When you are in an accident, we know your first concern is making sure that you and everyone else involved is okay. Unfortunately it sometimes becomes necessary to engage the services of a lawyer to ensure you are treated fairly.
Here are some tips for finding the right attorney.
1) Make sure your first consultation is free.
Don’t sacrifice your right to legal representation because you believe it will cost too much. Many excellent lawyers want to meet with you first to discuss your case and get to know you- free of charge!
2) There is a difference in Lawyers
Look for a lawyer that has lots of experience in your type of case. Not all lawyers are versed in personal injury law.
3) Beware of shysters
If you have been recently injured and suddenly receive a letter, phone call, or even a visit from a lawyer that offers to represent you, it is probably a scam. This practice is called “ambulance chasing” and is illegal for good reasons.
4) Hiring a lawyer does not mean you are filing on someone
Not only do most cases settle before they ever make it to court, not everyone that hires a lawyer is filing a law suit. Lawyers also help with depositions to insurances companies, and filing claims.
5) Know what you are paying up front
Lawyers, like anyone else, work for money. It is there job and they expect to be paid whether you win or lose. Many personal injury attorneys “contingency fee.” This arrangement means that you owe know money until you are paid. This way you can find legal representation without a lot of cash. It is important to understand exactly how and when your lawyer intends to be paid.
6) There may be expenses.
Even if the fee you owe your attorney is a percentage of your settlement, and only due if and when you are paid, that money only covers the lawyers time. If your lawyer has to hire others such as an outside investigator, medical services, or others, you could end up being responsible for their fees. Make sure you discuss this ahead of time. Know who you will owe and how you will pay them.
7) You may have to repay your insurance companies for your medical bills.
If you have medical insurance that covers the bills for your injuries, you may be expected to pay back that money if you receive a large enough settlement. Your lawyer should be aware of this, make sure you understand it, and act as a go between with you and your healthcare provider to make sure everyone gets their fair share.
8) Good things come to those that wait.
A court case is most often long and time consuming. It takes time to gather information, file your case, plead your case, and follow all court procedure. Your lawyer should be able to give you a realistic view of how long they believe your case will take, but no one knows for sure. If you hire a lawyer that promises quick results, little work, and huge rewards, it should be a warning sign. You might want to find another lawyer.
9) Nothing is carved in stone
Lawyers are not omnipotent. They cannot know if you are going to win any more than you can. If you hire a lawyer that says they can guarantee the outcome of your case, warning bells should go off. Any lawyer that makes that kind of promise is dangerous, and you should fire them immediately.