. But this is something that should be clarified upfront.
If there is any ambiguity, there should be no hesitation in your mind to ask who will represent your case during the “free consultation”. A lot of these “legal practices” spend more money on their advertising than on their clients. On the contrary, you have found yourself a winner if the experts clarify exactly who will represent you in the first meeting.
5. Do The Lawyers & Attorneys Have Time For Their Clients?
A lot of lawyers and attorneys use their personal image to market their organization. But in reality, these people may never meet or work with you. These organizations use famous and reputable lawyers to acquire a large number of clients regularly. Most of the time these clients are forwarded to different organizations on a commission basis with little regard to their case or its outcome.
After these clients get forwarded to different law firms their case is often handled by amateur lawyers. The goal of these rookie lawyers is to gather as much experience as they can in the shortest time possible to become a reputable lawyer. They are the least bit concerned with any of their client’s needs.
Do not hesitate to ask whether you will be able to meet your attorney face-to-face. It can be exceedingly frustrating to have to communicate with your lawyer in every possible way except face-to-face. Some lawyers will give you their cell phone number. A lawyer interested in helping will always take the time to meet their client regardless of their schedule.
6. Are There Any Upfront Fees?
The conventional way lawyers charge their fees is through contingency fees. A contingency fee is a percentage of the compensation that you receive. This kind of arrangement is very convenient for both the client and the lawyer. It is favorable for the client because they do not have to pay anything upfront. Most client’s budgets do not allow for this kind of extravagance.
It is practical for the lawyer because their earnings are based on tangible results. This means that a lawyer can get higher compensation if they help you secure a better compensation. This arrangement helps make sure that the interests of the client and the lawyers are one and the same. But this may not always be the case all of the time.
Some lawyers will charge an upfront fee from their clients. They might do this because there is a much higher risk involved in the case and they want to secure their interests. This is not always a bad idea but it should be clarified from the beginning if this is the case.
7. How Much Is The Contingency Fee?
A lawyer receives a fixed percentage from the compensation received by their client. This is known as a contingency fee. All states have an upper limit for the contingency fee. Do not hesitate to ask your lawyer at any time what the contingency fee agreement is if you do not already know. Once you decide that you are going to hire a certain lawyer to argue your case.
The legal firm should provide you with everything in writing. The paperwork should clarify exactly how much you will be charged. In certain cases, there will be different charges if you win the case or if you lose the case. Everything should be crystal clear from the beginning so that there are no surprises for you down the line.
8. Will There Be Any Disbursements Or Fees If The Case Is Lost?
An attorney accumulates expenses until the fate of the case is decided by the court. In some cases, the attorney pays off third parties, photocopy expenses, messenger services, medical reports, or overnight mail. The lawyer makes all of these expenses on behalf of their client. All of these expenses help present the client’s case.
A disbursement is an act of disbursing. A disbursement is money paid out to meet the expenses once a case is over. Personal injury cases have the highest amount of disbursements. Make sure you are aware of all the little details when you receive the initial paperwork.
Clarify with your attorney what are the disbursements, if your contract does not clarify this. Disbursements can become a subject for debate especially if you lose the case.
9. Contingency Fees Might Seem Unreasonable But Consider This
The paperwork you receive from your lawyer lists what percentage of the money goes to the lawyer after you win the case. It will also clarify whether the percentage is calculated before or after subtracting disbursements. The compensation for contingency cases is especially high. Similarly, the costs for arguing a personal injury case are also high because the lawyer needs to involve expert witnesses and qualified doctors to support their statements.
Some agreements state that the percentage the lawyer receives goes up if the case goes to court. Make sure that any verbal agreements with your lawyer are also backed up in writing. Sometimes the contingency fee is 30% and there are also cases where the contingency fee goes all the way up to 50%. Your lawyer will get anywhere between $60,000 to $100,000 if you are entitled to a compensation of $200,000 by the court.
Lawyers only get paid handsomely if you receive compensation. With a contingency fee agreement lawyers share the same goals as their clients and that is to get the most compensation from the court. Keep in mind that a lot of people wouldn’t be able to afford a lawyer in the first place if all lawyers charged on an hourly rate upfront.
10. Exaggerated Advertising Does Not Always Mean They Are Good
Some personal injury lawyers are exceptionally good at advertising their services. They can attract a lot of attention from all different kinds of clients. This does not necessarily mean that they have to be exceptionally good. The truth could be completely the opposite. That they are spending heavily on advertising because they can not deliver the level of service their client’s demand.
It could also be that the organization has set new goals for the next financial period. The advertising ensures that the company can attract the right kind of clients to make sure that they can achieve their financial goals. Never completely base your decision of hiring a lawyer completely on advertising.
Always check for yourself before succumbing to any kind of advertising. Keep in mind that just because a legal firm is small does not mean that it cannot be successful one day.
Even if you hire an expensive lawyer there might be a chance that you will communicate with their secretary or paralegals. Do not think that your lawyer is sidelining you just because you always get to speak to their secretary, this is normal.
An outcome cannot be guaranteed by any lawyer. The lawyer can put their best foot forward to move your case further and speculate on the outcome. No lawyer will ever tell you that you should or you will get a certain amount of compensation for sure. Be wary of any lawyer that does this.
There are judicial deadlines for each kind of case. You do not have a case if you do not take action within the statute of limitations. This adds a sense of urgency to the case. Your case begins only if you take action within the deadline.
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