If you’ve never hired a personal injury lawyer before, you probably have a number of questions. Should you get a referral, go online and search, or pick someone from the ads on TV?
Much like hiring an employee, you should ask questions of the attorneys you are considering. Hiring a personal injury attorney may be the biggest decision you’ll make in the case.
So what do you ask an attorney to assess his or her skill, ability and suitability for your accident case? Once you get past a greeting and initial pleasantries, here are some questions to get you started interviewing attorneys.
Do You Specialize In Personal Injury Cases?
Some attorneys handle a myriad of things, including personal injury. Others do nothing but personal injury. If you have a serious personal injury claim, you want an attorney who understands the complexities of personal injury and stays on top of new developments.
How Long Have You Handled Personal Injury Cases?
The more experience the attorney has in PI cases, the better your chances of a successful settlement.
Who Will Be Handling My Case?
You may interview with a partner in the law firm, but much of the work will likely be done by non-legal staff with junior attorneys attending the hearings. It’s important to ask, and also to find out who your point of contact will be when you call.
Do You Actually Try Lawsuits In Court? How Often?
Some attorneys are ready to take a case into court; others aren’t. It’s important to know who will and who won’t. Insurance companies take this very seriously and want to know who is representing you. If you hire an attorney who takes every case as a potential court case, you’ll receive a better settlement. If your attorney prefers to settle rather than go to court, you won’t receive as much.
Please Explain Your Contingency Fee Arrangement
Many attorneys will offer this, and you’ll owe a fee “contingent” upon winning the case. However, there are other expenses in a case besides an attorney’s fee. Filing fees, court costs, medical reports, expert witnesses and other costs involved in preparing your case may be billed directly to you while the case is ongoing. Other law offices may take them out of your settlement in addition to the attorney’s fees. These charges will happen win or lose. It’s important to ask so that you are not surprised with bills while you’re trying to recover from an accident.
Do Your Own Research Too
One of the best ways to research an attorney is one of the three online websites:
- Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry
- The Best Lawyers In America
- SuperLawyers (You can find Chad Love’s SuperLawyers entry here.)
All three are peer-reviewed directories that will give you additional insight into an attorney you are interviewing or plan to hire.
Should you have a question about an attorney’s disciplinary history, the West Virginia State Bar also has a website.
Take Precautions Against Chasers
You may receive solicitation letters from attorneys offering to represent you immediately after your accident. They may be of the high turnover variety that will get you a “quick check” but not negotiate for your needs. If you decide to talk to one of them, always commit to due diligence before signing anything.
The Love Law Firm Is Ready To Help
Do you need a personal injury lawyer, but aren’t sure what to expect? Call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a personal injury settlement. We can offer you a free consultation, and a contingency fee arrangement to make it easier for you to afford a strong legal representation. There’s no fee if we don’t win your case.