Never had to hire an attorney for a personal injury case and not sure how to approach it? Here are some guidelines on what to expect from the type of lawyer who can help make your case successful.
Communicating With Your Lawyer
• First and foremost, your attorney should always keep you informed about the progress of your case.
• Your attorney should discuss typical protocol for the case with you upfront so you know what to, realistically, expect. This includes an estimate of how long he or she expects the case to last and possible outcomes for the case.
• Your attorney should return your calls and emails within a reasonable amount of time and respond to your questions promptly and clearly.
Expectations When You Hire an Attorney
• Enthusiasm in helping your reach your best possible success and competent representation of your case.
• Copies of all important documents.
• A written fee agreement and detailed monthly billing statements.
• The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; even if it hurts.
• Expect to be treated with respect at all times and to receive honest feedback regarding your questions.
• Agreement with your goals and an understanding of your objective.
• Also, there should be no conflict of interest with the opposing side.
Seek Those With Experience
Putting your life in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer could have irrefutable consequences. While it is important to have an attorney you connect with and can trust, it is equally as important that he or she has extensive experience in the area of law for which you require services. For example, you should you use an attorney with personal injury case experience to represent you in a slip and fall case, a medical malpractice attorney to handle your wrongful death case, and a lawyer who specializes in Social Security/Disability to defend you in a benefits case. General practitioners are good for basic real estate transactions or other non-complex matter, but their lack of detailed knowledge in your specific area of need can hurt the success rate of your case.
In short, weigh the pros and cons of the firm before signing a contract with them. Get to know them, research their background, and, above all, go with your gut.
Quick Reference Blog Bonus!
Worried about fees? Here are the Top Ten questions to ask:
1. Is there a charge for the initial consultation?
2. How do you charge for a case like mine?
3. If it is a fixed fee case, what is the fixed fee?
4. Will I be notified before additional charges apply?
5. If hourly fee, how much is the hourly rate? In addition, ask for the hourly rates for all personnel that may be involved in your case, e.g. paralegals, investigators, etc.
6. If it is a contingency fee case how will that work and what will the percentages be?
7. What charges are included in the fee?
8. What charges are not included in the fee?
9. What is this likely to really cost me?
10. Is there a retainer? If so, how much?
You are now equipped with the tools necessary to go into your client-attorney relationship prepared for success! Good luck and may “the force” (and the verdict) be with you!
EXTRA BONUS TIP! Save time and fees by providing your attorney with as much information as possible. Organize all documents related to your case, write things down that might be important and bring them with you when you meet with your attorney. By providing everything up front you can reduce time spent later on gathering information.
If you are ready to begin the process of filing a claim or would like a free consultation to discuss the alternatives for presenting your case, call us now at 702.444.4444 to speak with someone who can help you schedule an appointment right away.