In this day and age, it seems personal injury lawsuits are a dime a dozen. While that may be true, there are still certain things you need to know before you hire a personal injury lawyer. Below is a list of the nine most important factors to consider before hiring a lawyer.
Most Lawyers Offer A Free Consultation
Because a majority of people fear that a lawyer will be too expensive, they often avoid inquiring about an initial consultation. A reputable attorney will be more than happy and willing to discuss the information you have and let you know whether or not you have a viable case, free of charge.
Yes, Experience Is Important
Before you call the first lawyer you see on TV or in the Yellow Pages, be sure to do your research. Ask trusted friends and family members if they have a recommendation for a reputable lawyer. Keep in mind that most attorneys specialize in only one or two types of law, at most. If you want the absolute best representation for a personal injury case, make sure the attorney you choose specializes in or at least has some experience in, personal injury cases.
Don’t Be Swayed By Shady Attorneys
Even though it’s illegal, there are still some attorneys who practice “ambulance chasing”–that is, they make sure to appear on the scene of an accident with the hopes of gaining clients. If you’re involved in an auto accident attorney and receive a letter or phone call from an attorney shortly afterward, it’s best to disregard this form of communication. Ambulance chasers have a bad reputation and for good reason. Once again, word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a reputable, trustworthy attorney to represent you in any personal injury case.
Lawsuits Aren’t Always A Necessity
A majority of cases are settled out of court without a trial. These cases are usually negotiated between all parties for an acceptable settlement. However, such a scenario means that a lawsuit was still involved. Sometimes an agreeable settlement can be reached without the formal filing of a lawsuit. Cases like these often end up getting settled quicker and are cheaper as well.
Fees Are A Fact of Life
While a lot of personal injury lawyers will agree to take your case with the agreement that their retainer fee will be deducted from any settlement you receive, be aware that some won’t or don’t do this. While some attorneys will simply add these fees to their overall charge that will be deducted from your total settlement, it’s always best to inquire beforehand to make sure you can afford any fees necessary that you might have to pay upfront.
Expenses Are Extras, Too
As with fees, any extra expenses incurred by your attorney while he or she is trying to gather enough information to help you win your case will either be charged to you upfront, or you may have an agreement in which all fees and expenses are deducted from your final, total settlement. Always be sure to inquire about expenses before you agree to hire a personal injury attorney.
Don’t Think You’re Off The Hook
While it’s not a subject you typically hear about, clients who have brought suit and have gotten their medical or other expenses paid by their insurance companies may actually be required to pay back the insurance companies. Whenever you have any questions regarding this, consult with your attorney or your insurance company directly.
Patience Is A Virtue
When people are contemplating a lawsuit, they often fail to consider the amount of time it takes to gather the required information and pursue the case. Depending upon factors such as court backlogs, uncooperative insurance companies, witnesses, or even financial issues, following through with a personal injury case can be time-consuming.
Nothing Is Written In Stone
Be advised that in this business, as with all things in life, nothing is guaranteed. If you consult with an attorney who makes promises or guarantees that you’ll win your case, your best bet is to consult a different attorney immediately.