5 Personal Injury Lawyer Considerations
When you must hire a personal injury lawyer, you might be going through a rough time in your life. Maybe you slipped and fell in an establishment and broke your arm, or perhaps an incident at your job took place. Perhaps you got in a bad car wreck, and now you’re feeling the fallout.
However you hurt yourself, you need to have a qualified personal injury attorney to guide you through the lawsuit process. Let’s go over some lawyer considerations at which you should always look.
Where They Received Their Education
As you look at various personal injury lawyers, one place on which you should focus is where they trained to practice law. You can probably trust their abilities if they graduated from somewhere like:
Even if you know very little about law schools, you probably know these are some of the best and most recognizable programs. If you’ve never heard of the program from which a lawyer graduated, that does not necessarily mean you should discard them immediately
It’s not a bad idea to do a little research, though. If the school from which they graduated is not an accredited university, you may want to keep looking.
How Well You Get Along with Them
You’ll be spending some time with your attorney as you prepare your lawsuit. You will have to:
- Go over your strategy
- Review various documents and other material evidence
You might have to spend many hours with this individual, and if you can’t stand them, that’s a problem. You don’t need to be best pals, but their disposition should be okay with you.
Some individuals are surly, and you don’t need to deal with that. You hired this person, and if you don’t like the way they treat you, you can always go with another option. There is no lawyer shortage in the world.
Their Prior Experience
You probably don’t want to go with a lawyer who just passed the bar the previous week. It’s nice to give someone their first chance in the big leagues, but you’ll likely feel a lot more comfortable if the attorney you hire has a long and distinguished track record.
You should ask them about other lawsuits they’ve brought against individuals or business entities. Ask them what the outcomes of those cases were.
If they have never handled a suit like yours, go with someone else. You want someone who knows how to argue in front of a judge, convince a jury, bring motions, etc.
Remember that various lawyers have different specialties. If the one you approach only does real estate law or tax law, they can’t represent you as well as one who does only personal injury claims and has done so for many years.
You should think about whether you want to hire a large firm or an individual who’s got an office in an abandoned strip mall somewhere. When you go to see them for the first time, look at their office space. Consider whether the setup looks fancy or haphazardly thrown together.
If your lawyer has a nice office, a receptionist, a well-appointed waiting area, etc., that indicates they’re doing well for themselves and have a solid track record. If they look like Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad, you might reconsider your choice.
Larger law offices often have investigators who can work on your suit if you need them. They can reconstruct an event timeline and produce witnesses, video evidence, or documentation. A smaller firm might not be able to do that.
Their Fee Structure
The lawyer’s fee structure is one final thing at which you’ll need to look. Generally, if you’re pursuing a personal injury suit, you’ll want to set up a contingency pay structure. This means you only pay the attorney if they win your lawsuit for you.
If you hire a lawyer and they demand money upfront, or they charge you an hourly fee regardless of whether you win, that could mean disaster for you. If you lose, you’ll have to pay the lawyer, and your suit will be fruitless. You could end up having to liquidate your assets or even declare bankruptcy.
This is probably a challenging time for you, but if you choose the right lawyer, that will help tremendously. Remember that if you feel like the individual or firm you hired is not working out, you can change representation. However, it’s always better to get it right the first time.