Following preventable accidents and serious injuries, one of the most important things you can do to protect your rights is to enlist the support and representation of an experienced personal injury attorney. During these difficult times – which can be marked by pain and suffering, financial pressures resulting from medical bills and lost income, and concerns about your future – you’ll also want to make sure you choose the right one. That’s because working with a lawyer who knows how to protect your rights, guide you through the personal injury claim process, and fight to ensure at-fault parties are held accountable for your damages can make all the difference in your case, and may very well be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.
As with any selection process involving professionals who provide a unique service, deciding which attorney you want to handle your case is not always an easy decision. Aside from taking experience, case results, accolades, and other similar factors into account, you should not hesitate to speak personally with prospective lawyers. When you do, you should ask the right questions.
Here are a few important questions you should ask when hiring a personal injury lawyer:
- Ask about specialization – When your case involves an accident and serious injuries, the first thing you need to determine is whether or not the attorney you hire specializes in this area of law. There are many practice areas in the legal profession, and not all attorneys practice personal injury law. Even those who do, or those who advertise as such, may not have much, if any, experience with the particular issues in your unique case. This is why inquiring about specialization, in addition to how many cases like yours they have handled, can help ensure your lawyer has the knowledge and tools to handle your case.
- Ask about communication – Communication is an important aspect in your case, especially when you are not familiar with the legal process, what to expect, and have a right to know how your case is progressing. Be straightforward in asking about how communication is handled, including how it will take place and how often it will happen. You should also ask whether you get to speak directly with an attorney rather than a case manager, paralegal, or other support staff. Communication is not only important for attorneys who need information to work your case, but also to making you feel like you’re being treated as a real person, not another number.
- Talk about settlements – Most personal injury cases do not go to trial. Instead, they are often settled out of court with defendants and insurance companies through settlement negotiations. Ask about how the firm works to settle cases, as well as what happens should you not agree with a settlement offer. While every case is different, and although it is difficult to predict how a case will resolve, a good attorney should discuss the process, possibilities, options, and expectations in an honest and up-front manner.
- Ask about the attorney’s record, good and bad – Naturally, you may want to focus on the positive awards, distinctions, client reviews, successes, and results earned by attorneys, which is certainly an important factor in gauging their quality of work and something you can glean from their website, if they have one, and during your initial consultation or interview. However, you should not forget to ask about whether or not they have faced any disciplinary action, and if so, why.
- Ask about fees – You should not be afraid to discuss how attorney’s fees work. In personal injury cases, most lawyers will work on contingency fees, which means they don’t charge anything up-front and are paid a percentage of your final verdict or settlement once your case concludes.
While you have an important decision to make when hiring a personal injury lawyer, that decision shouldn’t be inordinately difficult. Doing your due diligence to conduct research is beneficial, and it can help when searching for an attorney who appears qualified, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are qualified to handle your case or that they have the significant experience needed to succeed. As such, don’t make online research your only tool during the attorney selection process – ask the right questions to get the information and answers you need.
Have Questions? Speak with our West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyers!
At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin, we value personalized service and attention, especially when victims and families come to us during difficult times. Our attorneys have earned national recognition for their work handling serious personal injury cases across Florida and beyond, and make it a point to fully address questions, concerns, and any information victims need from the very beginning.
If you have questions of your own about a potential case, our firm, and what we can do to guide you through the process, contact us for a free case evaluation. We’re ready to answer them.