Tips For Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Dec 18, 2010 in Advice
Hiring the person who will represent you in court is a great responsibility. This is the person that will speak on your behalf, essentially telling your “side of the story”. If the case does not make it to the courtroom, the attorney you choose must be skilled in negotiating in addition to being law-savvy.
So how do you choose such a person?
Here are a few tips to help you in hiring a personal injury attorney
Look For A Lawyer With A Specialty
When looking for a personal injury attorney, find one that specializes in personal injury law and also your particular injury. Personal injury lawyers, like surgeons specialize. They work in an area of law that often requires knowledge outside of the legal code. This knowledge ranges from insurance industry standards to FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulations, to mechanical engineering and even chemistry. All of these are topics that dominate a personal injury case. The personal injury attorney’s job is to represent you, but how can he do so without familiarity with your problem.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask The Hard Questions
You case hinges on the skill of your attorney. Therefore, you must question that skill in order to find the perfect. Ask about things like win/loss record, the number of cases like yours she’s handled, and certification to practice in the state. How many times did it take him to pass the bar? Where did her law degree come from? Before you leave, ask for references or people he’s represented prior to your case.
Verify The Information
Take everything that he told you and look it up. Call the references and ask about the lawyer’s performance on their case and his behavior toward clients. Go to your state’s American Bar Association database to verify that your attorney is licensed and his specialty in area of personal injury law. You can also use the American Association of Justice website. Many personal injury law cases are closed by informal settlement, but you can look up specific cases that the attorney claims went to trial. Simply go to your state’s website and look for the courts or judicial page. The page should have a search box that allows you to type in the names of the parties involved in the case. You can read for yourself how the case went.
Go to colleagues, family, and friends who have used the services of a personal injury attorney. Ask for their opinions and recommendations. Do not neglect you research, however and do not go with the first lawyer you speak to.
Get An Agreement In Writing
Once you find the right person, negotiate the fee. Personal injury attorneys usually work on a contingency, which means no large sum payment from you upfront. Get the retainer agreement in writing to protect yourself when the judgment comes back in your favor. Once the suit is filed and the attorney is preparing for the case, you will appreciate the legwork that went into the selection process. Although you do have the option of firing the attorney later, save yourself some time and hassle by doing the work before hiring the attorney.